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Breaking barriers: Advocating disability inclusivity – NewsDay

PWDDs face numerous barriers in local communities as they go about their work. These challenges dffer depending on the specific disability and the level of accessibility and inclusivity within the community.

AMID the tumultuous waves and hullabaloo crashing upon our nation, it becomes all too easy to overlook the voices of those who are often stigmatised and marginalised — persons with disabilities in all their diversities (PWDDs).

Yet, now more than ever, there is need to recognise the urgency of aligning disability inclusivity and management advocacy efforts with national level changes.

It is about time to shed light on the barriers and struggles faced by this sidelined community and embark on a journey towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

PWDDs face numerous barriers in local communities as they go about their work. These challenges dffer depending on the specific disability and the level of accessibility and inclusivity within the community.

Many local communities lack adequate accessible infrastructure, making it difficult for PWDDs to navigate public spaces, buildings, and transportation systems.

The absence of ramps, elevators, accessible toilets, and appropriate signage, for instance, create significant barriers to their mobility and participation in the workforce.

PWDDs often face discrimination and stigma in the workplace, hindering their opportunities for employment and career advancement.

Negative stereotypes and misconceptions about their abilities lead to exclusion and limited job prospects, perpetuating a cycle of marginalisation.

Many times, PWDDs encounter limited employment opportunities and face higher rates of unemployment or underemployment compared to their non-disabled counterparts.

Employers become hesitant to provide reasonable accommodations or adapt their workplaces to meet the needs of employees with disabilities, further exacerbating the lack of inclusive employment practices.

Nationally and globally, statistics for full employment or underemployment for PWDDs vary across communities, and it is critical to consider that disability is a diverse category encompassing various impairments and conditions.

The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency notes that about 900 000 to 1,4 million people are disabled in Zimbabwe.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped, from these official figures, only 2% of PWDDs are employed in the public sector, and overall, less than 7% are in employment.

A further 8% are vendors, while 29% are involved in farming activities for subsistence. Nineteen percent are said to be studying.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that globally, the employment rate for PWDDs is significantly lower than the average employment rate.

However, precise global statistics are challenging to obtain due to variations in disability definitions, data collection methodologies, and reporting practices across countries.

Experts assert that regarding underemployment, limited data is available on a global scale.

However, underemployment is a common issue for PWDDs, as they struggle to find suitable jobs that match their skills and qualifications, leading to employment that does not fully utilise their abilities.

It is also critically important to note that the employment and underemployment rates for PWDDs vary widely depending on factors such as the level of disability-inclusive policies, accessibility measures, educational opportunities, and societal attitudes towards disability within each country or region.

Further, PWDDs face challenges in accessing support services, such as assistive devices, sign language interpreters, or personal assistants, which are limited or non-existent in many local communities.

This lack of support hinders PWDDs in effectively carrying out their work and participating fully and effectively in the workforce.

Access to quality education and training programmes are also a significant challenge for PWDDs.

Limited availability of inclusive educational institutions, lack of accessible teaching materials, and insufficient support for students with disabilities hinder their learning opportunities and future employability.

PWDDs often experience social isolation and exclusion, both in the workplace and within their local communities. Prejudice and lack of awareness lead to social barriers, making it difficult for them to build relationships and engage in community activities.

Many PWDDs face financial constraints due to additional expenses related to their disability, such as medical costs, assistive devices, or specialised transportation.

These financial burdens can further limit their ability to access education, training, or employment opportunities.

Against this backdrop, addressing these barriers and statistics require collaborative efforts from multiple stakeholders, including governments, employers, community organisations, and society.

It is crucial to promote disability-inclusive policies, raise awareness, and actively work towards creating supportive environments that enable PWDDs to fully participate in the workforce and local communities.

At this juncture, this opinion piece delves into the critical importance of strategic planning and effective communication strategies as advocacy in amplifying the voices of PWDDs and fostering meaningful change at every level of governance.

In aligning this special type of advocacy with national level changes, key considerations are needed, such as understanding the policy landscape, that is, national policies, legislation and frameworks related to disability inclusion and management.

In addition, there is need to identify key decision-makers and stakeholders involved in shaping and implementing these policies; analyse the existing gaps, challenges, and opportunities within the policy landscape to inform the advocacy strategy.

Coalition building and partnerships

There is need to form alliances and partnerships with disability-focused organisations, civil society groups, and other stakeholders to amplify advocacy efforts.

Collaborate with organisations working on related issues and seek opportunities for joint advocacy initiatives.

A united front strengthens advocacy messages, increase collective influence, and demonstrate broad-based support for disability inclusive and management policy changes.

