African Youth with Disabilities Network



Contact Person(s) Dr. Victor Pineda
President, World Enabled

Dagnachew Wakene
Research Fellow, World Enabled

Project The African Youth with Disabilities Network
Implementing Partners Pineda Foundation for Youth/World Enabled

Open Society Institute for East Africa (OSIEA)

International Disability Alliance (IDA)

The African Youth with Disabilities Network (AYWDN)

Location Nairobi, Kenya
Date of Project May 23-28, 2011
Primary Objective Form the African Youth with Disabilities Network (AYWDN) and conduct training on monitoring disability rights within the African continent.
Target Population Youth advocates with disabilities, concerned stakeholders (governmental and nongovernmental) at national and regional levels.


Facts: Africa

  • A total of 40 African countries have ratified the UNCRPD thus far.
  • The vast majority of Africans with disabilities are excluded from schools and opportunities to work, virtually guaranteeing that they will live out their lives as the poorest of the poor.
  • School enrollment for the disabled is estimated at no more that 5-10 percent. For many begging becomes a sole means of survival.
  • Every day in Africa, many people are disabled by malnutrition and disease, environmental hazards, natural disasters, traffic and industrial accidents, civil conflict and war.
  • According to Rehabilitation International, it is estimated that 350-500 people worldwide become amputees each day due to landmines that they encounter while walking, farming, or playing.
  • The number of people living with disability in Africa is increasing. Factors that contribute to the growing number include: violence, HIV/AIDS, birth defects, malnutrition, population growth, ageing population, environmental degradation, injuries at home, work and on the roads

The Project

The workshop trainings brought together fifty youth advocates with disabilities recruited from twelve countries, The convening was led by adults with disabilities as well as by young peer leaders. Specific focus was given to the general principles of non-discrimination, dignity, gender equality and allowed the participants to frame additional specific measures from a youth perspective. In peer-led sessions, they worked through the barriers and solutions that could help improve outcomes in education, employment, communication and health for young people with disabilities in each of the participants’ countries.



The “Nairobi African Youth with Disabilities Declaration on Inclusive Participation and Development” was declared.

Participants took ownership of their individual and collective goals.

Twenty-six video profiles (three to five minutes long) of AYWDN members were produced and assembled into a playlist on YouTube. These video profiles form a virtual portfolio of enabled and active youth whose voices and visions increase the visibility and values of the AYDWN.

Participants noted that activities such as video testimony, debating policies, and identifying societal barriers have allowed them to improve their communication skills, gain experience talking on camera, and gain exposure by sharing their stories and having an impact beyond their hometown, city or village.

Lessons Learned

The methodology used was agency enhancing in that it allowed participants to express their individual and collective self-determination by deciding for themselves what issues their network would tackle, rather than having someone else or even circumstance make the decision for them.

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