Every year, on 3 December, we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year, we asked UN Volunteers to share what an inclusive future meant to them and what can we do to achieve a better future. Two such volunteers in West and Central Africa share their thoughts about an inclusive, accessible and sustainable future.
A world full of fairness, agility and justice
Jean-Rufin Doguela Gbogola is a national UN Volunteer Monitoring and Reporting Assistant with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in the Central African Republic.
My assignment is focused on monitoring and reporting a joint youth project, which aims to promote the socioeconomic resilience of young people in the country, by creating emergency jobs and entrepreneurship training.
I guarantee and promote an effective and quality intervention and report the project’s achievements. Along with that, I ensure that vulnerable populations with disabilities are taken into account in the beneficiary identification process.
I meet and communicate with persons with disabilities on a regular basis. From this, I have realized that persons with disabilities still face many challenges, even though we are trying our best to support them. Despite the existing documents and laws, the conditions of people with disabilities in my country remain worrying. This does not just affect beneficiaries of the UNV programme that I am monitoring and reporting, but also has a big impact on me, as I also have a disability.
For me, an inclusive future means a world full of fairness, agility and justice. Everyone should remember that disability is just a situation that can happen to everyone and should not result in us being exposed to marginalization. --Jean-Rufin Doguela Gbogola, UN Volunteer Monitoring and Reporting Assistant with UNDP
In fact, there are many ways that we can practically support persons with disabilities. We can develop laws, policies and strategies to address the needs of persons with disabilities, and we can focus on implementation. Another solution would be finding sustainable ways to help them in the long-run. For instance, building learning centres and schools or creating special jobs for persons with disabilities can ensure a more inclusive, accessible and sustainable future.
A future where everyone is heard
Guillaume Pyot, a UN Volunteer with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is working to create a better future in Senegal. His assignment is fully funded by France.
As a Human Rights specialist, I work on different assignments related to gender issues or protecting vulnerable groups, such as LGBT+ and people living with disabilities. I am particularly interested in protecting their economic, cultural and social rights.
In my opinion, the right to work is especially important for people suffering from disabilities as this is the key to achieving a more inclusive and brighter future. They should be taken into account in every aspect of society, and I believe that this will eventually benefit the whole society.
An inclusive future for me is a future without discrimination. The future I dream of is one where everyone can be heard regardless of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability. -- Guillaume Pyot, UN Volunteer
In order to build a more inclusive and accessible future, I think we should all recognize the differences between people. That is, when you come across people with disabilities, rather than pretending there is no difference, acknowledge that we are all different. This little change can help everyone bring their own experiences and expertise to the table.
Lastly, for those with disabilities, I know that some choose not to get involved, as they often have an impression they are not being heard. However, please don’t give up. Do share your voice. Your participation will help people change the future in the right direction.