Disability Access to Productive Resources

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Abstract

This study assesses Disabled People’s access to productive resources. Specifically, the study examines the constraints to people living with disability (PLWD access to productive resources and proposes an effective strategy to address the constraints. One hundred and five respondents that belong to physically challenged associations were interviewed by structured interview schedule. Data analyses were carried out using frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviation and correlation. Results of the study show that more males were found in this category compared to females, and they were of productive age. The majority were illiterate. All the PLWD claimed that access to productive resources was of necessity for sustainable livelihood but in the real sense it has turned to ordinary dream. Most of the PLWD claimed that the productive resources such as education and information, training, appropriate technology, and social welfare were not provided and those one provided were inadequate. A positive and significant correlation exists between PWD access to productive resources and socio-economic characteristics such as education and income, at p ≤ 0.05. In conclusion, there is a need to create an enabling environment through the provision of adequate productive resources in order to make life meaningful for PLWD.

Keywords: Accessibility; Appropriate technology; Dream; Physically challenge people; Productive resources; Reality

1 Introduction

“Can you imagine that you're getting up in the morning with severe pain that prevent you from even moving out from your bed? Can you imagine yourself having a pain which requires you to get assistance to do even the very simple day to day activities? Can you imagine yourself being fired from your job because you are unable to perform simple job requirements? Can you imagine your little child crying for a hug and you are unable to hug him due to the pain in your bones and joints?”(World Report on Disability, 2011). This is the scenario in which physically challenged people are experiencing.

According to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, disability is used to describe the condition whereby physical and social barriers prevent a person with impairment from taking part in the normal life of the community on an equal foothold with others (Article 1). Mohammed (2017) was of opinion that disability is not just a mere health dilemma. It is a diverse experience that affects the person’s body and his or her capability to function equally in the society in which he or she belongs. Disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional and developmental or some combination of these and may be present from birth or occur during a person’s life

A disable person is someone who has a physical or mental disability which has an effect on his or her ability to carry out regular day-to-day activities. The disable are those persons who are ‘unable’, ‘unfit’, ‘cripple’ or incapacitated as a result of hereditary defects, environmental pressure, accidents and diseases. Thus, a physically challenged person can be regarded as any person who is incapable to obtain for him fully or partially the normal requirements of an individual and is unable to participate fully in the community activity due to limitations either physically or mentally ((Mohammed,2017). Physically challenged persons can also be described as those certified by a specialist in any field of therapy as having one or more disabilities which might be total blindness, partial blindness, emotional disorder, deafness, partial hearing, physical handicap, speech defects, learning disability, social maladjustment, exceptional giftedness and mental retardation (Deloitte Access Economics, 2011).

Accurate statistics are not available in most countries in respect of Persons with disabilities According to the United Nations Enable, (UN)(2008), there are approximately 650 million people with disabilities in the world, and at least 80 percent of them live in developing countries. The figures have amplified to almost a billion in 2011. World Health Organisation(WHO),( 2011) reported that more than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability, of whom nearly 200 million experience considerable difficulties in functioning. The Nigerian National Assembly in 2013 estimated that there are over 20 million people existing with disability in the country. UN also reported that out of every 10 persons with disability in the country, 9 live below the poverty level.

Notwithstanding the principle proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations that recognizes the inbuilt dignity, worth and the equal and absolute rights of all members of the human family as the basis of freedom, justice and peace in the world, it is regrettable that a segment of the Nigerian society still live on the fringes as a result of disability

The quality of life experienced by the majority of handicapped people in contemporary society is considerably lower than that enjoyed by their able-bodied contemporaries. At the societal level we can find instances of stigmatization and rejection of physically challenged people despite Chapter IV of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that stated clearly fundamental human rights (Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999). Many people with disabilities do not have equal access to health care, education, and employment opportunities and disability-related services that they require (NILS, 2010). Poverty is a invasive problem in Nigeria. Several reports indicate that the problem has been persistent despite economic growth in the country. Persons with disabilities in rural areas represent the poorest of the poor (Ogunjimi and Ajala,2016). The statistics indicates that unemployment for working age disabled people in developing and developed countries is between 80-90% and 50-70%, respectively (Naami et al. 2012). They are often excluded from active participation within their community. This general neglect causes these people to be often not included national development and their specific needs ignored in agricultural development programmes and policies. Disability is also an important development issue with an increasing body of facts showing that persons with disabilities experience worse socioeconomic outcomes and poverty than persons without disabilities

