Social Affairs Minister, Pauline Irene Nguene was speaking on Saturday 3rd December 2022 in Yaounde during the official celebration of the 31st edition of the international day of persons with disabilities, IDPD.
Activities to officially mark the 31st edition of the international day of persons living with disabilities took place on Saturday, 3rd December 2022 at the courtyard of the national rehabilitation center for persons with disabilities in Etoug-Ebe, Yaounde.
This year’s edition was placed under the theme: « Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world« .
As underscored by the Ministry of Social Affairs, the United Nations calls on States to seek innovative solutions and to take sustainable measures to improve the living conditions of persons with disabilities, by engaging in interactive dialogues on the themes of Innovation for disability-inclusive development in employment (SDG8) and Innovation for disability-inclusive development in reducing inequalities (SDG10).
The ceremony punctuated by several articulations was another occasion seized by persons with disabilities, PWD to voice out the numerous issues that affect them notably the precarious situations in which many are entangled due to lack of employment.
Spokesperson of PWDs and by the way President of a network of associations of women living with disabilities in Cameroon known by its French acronym RAFHCAM said despite the various efforts undertaken so far by the government to protect and promote the rights of PWDs, there are quite challenging issues that still need to be uplifted.
Mrs. Djuimo Odette said: “We still face physical and psychological obstacles which prevent us from fully enjoying our various rights notably in the domains of education, decent employment, sports and leisure, community goods and services, access to information for some who lack adapted materials for translation just to name these few…Persons with disabilities are generally subject to discrimination and marginalization even in terms of decision-making in groups.”
While outlining the different problems faced by PWDs in Cameroon, Mrs. Djuimo Odette equally challenged the government to transfer some competencies to other ministries which do not have inclusive programs and projects for the disabled. She pointed out that all worries are carried to the Ministry of Social Affairs which to her is a small ministerial department that takes into account all issues affecting PWDs.
“There is no development without persons with disabilities.” Said Minister Pauline Irene Nguene in her introductory note.
Cameroon’s Minister of Social Affairs indicated some key figures in her address. She said in 2017, the population of Cameroon was estimated at twenty-three million two hundred and forty-eight thousand four (23.248.004) inhabitants and if we apply the ratio of the World Report on Disability (15%) to these demographic data, Cameroon has almost three million four hundred and eighty-seven thousand two hundred (3.487.200) people with at least one disability.
As stated by the Minister, this is a significant figure of our population that should not be left aside.
“Persons with disabilities should have the same privileges as normal persons. And the theme chosen this year is another call to action. We should act together for an inclusive society.” said Madame Nguene.
Social Affairs’ patroness said: “This year’s theme is built around two keywords that are: “innovation” and “transformative solutions” to achieve inclusive development based on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 8 and 10 which respectively prescribe to States to achieve full and productive employment and ensure decent work and equal pay for work of equal value for all women and men, including youth and persons with disabilities; Empower all people and promote their social, economic and political integration, irrespective of age, gender, disability… »
“The celebration of the international day of persons with disabilities is part of the continued implementation of the policy of social justice and national solidarity advocated by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, which promotes the contribution of all to economic growth, every one according to his or her possibilities and capacities. It is notably marked by the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, relating to the rights of these people. Besides, the IDPD 2022 is part of the operationalization of the orientations of the National Development Strategy 2020 – 2030 for structural transformation and inclusive development, which aim at the development of human capital and the well-being of the populations.” She added.
Another point on the agenda of this ceremony was the official handing over of end of courses attestations to some seven young girls of the “Bobine d’Or” inclusive training center of Ekounou in Yaounde 4.
And to drop curtains on the 31st edition of the international day of persons with disabilities, the Minister visited the stands of PWDs who showcased their arts of works.