On February 7-9, 2020, self-advocates from across Uganda gathered in Kampala for Uganda’s first Empower Us workshop!
Empower Us is Inclusion International’s self-advocacy training program, which supports Inclusion International members with their self-advocacy and inclusion work. Empower Us is led by self-advocates.
Sixteen (16) self-advocates from Inclusion Uganda and the Uganda Parents of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (UPPID) and their supporters participated in the three day long Empower Us training, travelling to Kampala from 10 different districts in Uganda.
Self-advocate leaders Mark Mapemba (Inclusion International Officer) from Malawi and Hassan Zilakulabe (UPPID Board Member) from Uganda facilitated the workshop. Mark and Hassan shared information about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), human rights, and what it means to be a self-advocate.
Sam, a self-advocate participant from UPPID, shared what he learned during the Empower Us training: “I have learned to work together. I have learned that I have rights in my community. I have learned how to work with my supporter. I will use what I have learned by telling other people our rights, and by telling children they can go to school.”
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 called for greater understanding from employers, the government, and their families about their barriers to employment and the employment supports they need.
After learning about their rights and how to speak on employment and other topics, self-advocates in Uganda are ready to be advocates in their communities. Speaking about the next steps for Empower Us Uganda participants, Eddy from Uganda said that “Mark and Hassan have come here today to share this information with us – now we are all ambassadors. We are getting information here and we need to spread it to other people. When we spread it to others we will speak as one voice, and then they will stop treating us like this.”