Framing and messaging

Craft compelling messages that resonate with decision-makers and align with national priorities.

Highlight the social and economic benefits of disability inclusion and effective management practices.

Emphasise the rights-based approach and the importance of equal opportunities, accessibility, and participation for PWDDs.

Messages should be tailored to the specific concerns and priorities of government ministries, legislators, and technocrats, demonstrating how advocacy efforts align with their portfolios and the overall national agenda.

Engaging decision-makers

There is need to develop a targeted engagement plan to interact with decision-makers.

Request meetings, submit policy briefs, and participate in relevant policy forums, committees, or consultations. Clearly articulate advocacy goals and proposed policy changes.

Analysts note that it is important to share evidence-based research, data, and success stories that demonstrate the positive impact of disability inclusive and management practices.

Establishing personal connections, building relationships, and maintaining open lines of communication to effectively convey messages and influence decision-making processes, are equally crucial.

Leveraging media and public engagement

Media experts point out that utilising media and public engagement strategies to raise awareness, generate public support, and influence national level changes should be highly considered.

Engage with journalists and media outlets to secure media coverage of disability-related issues, highlighting success stories, challenges, and the need for policy reforms.

Leverage on social media platforms, online campaigns, and public events to engage the public, foster dialogue, and build a broader movement for disability inclusion and management.

Public support and awareness exert pressure on decision-makers and increase the likelihood of policy changes.

Sustainable engagement

It is also worth to observe that advocacy for disability inclusive and management policy changes is an ongoing process.

Maintain a long-term commitment to the cause as policy changes often require sustained advocacy efforts.

Continuously adapt strategies based on evolving political and social contexts.

Staying informed about national and international developments related to disability rights and management practices cannot be over-emphasised.

Engage in continuous learning, capacity building, and knowledge sharing to strengthen advocacy efforts.

Monitoring, evaluation, and accountability

Implement robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact of advocacy efforts.

Monitor policy developments, legislative changes, and implementation of disability inclusive and management practices.

Evaluate the effectiveness and reach of advocacy activities, including media coverage, public engagement, and policy outcomes.

Regularly communicate progress and achievements to stakeholders, ensuring transparency and accountability while demonstrating the value of advocacy work.

Policy research and analysis

There is need, furthermore, to conduct thorough research and analysis of relevant policies, legislation, and government priorities, understanding the political landscape, knowing key decision-makers, and the power dynamics.

This information will help identify opportunities for advocacy and aligning messaging with the government agenda.

By carefully considering these key aspects, disability inclusive and management advocacy efforts can be effectively aligned with national level changes.

This strategic approach increases the likelihood of influencing policies, legislation and practices that promote disability inclusion and effective management in society.

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Govt overhauls vocational training programmes – NewsDay

The new strategic framework for the modernisation and transformation of vocational training systems has already been approved by Cabinet, Youth Empowerment and Development minister Tinoda Machakaire said yesterday.

GOVERNMENT is overhauling vocational skills training at its centres across the country to ensure that graduates meet the demands of the current job market.

The new strategic framework for the modernisation and transformation of vocational training systems has already been approved by Cabinet, Youth Empowerment and Development minister Tinoda Machakaire said yesterday.

Machakaire made the remarks while addressing 1 501 graduands from Magamba Vocational Training Centre in Manicaland province.

He said the new framework would facilitate the review of skills training and programmes to modernise the vocational training system (VTS) and transform vocational training centres (VTCs) into modern centres of excellence.

“The framework which was developed through wide consultations will facilitate the review of the skills training system and programmes to modernise the VTS and transform VTCs into centres of excellence,” he said.

“The VTCs are expected to provide relevant skills for youth empowerment and the socio-economic development of the communities which these VTCs serve as required by Heritage Education 5.0.”

Education 5.0 is a five-mission model of teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation.

The VTCs have a mandate to develop an entrepreneurial and self-reliant culture among the Zimbabwean youth.

Machakaire pleaded with industry and commerce to support VTCs in their communities as part of their corporate social responsibility to contribute towards the youth economic empowerment agenda.

“The youth empowerment agenda requires the concerted and collaborative efforts of us all — government, development partners, the private sector and community leadership in general,” he said.

“Vocational training and skills development is one of the youth development and empowerment strategies that my ministry is pursuing as an integral cog in Zimbabwe`s industrial development agenda.”

Machakaire, however, admitted that VTCs were facing various challenges related to underfunding.

“I have been informed that some of your challenges include dilapidated infrastructure, inadequate staff, obsolete tools and equipment including the unavailability of reliable vehicles,” he said.

