Call for jobs quota for persons living with disability

There is a pressing need for the Government to put in place a ‘quota system’ whereby employers should be required to dedicate at least 5 per cent of positions to persons living with disability, activists have said.

 Quota system is a method whereby a regulator sets a limit on how much of something a country or company is allowed to have, produce etc.

The move, they say, could reduce unemployment rate among disabled people.

This is one of the recommendations that were recently drawn up by civil society organizations advocating for persons living with disability rights.

The activists also recommended efforts to equip disabled people with TVET skills so as to be able to create their own income generating projects.

Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of NCPD, said that all combined efforts could enable create 2,000 off-farm jobs for people living with disabilities by 2020.

“We are on track to create 2,000 jobs for disabled people, a 2020 target. The efforts have already created over 1,380 jobs and we want to exceed the target. We want all projects be inclusive to disabled people. For instance, we agreed with US Embassy that all NGOs they support should include people with disabilities in different projects,” he said.

Activists have said there is need for a quota system to create jobs for disabled people. Courtesy.

He disclosed that even UNDP has also embarked on the same journey to consider disabled people in projects it funds.

“This year, UNDP allocated $500,000 to disabled people through civil society. We are also discussing with the European Union about how they can consider vulnerable disabled people in projects they finance.

This approach could transform their lives if all partners put it into account,” he said adding that United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) provided Rwf1.5 billion direct support to disabled people through VUP programme.

Ndayisaba said that the unemployment rate among disabled people is still high.

“When we initially put disabled people into categories, we realized that only 1.2 per cent of 154,000 disabled people, who are able to work, are employed. It means over 98 per cent have no jobs,” he said.

He said that in order to cope with the unemployment, National Employment Programme provides funds through Business Development Fund (BDF) and SACCO to finance disabled people’s projects.

Over the past five years, 1392 people with disabilities have obtained loans worth Rwf465 million.

There are an estimated 446 453 disabled people across the country.

“The Ministry of Finance and economic Planning also gives Rwf120 million to our council that is sent to districts every year to support disabled people’s cooperatives,” he said.

He said that main cause of such high unemployment among people with disabilities is that they were excluded from access to education especially TVET.

“Lack of education prevents disabled people from getting jobs. By equipping them with TVET skills, they can create jobs. We have to include disabled young children in education so as to avoid adult illiteracy among people with disabilities since it is the main challenge hampering their efforts to study TVET,” he said.

Disabled youth

He said that working with different civil society organizations has generating jobs for many disabled people especially the youth.

Umbrella of Organisations of People with Disabilities in the Fight against HIV and AIDS and in Health promotion (UPHLS) has been implementing a program entitled “EmployAble Program’  and from  2014 to 2016, 500 youth with disabilities were included  in labor market through teaching them TVET skills.

Satir Omar Bahati, The Executive Director of Uwezo Youth Empowerment organization that helps young people with disabilities said that monitoring how disabled access to finance for job creation is at the forefront of advocacy.

“We have supported over 800 youth with disabilities,” he said.

But generally very few disabled youth access to finance due to lack of collateral, he said.

Ignacienne Nyirarukundo, Minister of State of the Ministry of Local Government in charge of Social Affairs reiterated that access to education is a key to job creation for disabled people.

“It requires skills to use a bank loan. It requires skills to manage income-generating projects. They need training on job creation and business management to beat unemployment as the government seven-year programme committed to push knowledge-based economy,” she said.

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