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Disability inclusion: Access Holdings, NBDN Advocate for More Inclusiveness

Disability inclusion: Access Holdings, NBDN Advocate for More Inclusiveness

The Nigeria Business and Disability Network (NBDN), in collaboration with Access Holdings and various stakeholders from the private, public, and civil society sectors, has intensified efforts to foster a more inclusive society for people with disabilities (PWDs).

During the second edition of its Nigeria Diversity and Inclusion conference, held on Wednesday in Lagos and hosted by Access Holdings, NBDN announced the upcoming launch of a groundbreaking app designed to connect PWDs with job opportunities that match their qualifications.

As Nigeria continues to advance in various sectors, the push for disability inclusion remains critical. The efforts of NBDN and its partners are paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable society. The upcoming launch of the job connection app represents a significant milestone in this journey, offering hope and opportunities for PWDs across the country.

The Nigeria Diversity and Inclusion Conference, through the collective efforts of NBDN and its stakeholders, has reinforced the importance of disability inclusion in achieving corporate sustainability and economic growth. As businesses and organisations embrace this inclusive approach, they not only enhance their operational effectiveness but also contribute to the broader goal of a more inclusive and just society for all.

Addressing the gathering, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Chair of NBDN, emphasised the growing demand for corporate entities to integrate people with disabilities (PWDs) into roles that match their qualifications. With estimates from the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities indicating over 30 million PWDs in Nigeria, marginalised due to various factors such as gender, poverty, and age, Victor-Laniyan stressed the urgency for equal access to opportunities across all sectors. Integrating disability into Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) frameworks, she noted, not only enhances company value and shareholder returns but also mitigates workplace inequality.

The conference served as a pivotal platform for discussions on enhancing disability confidence among employers, fostering inclusive practices, and promoting job readiness for PWDs in the workplace. By bringing together key players from different sectors, NBDN highlighted the collective responsibility and benefit of disability inclusion in Nigeria.

One of the most significant announcements at the conference was the introduction of NBDN’s new app, set to revolutionise employment opportunities for PWDs. This innovative tool aims to bridge the gap between qualified PWDs and potential employers, ensuring that talent is matched with appropriate job roles. The app is expected to streamline the hiring process, making it easier for employers to find and recruit capable PWDs, thus enhancing workplace diversity and inclusivity.

Under the theme “Disability Inclusion in Corporate Sustainability,” the event underscored the economic advantages of integrating disability inclusion into business practices. By embracing a diverse workforce that includes PWDs, businesses can tap into a broader talent pool, foster innovation, and enhance their corporate reputation. Moreover, disability inclusion is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage in today’s competitive market.

The conference highlighted that sustainable business practices are incomplete without disability inclusion. By incorporating PWDs into the workforce, companies can drive economic growth and societal progress. Inclusive businesses are better equipped to meet the needs of diverse customer bases and contribute to a more equitable economy.

Employers play a crucial role in advancing disability inclusion. By adopting inclusive hiring practices, providing necessary accommodations, and fostering an inclusive workplace culture, employers can make significant strides in supporting PWDs. The conference provided a platform for sharing best practices, success stories, and strategies to overcome challenges in disability inclusion.

Highlighting the upcoming app’s significance, Victor-Laniyan explained its purpose to address job issues among disabilities by connecting employers with qualified individuals. Toyin Aderemi, Senior Global Advisor at Save the Children International, underscored the stark reality of double unemployment rates among PWDs, exacerbated for women with disabilities. Aderemi emphasised the pivotal role of the private sector in providing substantial employment opportunities, particularly in formal sectors where underemployment and misemployment are prevalent.

Asserting the responsibility of companies in promoting disability employment, Aderemi stressed the influential role of international corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in shaping labor practices. She highlighted the significance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies in fostering inclusive workplaces and complementing public initiatives.

Joy Shuaibu, country director of Sightsavers Nigeria, affirmed the business benefits of diversity and inclusion, noting how every member of the Nigeria Business and Disability Network contributes to sustainability, profit margins, and innovation through mainstreaming diversity. Chinyere Emeka-Anuna, Senior Programme Officer at ILO Nigeria, emphasized the imperative of workplace inclusion for PWDs, highlighting their equal rights to economic empowerment and decent work. Emeka-Anuna emphasized the research-backed advantages for companies promoting disability inclusion, citing access to diverse talent pools and enhanced capacity for innovation through varied problem-solving approaches.

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