WBU Expands Global initiatives with appointment of four new fellows

November 13, 2020 10:05 am Published by

The World Blind Union (WBU) has recruited four new fellows to support the WBU-NORADs’ Project Fellowship and the WBU-IW (Inclusion Works Project) under the IDA’s Fellowship Programme.

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) Fellowship Programme has a dual objective of providing support to IDA members’ operational capacity to advance the rights of persons with disabilities and to build the capacities of individual disability activists as contributors to the disability rights movement. IDA fellowships provide a unique combination of opportunities for learning, mentorship, exposure to different policy, advocacy and monitoring processes, and contribution to initiatives aimed at advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in the Global South.

The WBU-NORADs’ (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) Project “Making DPOs equal partners of inclusive development in Africa” aims at enabling persons with disabilities to enjoy their human rights on an equal basis with others. The project is specifically focused on persons with disabilities living in sub Saharan Africa, and among them, persons with disabilities from underrepresented groups.

The Inclusion Works Project is part of the Inclusive Futures consortium programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID UK). The International Disability Alliance is a core partner of the Inclusion Works project, a consortium project led by Sightsavers.

The fellows will contribute to the WBU’s work in the areas of inclusive employment, Marrakesh Treaty, Urban development, accessibility among others. They will get exposure and engage with regional and national efforts related to other projects, such as UN monitoring mechanisms review, Bridge CRPD-SDGs among others, in agreement with WBU.

The new fellows include:

1. Nqobani Dube from Zimbabwe who will support the WBU’s different programs in advancing the rights of blind and partially sighted persons, particularly, those from the Sub-Saharan Africa. He will be directly involved in developing the activities planned under the WBU-NORAD project related to the Marrakesh Treaty, particularly, in the Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as other activities relevant to the organization.

Prior to joining WBU he worked with Inclusive Humanity Institute as a diversity and inclusion specialist where he has been using various frameworks including the UNCRPD, SDGs, Sendai framework and many others to design and deploy innovative tools to contribute towards positive policy change, enhancing disability mainstreaming and the effectiveness of programs targeting people with disabilities.

Nqobani has contributed in various ways to the disability sector in Africa. At World Vision Zimbabwe, he facilitated disability inclusive development and humanitarian programs such as the protracted relief program to measurably improve lives for over 3000 households of people with disabilities. At Thuso Rehabilitation centre he spearheaded development of internal disability rights training system resulting in adoption of rights-based approach to community based rehabilitation services and improved program outcomes for over 2000 people with disabilities in the Chobe district in Botswana. He has Master’s degree in Development and Human Rights from Swansea University in Wales, UK as a Chevening scholar.

” As a person with a visual impairment, I am motivated to work with WBU’s flagship organisation that has been resolute in amplifying voices of blind and partially sighted across the globe on human rights and development matters. I also recognize the contributions that have been made by other blind and partially sighted people in the emancipation of persons with disabilities and I am thus motivated to also build on the existing foundation to further contribute towards the improvement of disability inclusive policies and practices”, says Nqobani.

2. Christine Kirungi, from Uganda is supporting development of a technical paper on “Stigma and discrimination and the right to employment for persons with disabilities”. Christine is the Executive Director of Uganda National Association of Cerebral Palsy (UNAC) since 2017 and a “Bridge Alumni”. Also, she is a Disability Inclusion Facilitator partly supporting Light for the World to implement the make 12.4% Work initiative. In addition, she worked with National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda- (NUDIPU) as a Project Officer in charge of implementing a project aiming at empowerment and sensitization of people with Cerebral palsy, their families and other stakeholders in Uganda. Christine has bachelor’s degree in Community Based Rehabilitation from Kyambogo University, Uganda.

“My goal is working to promote the realization of the rights of all persons with disabilities and to ensure their full inclusion in society. I believe that the WBU IW-Norad fellowship is a great opportunity to actualize this goal”, she observes.

3. Ishiyaku Adamu from Nigeria, is supporting development of a technical paper on “What governments can do to promote inclusive employment in the formal sector?”. He has a Master’s degree in Political Economy from the University of Manchester, UK.

Ishiyaku is a dedicated disability rights activist and academic. From 2005 to date, he has held numerous positions on disability rights and advocacy in and outside Nigeria. He was also a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow of the University of Indiana USA. As President of the umbrella body of blind persons in Nigeria since 2015, Ishiyaku has worked with other stakeholders to successfully lobby for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by Nigeria in 2017 and to advocate for the National Disability Act.

Ishiyaku says “passion to help create an inclusive world is a major drive for me.”

4. Yohannes Takele, from Ethiopia will focus on producing WBU accessibility policy brief, a technical paper on accessible and affordable technologies in times of pandemic among other related activities.

Yohannes has a Master’s degree in Law with special focus to international human rights and comparative disability law from Syracuse University, USA and a Masters and Bachelor’s Degree in law from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is a certified expert of NVDA screen reader for the blind and visually impaired. As of 2019, he has been working part-time as lecturer of law Department at the Addis Ababa University, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yohannes is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Yohannes says “joining WBU as a NORAD Fellow will equip me with the necessary advocacy skill to lobby and mobilize Ethiopians with disabilities in fighting to build a system where disability right is truly respected. In particular, the fellowship will help me fight for policies, legislative and administrative frameworks that mainstream the needs and rights of blind and partially sighted in Ethiopia. This opportunity will also enable me to interact with advocates from WBU and share advocacy experiences.”

For more information about the new fellows, please visit “Our Team” section on the WBU website.

The World Blind Union appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with the IDA, IW and NORAD in implementing these fellowship projects.

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This post was written by Terry Mutuku