Family Consultations on Inclusive Employment

Who has a stake in inclusive employment? We know that families have a key role to play in supporting access to inclusive employment, and we are following up the discussions we have been having with self-advocates in Kenya and Uganda, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Namibia about employment with a round of consultations with family members on the same topic.

In September, Inclusion International headed to Lagos, Nigeria, to speak to family members of people with intellectual disabilities at Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria about the challenges families experience related to supporting employment.

Thirteen (13) family members of people with intellectual disabilities – including parents, siblings, and other extended family members – participated in a day-long consultation on the experiences of families working to support their family member with an intellectual disability accessing employment.

Family members in Nigeria shared valuable insights about their experiences – ranging from frustrating experiences with employers to employment success stories brought on thanks to support from family networks.

Family members articulated employer attitudes, lack of government support for families, lack of support in the workplace, and insecure workplaces as key barriers preventing people with intellectual disabilities from accessing inclusive employment and preventing their family members from supporting them to access those opportunities.

Despite articulation the many challenges that family members faced, they also clearly articulated the areas where they need more support in order to ensure their family member’s success. Support for family members is a key outcome of the Inclusion Works project, and in addition to supporting self-advocates and building inclusive practices among employers, the project will produce resources and a training methodology that will give family members the tools to better understand and support inclusive employment.

Supporting families is a key piece of the equation for supporting people with intellectual disabilities to access employment in an inclusive environment, and families will be a key participant in and driver behind Inclusion International’s work on inclusive employment in Inclusion Works and beyond.