 People living with disabilities face many impediments every day from physical obstacles in buildings to systemic barriers in employment and community programmes. Yet, often, the most difficult barriers to overcome are attitudes other people carry regarding people with disabilities. Whether born from ignorance, fear, misunderstanding or hate, these attitudes keep people from appreciating–and experiencing–the full potential a person with a disability can achieve

The UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities that came into force in 2008 marks a paradigm shift in how disability is viewed from people with disabilities as objects of charity or medical intervention, to people with rights and control over their own lives, decisions and futures.

Disability could be prevented through measures taken against malnutrition, environmental pollution, poor hygiene, inadequate prenatal and postnatal care, water-borne diseases and accidents of all types. The international community could make a major breakthrough against disabilities caused by poliomyelitis, tetanus, whooping-cough and diphtheria, and to a lesser extent tuberculosis, through a world-wide expansion of programmes of immunization (United Nation,2008)

Agricultural sector has been the mainstream of national development in which disabled people can be involved in large scale, if given the opportunities. Disability need not be an obstacle to success. The World Food Summit organized by FAO in 1996 acknowledged the fundamental contribution to food security by disabled farmers, noting that a large proportion of the disabled people were farmers with responsibility for the food security of their households (FAO, 2006). Efforts are been made by international organizations and developed countries especially European Union to include physically challenged people in agricultural development programme. The European Union recently adopted disability as a cross cutting issue, giving opportunities to include people with disabilities in regular food security programmes. Numerous successful projects have shown that people with disabilities are able to participate in meaningful agricultural activities. Some go as far as crucial that people with disabilities are the world’s untapped resource and that their inclusion is of paramount importance for global food security (Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition, 2010). In Nigeria Disable people access to productive resources such as ownership of land, livestock or other agricultural resources; management of agricultural resources; use of financial service, social service health service; access to education, and adaptive technology has not been paid adequate attention to despite the fact that physically challenged people are the world’s untapped resource and that their inclusion is of paramount importance for global food security. Therefore the study assessed People with disability accessibility to productive resources in Nigeria and its effects on their livelihood coping strategies. The specific objectives of the study include the study examine PLWD assess to productive resources, constraints to PLWD access to productive resources and propose effective policy for seeking redress on behalf of PLWD

1.2 Theoretical Framework

This paper explores combination of two theories namely, the Bio-medical Model of diseases, illness and disability and social model. The model outlines the official definition of health and disease adopted by states and international authorities, including the World Health Organization. At the present time, health has been defined as a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being; or the capacity to function optimally in the individual's environment; or an adaptation to the environment.(Minaire, 1992) The major limitations of this theory are that little consideration is usually given to the victim in this concept, much more being given to the disease itself and its failure to address the social aspects of disability (Parsons, 1951). However, the model is relevant in alleviating or reducing the suffering of disabled people through the provision of training, rehabilitation, technical aids, medical interventions and professional support all of which serves as ways of promoting empowerment and self reliance. The Social Model emphasizes the social and environmental context of disability. This model is concerned with liberating and empowering the disabled persons and the positive contribution that they can make in removing the barriers to their participation. The model also emphasizes the role of government and civil society in removing the obstacles faced by citizens with disabilities in becoming active participants in the various communities in which they live and learn to work.

2 Materials and Methods

The study was carried out in four out of six states of South-western Nigeria. These are, Oyo Ekiti, Ondo and Osun States. The states were selected in view of the fact that most of these PCP have associations where they can be easily reached and intervention programme can be extended to them. Ten percent of the local Governments (LGAs) in each of state were selected. In all, 10 LGAs were used. Thirty PCP (physically impaired, visually impaired and hearing impaired) were selected from the lists of members collected from their associations in each LGA, to give a total of 300. Structured interview was used to collect relevant quantitative data. Descriptive statistics such as percentages, mean and standard deviation were used describe and summarize the data. In order to assess disabled people access to productive resources, statements of opinion were measured through the use of scale such as highly accessible, really accessible and not accessible. To determine attitude of society towards PLWD statements of opinion were measured through the use of likert scale such as strongly agreed, agreed, undecided, disagreed and strongly disagreed. Mean± standard deviation was used to categorize statements to favourable, neutral and unfavourable. Participant’s observation and key informant interview were also used to collect information from PLWD

