Globally, persons (or people) with disabilities are only half as likely to be actively participating in the labour force, and even when participating twice as likely to be unemployed. Barriers to waged employment lead to a higher concentration of people with disabilities in self-employment and in informal employment.
In Nigeria, just like other countries, we know access to skills, access to business finance and access to market opportunities continue to be the major three challenges of people with disabilities who are denied equal representation within the labour market system.
IFA’s comprehensive strategy for fostering inclusive economies through collaboration with the private sector lies on private-sector value chains, aiming to create employment opportunities beyond conventional urban jobs. Recognizing that the private sector is open to greater inclusion but lacks confidence in dealing with disabilities, IFA aims to provide practical support to bridge this gap.
With clear linkage to SDG 8 on decent jobs and UNCRPD article 27 on “work and employment”, our objectives are:
Objective 1: All people with disabilities can equally access different financial services to enable them to start and grow their aspired enterprises and contribute to their local market and national economy.
Objective 2: People with disabilities actively participate within the agriculture value chain through a market system development and are supported to have equal access to skills, business finance, market intelligence and opportunities.
Objective 3: Standardise local production of assistive devices is promoted among people with disabilities and relevant stakeholders to champion the availability, affordability, and applicability of such devices and guarantee independent living.
We will foster ties with the private sector to facilitate market access for self-employed individuals and micro businesses owned by people with disabilities with an emphasis on gender-sensitive and disability-inclusive procurement mechanisms.
Our efforts extend to both waged employment and microbusiness opportunities, with a special focus on those addressing socio-economic and climatic challenges. Skill development aligned with labor market demands is a key aspect, and they collaborate with vocational education institutes to ensure disability-inclusive processes and policies.
Notably, Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) is a central theme, integrated across their initiatives, particularly within value chain interventions. IFA seeks to highlight the contributions of individuals with disabilities to the food system, showcasing their involvement in on-farm and off-farm business activities as this will drive tangible progress towards inclusive economies.