The team Nigeria, a group of two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Treasureland Health Builders Initiative and Disability Policy & Advocacy Initiative (DPAI) recently hosted its American counterpart in a partnership project facilitated by the Mobility International based in the United States of America (MIUSA), aimed at improving the lives of the People Living With Disabilities (PWD’s) in the country.
The objectives of the Empower Partnerships project includes to remove barriers to community opportunities and resources, support the ability of individuals and organizations to serve as leading disability advocates and promote policies and programs benefiting people with disabilities.
It also aimed at promoting civil society by enabling individuals and organizations working with people with disabilities to share best practices and facilitate cross-sector cooperation through two-way professional exchanges; ensure that people with diverse disabilities and their families and communities benefit from the transformational power of international exchanges as well as to build or expand sustainable networks of individuals and organizations serving people with disabilities.
The programme consists of a two-way international exchange programme for organizations working on or interested in working on disability-related issues and inclusion as articulated in the Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability (CRPD). International (non-US) applicants will apply for the exchange as a two-organization partnership team and, if selected, will be matched with a U.S. partner organization. Each non-US partnership team will send two representatives to a professional exchange programme in the US hosted by MIUSA in Eugene, Oregon, and by its US partner organization in another US city.
The US and non-US partner representatives will conclude the US exchange at the Empower Partnerships Forum in Washington, DC. In turn, non-US partner teams will host a representative of its US partner organization in a professional exchange in their country.
Suzanne Hurwitz, the Programme Coordinator of the Initiative for Women with Disabilities (IWD) in the exchange in her own words stated “It was an incredible experience to visit Lagos and learn about Nigerian perspectives on disability. I found Lagos to be full of kind, hardworking and determined people. During the week long visit I had the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders to discuss our project and was very impressed with the willingness of organizations to make changes to increase services to people with disabilities. Part of our mission is to help shift health care professionals attitudes towards the Social Model of disability and also help individuals with disabilities develop self-advocacy skills. I very much enjoyed sharing best practices and learning about the Nigerian culture”, Hurwitz declared’.
Out of the 20 organizations selected by MIUSA to form teams, Treasureland Health Builders Initiative and Disability Policy & Advocacy Initiative (DPAI) were paired with the Initiative for Women with Disabilities to participate in the Empower partnerships Program.
The first phase of the partnership is to accomplish the Professional Exchange visits, first with representative of U.S partner (Initiative for Women with Disabilities) visiting its partners (Treasureland & DPAI) in Nigeria and secondly, representatives of In-Country Partners Team Nigeria visiting U.S partners.