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Empowering Voices: Umunthu FM Connects Women and Girls with Disabilities and Duty Bearers

Umunthu FM, as part of its “Quality Menstrual Health for Women and Girls with Disabilities project” being implemented with an opportunity grant from Amplify Change, organized an interface meeting in Kasungu. The meeting served as a platform for peer motivators, comprising of women and girls with disabilities, to engage duty bearers on issues affecting them.

The objective of the interface meeting was to facilitate dialogue between peer motivators and duty bearers, including the Council Chairperson, the district’s special needs education coordinator, the Social Welfare officer and health personnel.

Discussions during the meeting revolved around the challenges encountered by women and girls with disabilities, particularly in the areas of health, education, and social inclusion. Key topics included promoting menstrual hygiene among this demographic, addressing exclusion in social and political spheres, and enhancing access to education and healthcare services.

In the education sector, peer motivators highlighted the inadequate sanitation infrastructure in some schools, such as the absence of changing rooms, which hampers provision of quality menstrual hygiene management for individuals with disabilities besides the absence of disability friendly infrastructures which makes attainment of education challenging.

part of the audience during the interface meeting

Furthermore, they also pointed out the need to equip teachers with inclusive teaching skills to cater learners with disabilities effectively.

Regarding healthcare services, women with disabilities expressed concern with lack of accessible information, particularly for those with visual impairments. They urged health authorities to improve communication methods to ensure equitable access to essential services.

They therefore demand the health sector to set deliberate policies to easily accommodate people with disabilities when they seek medical attention.

On social and economic inclusion, participants lamented the barriers they face in accessing financial resources, hindering their ability to improve their livelihoods and contribute to national development.

Duty bearers present at the meeting acknowledged the existing challenges and committed to take action to address the issues. They pledged to work towards improving infrastructure in schools and healthcare facilities, enhancing training for educators, and promoting inclusive policies that facilitate the socio-economic empowerment of women and girls with disabilities as well strengthening by laws that protect people with disabilities.

The interface meeting brought together 20 peer motivators from various areas, including Kaomba, Lukwa, Mwase, Wimbe, and Chilowamatambe, where Umunthu FM is implementing its project with support from Amplify Change.

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