“This strategic framework which is to be implemented should adequately deal with the above challenges.”

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Muckracker: The sandy journey to democracy – NewsDay

It was reported that Tendai Biti, one of the country’s angriest men, is unhappy because of some parody social media account.

MUCKRAKER, like most patriotic people across the country, is still recuperating from the vigorous exertions of dancing in the sand last weekend.

In case you have been hiding under a rock, probably hiding from sanctions, the absolute geniuses in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) organised musical galas recently, which were meant to celebrate the environmental destruction of the country’s longest river, Save.

The Siltation Gala drew thousands of imbibers, who debauched their way through the balmy night and danced away on what used to be a river.

According to the OPC: “Save Beach Bash! Strategic Communications, Presidential Communications, Zimbabwe. Communicating to give impetus to the programmes and projects that contribute to the attainment of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030”.

Indeed, in that vision, all rivers would have disappeared. At that time, we will be hosting similar concerts. Where we once had roads, we will host the Pothole Jamboree. We have already turned old train coaches at the National Railways of Zimbabwe premises into low-cost accommodation for those with rather urgent personal needs.

Nothing can stop this vision.

Nothing puzzling

Around the country, many people are still scratching their heads in puzzlement after a former minister complained about corruption. It was reported that Dzingai Mutumbuka, a former education minister, found out to his horror that someone in the Deeds Office had found better things to do with his property, transferring it to someone else for a small fee, naturally.

For some reason, Mutumbuka is making a song and dance about this small issue. In fact, shockingly, he claims to have taken this up with the country’s owner.

“I met President Emmerson Mnangagwa and I congratulated him on his achievements, but I told him he will not achieve much if he doesn’t deal with corruption,” Mutumbuka said.

“I am known that is why I am able to fight my case in the courts. What about those ordinary men and women in the streets who are not known? They easily lose their hard-earned properties to such fraudsters.”

Of course, we are sure that Mnangagwa must have rolled on the floor with laughter at such a suggestion. First, what does Mutumbuka mean by “achievements? Secondly, why does he think “ordinary men and women in the streets”? Are they the vene of the country? When did they start to matter to warrant such needless noise?

This Mutumbuka fellow should crawl back to quiet retirement and let comrades eat in peace.

Human exports

Speaking of achievements, the country continues to excel by increasing exports. Among the biggest exports of the country, are human beings.

Once, our previous deceased owner described Britain as “a very cold, uninhabitable country with small houses”. Now, we are told by Britain that Zimbabwe is among the top three countries in the whole world in terms of sending people to work in the UK’s health and care work system.

In total, over the past year, some 40 000 Zimbabweans and their dependents left Southern Africa’s fastest growing economy to go and stay in this “very cold, uninhabitable country” and get jobs in care work.

Other countries are trying to copy us. This week, we heard that Pastor Lazarus Chakwera is being congratulated widely for sending 221 young Malawians to work on farms in Israel. The nation congratulates Zanu PF for this massive achievement in growing exports.

We call upon the geniuses in the Office of the President and Cabinet’s Communication Department to speedily host another gala, preferably at our shiny new airport, to celebrate this milestone.


Meanwhile, it’s all hotting up over there in the alleged opposition. It was reported that Tendai Biti, one of the country’s angriest men, is unhappy because of some parody social media account.

It was all to do with an account in the name of one Sengezo Tshabangu, the unemployable lout who now claims to be in charge of the Citizens Coalition for Change. In one post, whoever runs the fake account mischievously claimed that Tshabangu had met Biti for a meal at a hotel. Asked to comment, a frothing Biti told NewsDay: “I’m not interested.

That account must be a parody account that was created by Chamisa and his team. Just check it. I have not met Tshabangu and let me repeat that I am not interested”.

We congratulate Biti for always managing to commit political hara-kiri when his opponents need him to. He has a long, tried and tested history in that department.

French honeymoon

According to reports this week, the Mayor of the Former Sunshine City Lovejoy Chitengu and his deputy Rosemary Muronda are leading a high-powered delegation to the tourist resort of Nyanga to eat as much as they can while they still can.

It is reported that the two, accompanied by 23 other chefs, will spend US$24 000 at a strategic retreat to discuss very important things.

“The objectives (of the retreat) are to find new financial and business partners, expand the network to top-level business contracts, discover and learn best practices from leading” as well as learning about “efficiency towards defined goals and standards”.

We are told the seminar’s theme – there is always a long theme for such events – is “Refining Corporate Excellence and Efficiency towards delivering a Middle Income Economy —Vision 2030.”

