This was written by Leila B. Gbati.

As part of its National Strategic Plan on the Disability Role-Map of Liberia, the National Commission on Disability (NCD) is currently prioritizing empowerment for persons with disabilities across six counties.

According to the NCD, people with disabilities (PWDs) have been asked to submit business ideas to the Commission through their county coordinator so that they can learn what the Commission can do for them with the assistance they will be receiving.

The announcement was made by NCD Chairperson Madam Daintowon Domah Paybayee at the Ministry of Information’s Regular Press Briefing on the Capitol Bye-Pass on Thursday, May 12, 2022.

Madam Paybayee, speaking to the press about Liberia’s National Strategic Disability Role-Map and the current ongoing reform process, including the ACT that established the NCD, said the Commission has been lobbying the National Legislature to increase the NCD’s budget so that it can fully implement its road-map, and that through that they were able to get a start from the Government of Liberia with a support of 629,000 to implement the Commission’s road-map.

Madam Paybayee stated that Section (7) of the Act that established the NCD states that the Commission should be budgeted immediately upon passage of the Act to enable it to function, emphasizing that one of the things they have been able to do over the years is lobby the Legislature because the Commission budget had not exceeded 350,000. As a result, this year, the Commission was to receive the start from the GOL to help implement the Commission Road-map when the National Road-map was completed.

According to her, if the government takes the step of ensuring that the major smart areas on the road-map are implemented, they may turn to development partners for assistance because they are already assisting in Liberia’s post-conflict recovery process.

“With this help, we are beginning with PWDs, especially those who are on the streets, because we thought to ourselves, we can’t sit in an office and have no income while our colleagues are on the streets, so what can we do to get them off the streets?” “Disability is a condition that prevents you from developing normally like other individuals. I’m standing here, and you won’t believe me if I tell you my age; however, you can make up any age for me. As a result, when you’re sitting with your family and they keep feeding you, it gets to the point where they’ll tell you that they’re feeding you while you’re bringing nothing, so you look at yourself and think, “Maybe if I walk out on the road and say hello, please assist me.” That way, you can take something home with you.

“Furthermore, your family did not provide you with any talents. That is why I am grateful to my family, since if I didn’t have talents, I would have been begging on the same street “Madam Paybayee adds.

The NCD Chairperson stated that they have instructed PWDs to contact their county coordinator and inform the Commission of what they can do for them with the assistance they are likely to receive.

However, she stated that when it comes to capacity building, small businesses, livelihood skills, educational support, programs, initiatives, advocacy through the correct base approach, monitoring and supervising effective service delivery, and economic empowerment for PWDs, the NCD has jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Madam Paybayee, speaking about the Commission’s current position, stated that the Commission is now working with 70 PWD civil society organizations that are registered with the GOL and have articles of incorporation and business registration.

She claimed that the Commission was founded in 2004 when PWDs from around the country banded together and declared, “We don’t have a government arm of the community of PWDs; we have a civil society arm, which is today the National Union of Organizations of the Disable.”

“We contacted partners and donors, and with UNDP’s help, we were able to petition the House of Legislature, along with others at the time, and when the House was able to pass the document, it became a law signed by the President and printed into a hand bill by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in December.” “In developing this Act, we didn’t really look at the Commission’s Act in surrounding countries, so we just developed it in such a way that we had an executive director, deputy executive director, and deputy director of technical service like that, and later on, we tried to look at the Act in various countries and we did an amendment version that is currently before the House, but just to let you know, those who were appointed in the past didn’t go for confirmation, but this g “WDs, “s”

“Taking over the Commission, which is a place where we’ve all worked for years, was almost like starting over, so the Commission had to do and setup a lot of things, including a checking account for the Commission; discussions with heads of institutions of PWDs to understand what problems the community is facing and how they can solve these problems; and, most importantly, the issue of aggregate data.” There are over 13 types of disability, but in Liberia, you only interact with three: the visually impaired, the physically challenged, and the hard of hearing. “We were able to create a one-year action plan to focus on items the Commission wanted to see, as well as the Commission’s structure across the country. We then concluded that we needed a disability road map, which was prompted by the government’s request that they describe the various measures they were taking to address disability challenges “she stated.

Through talks and meetings with leaders of PWD institutions, they were able to choose nine theme areas to investigate and include in the road map. They were able to open the submit on December 3 during the celebration of International Disable Day, and they were grateful for the first time to have President Weah present to listen to what the disabled had to say about their life, underlining that the road-map was signed by President Weah and t

“We are also examining the Nation Action Plan that was established by UNDP in 2018, which Action Plan presently has support from the UNESCO Office in Abuja, who are working to see how it can match with the National Road-map they have prepared to make it easy to implement.” Finally, she stated that the NCD was able to sign the UNICEF work plan, which states that UNICEF is about to address the challenges of aggregate data at the Commission level, beginning with two counties, Grand Kru and Babpolou, and then expanding to the rest of the counties.

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