European Union delegation to Nigeria support access to social services for persons with albinism in Nigeria
EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION TO NIGERIA SUPPORT ACCESS TO SOCIAL SERVICES FOR PERSONS WITH ALBINISM IN NIGERIA
The Albino Foundation with funding from European Union is embarking on a project “Access to Social Services for persons with albinism (PWAs) in Nigeria”. The aim of the project is to ensure the inclusion of albinism in national, state and community-level development interventions in Nigeria. With the general perception of the society and members of the public about albinism, this project will bridge the gap on how society sees albinism and PWAs by ensuring inclusive participation by PWAs at all levels of governments, especially at the community level where stigma, discrimination, rejection and sometimes brutal killings do occur. This will further build the confidence of PWAs who have been denied access to social services to participate especially in community level activities.
The project will involve:
A pilot baseline survey which presents aggregated data on PWAs. The baseline survey will provide data and information that will be important in engaging with and advocating for the review of the National Policy on Albinism, the National Agency for Albinism and Hypo-Pigmentation Bill, designing an awareness raising strategy for the public and providing statistics and scenarios to the government and private sector on the gaps in protection, socio-political and other mechanisms for PWAs. The baseline will equally help during the end of project evaluation to ascertain if the project has actually achieved its intended results/outputs.
Improve access to health services: This project will ensure adequate provision of preventive health measures especially low vision and skin cancer by educating PWAs through the media and various fora, such as the TAF-supported PWAs state chapters’ monthly meetings. Also, the project will provide the necessary avenue where there will be an engagement with all the teaching hospitals across the country for them to make their facilities available for PWAs affected with skin cancer for free. The project will also look into the local manufacture of sun screen lotion using locally sourced materials, thereby ensuring regular availability and reduced costs.
Improve access to inclusive educational services: Children and young persons with albinism suffer untold hardship in accessing qualitative education. Most children with albinism shy away from school due to peer and teachers’ attitudes to them. As a result, most children drop out of school. The project will therefore sensitise schools, (i.e. students, teachers and the school authorities) on how to ensure the teaching and learning of children and young persons with albinism in primary and secondary schools. The project will also print an albinism education booklet that will guide teachers on how to ensure enrolment, retention and transition of children and young persons with albinism in schools. In addition, a media sensitisation programme that will further sensitise and educate the members of the public on albinism will be designed. When there is an improved access to inclusive educational services for children and young persons with albinism, there will also be a much better chance for them to succeed in the society and become self-reliant.
Media sensitisation: The project will increase PWAs and public awareness on the situation of PWAs. Ignorance and lack of adequate knowledge on the part of PWAs – especially about their rights – and members of the public are the major factors that fuel stigmatisation and discrimination. When the society is adequately informed and sensitised, there will be change in knowledge, attitudes and practices of the general public towards PWAs and promote inclusion. This will equally increase and improve government and private sector support for PWAs.
socio-economically empowered: Due to health considerations, stigmatization and discrimination against PWAs starting from infanthood through to school life, most PWAs do not have the requisite educational or vocational capacities to seek employment or set-up businesses. As a result, many PWAs are not economically empowered and therefore are living in abject poverty. The absence of or diminished economic power is also linked to diminished social access and empowerment. Addressing these shortcomings will require innovative private and public-sector partnerships on provision of economically empowering opportunities for PWAs, including provision of seed grants and products to start businesses.