Inclusion Africa hosts a Movement for Change Pan-African Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

About the conference

Inclusion Africa (IA), with support from Inclusion International (II), hosted a pan-African conference, A Movement for Change, in Nairobi, Kenya, on 29-30 April 2015. The conference far exceeded attendance goals and inspired all, thanks to the outstanding support of KAIH, the national member of II in Kenya.

The conference was focused on priority issues identified by Inclusion Africa’s membership: Self-advocacy, Access to Justice, Political Participation and Post-2015 development. The purpose of the conference was to engage with families, self-advocates, and IA and II partners from across the region; providing participants with an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about how the families’ and self-advocates’ movement is initiating and contributing to change in communities, countries, region and globally.

The Opening plenary and the Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability

The star-studded opening plenary session, Leading for Change, included a keynote address by the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, David Angell, as well as comments by Deputy Economic Counsellor USA Embassy in Kenya, David Drinkard; Kenya’s Principal Secretary Ministry of Labour, Social Security Services Ali Noor Ismail, Kenya Parliament representatives Senator Godliver Omondi and MP Isaac Mwaura; and an inspirational performance from Special Olympics Athlete Joshua Agare. Charles Omondi representing the Kenya Association for the Intellectually Handicapped, Mitsue Uemura of Unicef Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, and Boaz Muhumuza of Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) also spoke during the opening festivities. The President of Inclusion International, Klaus Lachwitz spoke at the opening about the paradigm shift that started in 2006 when the CRPD was adopted and how much it has been achived since. Click here to read his opening remarks

Thanks to Special Olympics, the opening session and other significant moments also saw participants witness the signing of the Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability by Inclusion International and Inclusion Africa during the Opening Plenary.

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The Lilongwe Declaration is an ambitious and critical call to action to all African governments and stakeholders to begin addressing the inequities in health, education, access to social services, and resource allocation, facing the population of individuals with intellectual disabilities. A product of the African Leaders Forum on Disability, the Lilongwe Declaration has received support from numerous international and African organizations and would welcome the support, and signature, of all participating organizations.

Self-advocacy Forum

Funded through Inclusion Africa’s OSIEA self-advocacy project, was designed to provide dedicated space for self-advocates and organizations to have distinct discussions about their perspectives on self-advocacy. II supported the participation of self-advocate leaders from other regions to share learnings on the development and status of self-advocacy in other countries and regions. The session included a presentation on II’s global methodology on self-advocacy and highlighted current efforts in Africa to build self-advocacy networks.

The session on political participation

Focussed on the right to political participation (beyond casting a vote) for people with intellectual disabilities and how to enhance the development of inclusive civic engagement.

 The session on preventing violence and promoting access to justice

Explored efforts to ensure access to justice by people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Presentations included highlights from a pan-African network on access to justice as well as country-level efforts.

The session on Influence and Impact of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Given that the post-2015 development agenda will have significant implications for Africa, particularly in regards to poverty and education, this session included a look at its broader agenda and the particular implications in the African context. It also highlighted the perspective of development agencies and funders and the implications at a country/local level.

Closing

Inclusion International President, Klaus Lachwitz, closed the Conference by talking about the importance of mobilising self-advocates to speak up and together with families be part of the cross disability voice. read Klaus’ speech here

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