3 Results and Discussion

3.1Socio-economic characteristics

 Majority (77.9%) of the PCP were less than 60 years old. This indicates that majority of the disabled people in the study areas were still in their productive age in which they could still be productive and contribute meaningfully to the socio- economic well-being of the society. This is in line with Ogunjimi et al. (2012) findings that majority of farmers in Southwestern Nigeria were in their productive age. Moreover, majority (63.6%) were male, while 39.0 percent were female. This finding corroborated the World Bank finding that males at all ages have higher levels of disability. The findings were expected because of involvement of men in rigorous labour activities. Moreso, farming activities required time and energy which women may not be able to cope with. However, contrary to expectation that majority of the disabled people ought to have married, less than average (40.7%) were married while 61.9% were either single, divorced or widowed. This might be as a result of discrimination against PCP where people without disabilities might not be willing to marry them because of their disabilities.

Major source of information was other rural dwellers (64.2%). Majority were living below the poverty level because above average (52.1%) realized less than 100,000 Naira (227.8 USD) annually. The finding is in line with the study carried out in India and Uganda as reported by Emmel (2012). The report showed that in India, households with people who have disabilities are worse off than the average household. Similarly, research revealed that in Uganda, households headed by an individual with a disability are 38 percent more likely to be poor than households headed by a person without a disability due to low level of income.

3.2 Accessibility to Social services

3.2.1 Access to Education

Persons living with disabilities have a right to education. The child’s right to education is enshrined in human right treaties, in articles 28 and 29 of United Nation declaration. In these treaties it is required that the provision of primary education should be compulsory, available and free to all children and secondary education should also be made available and accessible to every child, with the provision of financial support when needed. Majority (74.4%) of the disabled people either had no education or stop at primary Most of them that attended school at primary school level later dropped out before the end of primary six. This might be as a result of inadequate provision of schools for disabled people and where available, there were a lot of rigours in getting to schools due to constraints such as inadequate transportation and trained personnel.

The worse aspect of it is that the disabled children experience inaccessibility of class rooms, toilets he/she can use and able school children negative attitude towards disabled people. The disabled child becomes isolated in school. Little by little school life becomes an unhappy experience. The child becomes a school dropout at a very early stage of their life. Lack of proper education makes it difficult for the person with disability when grown up to find employment or to engage in some form of income generating activity. This finding also corroborated the submission of Beresford (1996) that the unemployment of disabled people is due to lack of education and training. Ajuwon (2011) pointed out that hundreds of certified special educators have been trained in Nigerian tertiary institutions since 1974 till today; however, some of these front line workers have not been assigned to schools and agencies where their expertise can be harnessed.

Figure 1: Accessibility to Education

3.2.2 Employment

Figure 2 showed that 60.1% were not able to secure job and 31.4% were self employed in which income realised is unsustainable. Few 8.5% were employed by either public or private organisations. Persons with disabilities find it extremely difficult to secure employment in rural as well as urban areas. Reasons mentioned include lack of education, vocational training and competition in the labour market. Employers prefer not to employ persons with disabilities thinking that they are less productive. Employers are unaware of the ability of persons with disabilities. Cyril (1997) said that whenever people meet a person with a disability they never see his/her abilities but only see the person’s disability. They think of helping him/her by giving something but that does not do anything to help him to use his abilities

Figure 1: Accessibility to Employment

3.2.3Access to Health

The results also show that majority 92.1% of the PLWD in Nigeria have inadequate access to primary health delivery which might as a result of the fact that most of them are usually extremely poor people who often live in rural and other areas where medical and other services are scarce, or even totally absent, and where disabilities are not detected in time. WHO, (2012) claimed that when disable people receive medical attention, if at all; the impairment may have become permanent. It is very common in Nigeria to see disable persons on the streets holding prescription cards asking for money to purchase medicine and clear up medical bill.

The attitude of some health workers towards the disable persons who managed to access the general and other health centres is sometimes negative. A study in Calabar by Ogunjimi (2007) shown that 56.33% have unfavourable attitude towards the handicapped persons, 63.2% are of the opinion that health of the handicapped persons is not as important as that of the normal persons, 57.74% indicated that handicapped persons are only good enough for drug trial testing and experimentation of new medical inventions and 57.36% would prefer separate hospitals for the handicapped persons.

