By Elias Hakizimana.
During the 2018 Global Disability Summit (GDS) held in London on July 24th, the Government of Rwanda committed to create 2000 jobs for Persons with disabilities (PWDs) by 2020 but currently there are no concrete figures for the progress although the sited period ends shortly.
Only 0.4 percent of persons with disabilities were employed by the public sector since the year 2015 according to the national council for persons with disability (NCPD), causing the threat to social inclusion that is in live with the country’s vision.
In a detailed interview with Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of NCPD, he said that there is still a big problem in terms of employment where in 2015, only 1,2 percent of people with disabilities (PWDs) had jobs, and of them, 0.8% were employed by the private sector, 0.4 percent of in public sector, while 98 percent were jobless.
However, during the 2018 Global Disability Summit’s commitments, Rwanda committed to create 2,000 jobs for persons with disabilities by 2020 and it only remains few months for this period to get to the end.
Ndayisaba said that they discussed with the Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA) to cater for persons with disabilities within the national employment policy, saying that the ministry accepted to amend it.
“After they have accepted to amend the policy, they gave us Rwf 200 million at the first round, which we used to train PWDs and equip them with different disciplines of vocational trainings. Every year, they give us Rwf80million which is channeled through SACCO. Applicants pay 50 % while the remaining 50 % is a grant. They start paying after two years.” He said.
Ndayisaba said that NCPD also provides a grant to all districts to support cooperatives of People with disabilities. He said that most of elderly people with disabilities have benefited from this scheme.
There are over 380 cooperatives of PWDs in Rwanda according to NCPD.
“Only few of PWDs get employed at a low pace because many of employers still have negative mindset that a Person with a disability cannot perform a work as others can, for example, blind people. Both private and public sector still wonder how a person with visual impairment can work, they are unaware that ICT has solved a lot, a computer with an assistive software enables a visually impairedperson to do the job independently.PWDs are good people to work with and they are very productive at work as they get concentrated on their assignments,” Ndayisaba said.
He said that there many of PWDs who are working in various institutions being banks, NGOs and others functions.
“We have them in Masaka Creamery factories, I visited it recently and among its 32 staff, 18 are deaf and their boss told me that they are the ones who are productive at work, we are discussing with donor organizations to see how they can include in their projects people with disabilities, and it will help us increase the number of PWDS,” he noted.
Ndayisaba also said that NCPD is discussing with the Ministry of Public Service and Labour to seek for laws and policies that would allowPWDs to secure job at formal and informal sector.
He said this is something the Ministry of Public Service and Labour needs to look on by establishing the quarter system where a certain percentage of total jobs in public sector should be dedicated to PWDs.
“For example, if there are 20 job positions, 5% should be for PWDs, it means 1 of 20 persons, when an institution follows this, they get tax exoneration, I have learnt this from other foreign institutions and it is a good initiative to learn from.”
In the conversations with Ndayisaba, he was not so sure about exact number of jobs that have so far been created to respond to the emerging employability needs of PWDs in Rwanda which responds to the GDS18 Commitment 17 for creating 2000 jobs by the end of 2020.
The Inspirer tried to reach out officials in charge of labour in the Ministry of Public Service and Labour for further information on the matter and they didn’t want to say anything.
The Inspirer was definitely interested to know if there are strategies set forth by the Ministry to ensure the GDS18 commitments are achieved with clear and documented indicators.
Though, the current revised National Employment Policy and its Implementation Plan adopted by the Government of Rwanda on 7 June 2019 states that 13% of youth with disabilities have jobs comparing to 18% of youth without disabilities, youths with disabilities think that the statistics given might be lower than the actual in relation to still existing barriers to work and employment demonstrated among employers at different levels.
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