Yet, you hear ungrateful residents complaining. They are whining about the fact that “city fathers and mothers” are spending money on hotels, leaving behind a cholera crisis. But these people need to zip their mouths.

Since when do we elect people based on competence? Why are we surprised? Did they show you their qualifications when you voted for them? No. so why the shock? Let them eat on your behalf. What else are they there for?

Jobs, jobs, jobs!

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has flighted advertisements calling on people to sign up to work for the government.

“Are you a recent graduate? Are you between the ages of 19-30? Are you looking for a job? If you answer ‘Yes’ to all three questions then mark this date on your calendar and the venue below: December 6, 2023.

Do you want to work for the government?

Come to the PSC Job Fair for a chance to be considered for employment.”

Muckraker suspects there was a genuine, innocent mistake made by whoever wrote that advert.

It is more likely that they meant to say: “We know you are over 30 and never had a job. Are you desperate enough to sign yourself into slavery? Then come and work for the government”.

The “slavery” part there, of course, refers only to low-level workers.

The rest are the slave drivers who drive 4X4s. Those ones do not need to apply through “job fairs”.

Could this be true?

There were shocking revelations in the trial of Marry Mubaiwa, who was once married to the country’s deputy owner, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

According to one report: “Former health and child care deputy minister Dr John Mangwiro testified in court that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, while admitted in South Africa, received treatment from a veterinary doctor at the insistence of his ex-wife, Marry Mubaiwa.

Dr. Mangwiro revealed that he discovered Dr. Peck was a veterinary doctor after initially being presented as a family medical practitioner by Mubaiwa.”

Calling a vet to treat a whole human? We can only surmise that Marry, in her affection, took the VP’s totem a bit too far.

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Mawaba primary school unveils e-learning classroom block – The Zimbabwe Mail

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC), Thursday, commissioned an e-learning classroom block at Mawaba Primary School in Lobengula West.

The new facility will provide learners with access to information and communication technologies (ICTs).

The classroom block was renovated for US$5,000 through a collaboration between the school and its parents. The classroom is equipped with 45 laptops, which the school won under a merit award from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony held at the school under the theme, “Empowering Learners Through E-Learning,” Ward 14 Councillor Dumisani Netha, who was standing in for Mayor David Coltart, said that the city of Bulawayo strives to be a leading smart and transformative city by 2024. He said that empowering education through e-learning facilities is essential to achieving this vision.

Netha applauded the school and the parents for putting together the resources to convert the classroom into such a magnificent learning facility.

“This is a befitting facility to train our learners in Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) as set out in the smart city concept, national outcomes and requirements provided for by the National Development Strategy (NDS1) and Vision 2030,” said Netha.

“We might pride ourselves on providing our children with such remarkable facilities for e-learning, this is because it is a powerful tool in the modern-day learning experiences as it is a convenient and flexible platform for individuals to acquire skills.”

Netha said that e-learning has great accessibility potential as it offers a wide range of courses and resources. “This accessibility ensures that no one is left behind and learners have an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills while being flexible in scheduling and pacing,” he said.

He said that, unlike traditional fixed classrooms with fixed timetables, in e-learning, individuals can balance education with other responsibilities such as home, sports, and family chores. This allows learners to take control of their learning journey, resulting in a personalized learning experience and increased motivation.

“In the face of envisaged high breed learning, we congratulate Mawaba school and credit to all schools with such projects or are in the process of putting up their internet classrooms. The Education Sector Strategic Plan demands that all schools have user-friendly facilities including disability ramps, ECD classroom blocks, and libraries among other facilities,” said Clr Netha.

“I desire to ensure all council schools and others in our beautiful city implement these requirements as we strive for a smart Bulawayo,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Provincial Education Director for Bulawayo, Sibongile Khumalo, congratulated the school for successfully venturing into e-learning, saying that it is a powerful way to achieve good results.

“Schools are encouraged to embrace online learning as we might appreciate, it comes with several benefits. E-learning is about being able to access education whenever one needs to and from wherever one is. Our competency-based curriculum has embraced ICT and the concept of e-learning is topical,” said Khumalo.

She said that the curriculum has seen the transition of education from being predominantly a face-to-face approach to digital learning platforms where a teacher has merely become a facilitator.

“Through e-learning, learners should be able to take responsibility for their educational progress and access the numerous Ministry endeavours to expose them to as much educational material as possible. These include such platforms as online catch-up strategies, e-learning passport, imfundo endlini, and blended learning, just to mention a few, which are all digital learning programs,” Khumalo said.

She encouraged all schools and their communities to make e-learning a priority in their school development committee budgets.

Source: Cite

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