From February 21-23, 2020, Inclusion International travelled to Ikeja, Nigeria to host an Empower Us session in partnership with Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria!
Empower Us is Inclusion International’s global self-advocacy training program. The program supports Inclusion International members with their self-advocacy and inclusion work in their countries. Empower Us is led by self-advocates.
Empower Us team members Mia Farah from Lebanon and Jane Akinyi from Kenya travelled to Nigeria to lead the training, and seventeen (17) self-advocates from Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria (DSFN) participated with their supporters. Self-advocates travelled from Lagos state and Kwara state in Nigeria to join the training.
Over the three days, self-advocates talked about their rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), what it means to do advocacy, and how to work together advocate in their communities. Self-advocates thought about the things they want to advocate for in their own lives, and made plans for how to start being an advocate for issues that are important to them.
Delivered as part of the Inclusion Works employment program, the Empower Us workshop had an employment focus, with a full day of activities on understanding our employment rights and developing an action plan for doing advocacy on inclusive employment in our communities.
Self-advocates shared their experiences with work and their aspirations for future employment, and Jane and Mia also shared their own experiences with work in formal and informal sector. Thinking about how to do advocacy on employment in their own lives, self-advocates discussed the perceptions of their government, employers, and their families about the right to work for people with intellectual disabilities.
Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria’s self-advocates work together in a self-advocacy group, and with the new focus on employment advocacy and the tools they learned during the Empower Us training, we look forward to hearing about what they do next!