In country like Nigeria, there are inadequate special services to persons with disabilities like Physiotherapy units in these hospitals.

3.2.4 Accessibility to Transport

Transport is another factor hampering employment of persons with disabilities in Nigeria. Public transport services are inadequate and they are not well equipped to carry PLWD especially those on wheelchairs. Transport services that available in rural areas are very poor when compared to the urban areas. There are villages with bad roads while some villages are without any roads at all.As a result disabled people are forced to spend much part of their income on transportation, thus forcing them to be isolated and live within the margin of poverty. Other associated problems as mentioned by PLWD include inadequate wheel-chair, accessible pedestrian bridge; the presence of steps/stairs without complementary ramp; rough, unpaved, and uneven floor surfaces; uncovered drainages; absence of lift in high rise buildings and absence of side walk. Participant at one of the interview conducted in Ife., Nigeria expressed her displeasure with able people attitude to PLWD

I used to sell roasted Corn but the major problem is attitude of people to PCP in the market and Sometimes drivers are not considerate since there is not special treatment for PCP on transportation system” (PCP).

3.2.5 Accessibility to Rehabilitation facilities

Rehabilitation means a goal-oriented and time-limited process aimed at enabling an impaired person to reach the best possible mental, physical and/or social functional level, thus providing her or him with the tools to change her or his own life. Rehabilitation usually includes the following types of services: early discovery, diagnosis and intervention; Medical care and treatment; social, psychological and other types of counselling and assistance; Training in self-care activities which includes mobility, communication and daily living skills, with special provisions as needed, e g., for the hearing impaired, the visually impaired and the mentally retarded; Provision of technical and mobility aids and other devices; specialized education services; vocational rehabilitation services (including vocational guidance), vocational training and placement in open or sheltered employment (Department of Economics and Social Affairs, Division for Inclusive Development United Nations, 1982). The rehabilitation facilities available to persons with a disability residing in rural areas are inadequate or atimes not available.

Testing of Hypotheses

The correlation results show that there exists a positive and significant relationship between peoples’ living with disability accessibility to productive resources and their socio-economic characteristics such as year of schooling(r=326), income(r=3.10) while age (r-=0.024)) was not significantly correlated. The implication of the finding is that higher the year of schooling and income the higher the PLWD accessibility to productive resources.

Table 8. Correlation analysis between peoples’ living with disability accessibility to productive resources and socio-economic characteristics variables

Variables

Correlation

Co-efficient of determination

Year of schooling

0.326

0.106

income

3.10

0.096

Age

0.024

0.001

Conclusion and Recommendations

Inequality in distribution of productive resources in Nigeria has adverse effect on sustainable livelihood of PLWD, in spite of fact that the rights of citizen including PLWD has been entrenched in Nigeria constitution Furthermore, United Nations treaties and other regional organizations, and various governments have formulated and enacted laws aimed at ensuring the rights of disabled people throughout the world, this has not been adequately materialized in Nigeria for a number reasons such as lack of politically and economically will . Reasons given by Government most of the time includes lack of money to supply the needed facilities and equipment This are not convincing and have no basis in a country like Nigeria which is gifted with abundant natural and human resources. Despite the fact that functional facilities for the health care of disable persons, their education, transportation, training and empowerment and productive resources are inadequate, facilities put in place are not easily accessible to most of them. Accessibility to productive resources has become dream not reality. PLWDs are to a large extent discriminated against, segregated and marginalized. What is evident is that there is no political will and commitment on the part of the government to ensure, protect and promote the interest of people living with disability in Nigeria. Government and Non-Governmental Organisations should act positively on the Nigerian Disability Bill that has just been passed to law in Nigeria.

This paper recommends that:

1. The Nigerian president should as a matter of urgency implement the disability law that addressed the protection of disable persons against all forms of discriminations in education, transportation, health and other welfare matters.

2. The government should engage in a wide and rigorous public enlightenment campaign against the discrimination of disable people in the Nigerian society.

3. The Federal government should introduce Disability Tax Fund (DTF) which should be used for the provision of social security and welfare of disabled persons

4 United Nations should see to the implementation of treaties signed by all nations that signed the treaties.

 

5 References

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