By Skills

Young Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), especially in the grassroots, have been left behind regarding their sexual reproductive health and rights which has resulted in a lot of issues arising like teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and diseases which in turn greatly affects their career development.

This in turn has greatly contributed to high poverty and illiteracy rates among PwDs in Uganda hence a decline in the country’s economy and GDP.

In Uganda, 12.4% of the population lives with some form of disability (Uganda National Population Census, 2014) and these people have the same sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs as other people and experience the ramifications of SRHR issues more as they are exacerbated by disabilities yet they often face challenges in accessing requisite information and services. 

On 29th October 2020, together with Light For The World, we successfully held a dialogue under the theme, “Sexual Reproductive Health and Career Development.”  The conversation focused on discussing the challenges that young people with disabilities encounter when accessing Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services and information, highlighting the different issues faced in the workplace, building their capacity in terms of career development, and lastly understanding the interlinkage and the need for sexual reproductive health for career growth and development. 

Access to clear, accurate, and inclusive sexual reproductive health and rights information and education support the capacity of young people with disabilities towards their career development. It also serves as a critical stepping stone for accelerating socio-economic growth and progress. Yet, there are major barriers and challenges that must be addressed.

“Disability should not affect one’s career growth. Sexual reproductive health information dissemination and peer education need to be entirely inclusive of persons with different disabilities so that they are not left out.” Honorable Hellen Grace Asamo

People with disabilities are like other employees; they want to do a good job, appreciate constructive supervision, enjoy new challenges and want to get ahead. Businesses that successfully recruit and retain qualified employees maintain a competitive edge in the global marketplace. One way for employers to retain employees is to establish career development plans for all employees, including those with disabilities. Typical programs include goal setting, team building, networking, mentoring, performance evaluations, leadership opportunities, supervisory and management development, and professional skills training.

The day’s moderator Mwambu Musa highlighted the need for young people with disabilities to get an everlasting opportunity for employment as opposed to handouts that deter their growth. He added that all programs designed should be inclusive of people with disabilities.

Humphrey Nabimanya the Founder and Team Leader at Reach A Hand emphasized the need for one voice, a unified platform, and opportunities for all young people especially young persons with disabilities. “With partners like Light For The World, we aim to highlight issues faced by young people with disabilities. We give them a platform to speak to issues and challenges so that they’re tackled.” He said 

Conclusively, more research needs to be done on the SRHR of persons with disabilities. It has been overlooked and this in turn greatly affects their career development.

This content was originally published here.

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