In February this year, Her Excellency President Joyce Banda, of the Republic of Malawi in partnership with Special Olympics hosted the first ever African Leaders Forum on Disability; firmly placing the plight of individuals with disabilities, namely intellectual and developmental disabilities on the global development agenda. In attendance were representatives from Ministerial office from 12 African nations, namely; Namibia, Uganda, Seychelles, Mauritius, Togo, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa.
The forum also included strong delegations from UNICEF, UNAIDS, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, USAID, Lions Club International, Catholic Relief Services, The African Development Bank and many more. This was indeed a call to humanity to help build a fair and just society, which includes all its citizens not because of their physical or mental conditions but on the basis of the content of their ability and to be able to access all benefits.
At the close of the African Leaders Forum on Disability two key strategic initiatives were launched by Her Excellency President Joyce Banda, firstly to lead development goal setting for the disability population, and secondly, the formation of the African Leaders Alliance on Intellectual Disability. The Alliance will create a formal body consisting of other Heads of States/Government that will make official recommendations to the African Union on ways to help improve the lives of people with an Intellectual Disability.
About Mr Peter Mazunda : Special Olympics Malawi National Director