Disability Rights Advocacy Centre (DRAC) has supported youths to proffer innovative solutions to address Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria especially among Persons With Disabilities(PWDs). The Executive Director DRAC, Dr Irene Patrick-Ogbogu, who noted this at the just concluded Disability Innovation Lab organised by DRAC in Abuja explained the lab was an avenue where young innovators, software developers, disability advocates and students presented their ideas and solutions to improving access to SGBV services for persons with disabilities in Abuja.
She said the innovation challenge is aimed at finding new solutions, new ways of tackling the issue of SGBV especially as it affects women and girls with disabilities. “So, we have young people from all over the country including those with disabilities, who have been here for the last three days developing new ideas, new thoughts, and new solutions towards tackling the issue of SGBV. “The criteria for selection was that, first of all ,they have to be above 18 years ,they need to be passionate about the issue of SGBV and social justice issues generally. “They need to be capable of creative and innovative thinking because that is what this thing is about,’’ she said. She said that DRAC wanted new ideas because it did not want to keep doing things the old way with which the issue of SGBV continued to be on the rise. She said that the group wanted people of who were capable of new and fresh thinking so a call for application was put up and people with disabilities and those without from across the country applied and were shortlisted.
She added that the good thing was that whatever ideas and solutions they came up with were going to be implemented in a sustainable way so even the ideas of those who did not win would not die off. “We are going to begin to test them and pilot them and push them out so it becomes a standard for society to use to tackle issues of SGBV,’’ she said. Patrick-Ogbogu said that all ideas were solutions that were cost effective and self-sustaining so DRAC planned to sustain it by making sure they become something that every single partner could up take and begin to use . She said that they were cash prices for the first, second and third winners and the idea was to give them funds ,to test their innovations and work with them based on their budget. This,she said, was to look at what they proposed and support them to bring it to the stage where it could be useable in society .
Also, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, James Lalu, who was represented by Lawrence Idemudia, Acting Director, Social Integrity, commended DRAC for the initiative. Lalu said that the commission was happy with what DRAC was doing because it was bringing the challenges of PWDs to the forefront and addressing issues.