The African Youth and Governance Convergence (AYGC), a flagship program of the Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF), as part of events marking this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) invites African youth across the continent and the African Diaspora youth to reflect on the special needs of their brothers and sisters living with disabilities and to actively contribute in “Breaking Barriers for their Inclusion”.
The IDPD which is observed every year on 3rd December since its official proclamation by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 1992 and being observed this year across the globe is under the theme: “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”
To this end, as a transforming platform for training the youth on democratic freedoms across Africa and leadership grooming, YBF reiterates its policy of inclusion founded on the strong belief that no one should be left behind.
“Our policy of inclusion has been designed to address the needs of the most vulnerable groups including Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
“Each of the 10 editions of AYGC organized with the aim of providing the African youth with an effective platform to express their opinions on the main sectors of development on the future of Africa has privileged and opened its door to the active participation of PWDs,” a statement issued in Accra on Tuesday has said.
It noted that special needs of persons with disabilities voiced out by their representatives at AYGC have been noted and considered at the level of the Committee of Social Inclusion and Diversity. The recommendations of our African youth with disabilities are each year communicated to the international community, continental bodies, African Union (AU) and UN for consideration, approval and implementation.
According to the statement, the strategy put in place at YBF is based on equity for the construction of an inclusive Africa where the needs and rights of every segment of the population is respected and considered adding that; “The existing collaboration of YBF with Agencies of UN and Continental bodies is also extended to PWDs, and specially youth with disabilities whose voice will be always listened to and highly valued. Thus, the YBF and AYGC strategy to combat stereotype and exclusion of persons with disabilities is founded on the strong collaboration of all stakeholders and the respect of the United Nations convention on the Rights of PWDs (UNCRPD) MOTO of: “NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US,” the statement quoted Aarthi Burtony, the Second Vice President of the 10th AYGC as saying.
It said the barriers PWDs face in their daily lives as well as the numerous significant challenges they encounter in accessing essential services (such as education, employment, health, mobility, etc) are brought to light on this special day and it is appropriate PWDs are involved in decisions making, empowered and given equal opportunities every normal dignified human being enjoys.
“Indeed, the UNCRPD and the African Union Disability Rights Charter would make a fundamental difference in the lives of PWDs only with the change in mindset and paradigm shift from exclusion to inclusion with the required positive attitude from society at large, political leaders, social workers, businessmen and women, youth and governments.
“Together let us step toward an inclusive Africa where our friends with disabilities are included in all mainstream development,” the statement said.
Initiated and convened by YBF, AYGC since 2009, is the convergence of a four-tier leadership grooming program for African and Diaspora youth which focuses on Leadership grooming, Cascade of Mentorship, Community Impact, Networking and Exchanges.
YBF is a non-governmental youth-focused educational organization that has the goal of bridging gaps for positive youth development.
It is accredited with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Special Consultative Status.
BY YBF COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT