Push for innovation for people with disabilities

Ebenhard Ripunda
The International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD), a United Nations-sanctioned day, takes place on 3 December every year.

It is a day that commemorates, celebrates, and focuses on a very underserved community across the globe.

The day was created to create awareness that we need to create a world with zero discrimination against people with disabilities. This day embodies "Leave No One Behind" and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With this year’s theme, "Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world," we strive as Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) and as a society to advocate for the creation of an equitable world that is inclusive.

The role

As people with disabilities ourselves, under the umbrella body of the National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN), OPDs have a great mandate to advocate and promote the human rights issues related to persons living with disabilities.

We engage and work to improve our quality of life, enhance our dignity and well-being, and empower all persons with different disabilities, as well as promote the strengthening of the implementation of Namibia’s National Disability Act.

As civil society, we are advocating for an ‘equitable world’ or, to put it another way, a just and fair world. Let’s be honest, isn’t that what everyone wants and pursues for themselves?

Inclusion boosts economy

Reflecting on this year’s theme, it becomes clear that in our fast-paced and hi-tech world, there are many ways in which innovation can unlock accessibility and create a more equitable world.

Innovation for disability-inclusive development in reducing inequality, as SDG-10 states: how can the implementation of innovations, practical tools, and good practises reduce inequalities in both the public and private sectors, which are disability-inclusive and interested in promoting diversity in the workplace?

Keeping people out of the workforce because they may have some physical challenges is madness.

In Namibia, where we need to grow the economy, and everyone should do their part in this, it also makes no economic sense. Sadly, for some reason, it is the norm rather than the exception.

We are working with stakeholders to determine how innovation and transformative solutions can serve as catalysts for the inclusion of people with disabilities and lead to a more equitable world – or at least a more equitable Land of the Brave.