Nnene Bassey is the cluster head of persons with albinism in Joint National Association for Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Akwa Ibom State chapter and the President Advocacy for Persons with Albinism Network (APAN). She has championed many programmes and activities promoting the awareness and rights of the albinism cluster and has represented albinism in Nigeria in various fora.
Writing on behalf of the Albinism Cluster's South South geopolitical zone, I believe the RSH and JONAPWD's research dissemination so far has been historic. It is the first of its kind in Nigeria's history. The atmosphere was delightful and friendly, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the meeting organisers, who did an outstanding job.
In the post-COVID-19 period, the research was quite timely. Persons with disabilities must be protected since they are highly vulnerable to sexual harassment, gender violence, hate crimes, and other forms of abuse. To our members, the phrase safeguarding refers to the models, norms, and orders that have been set aside and implemented for inclusion - acceptably similar space adaptable for people with disabilities in my zone and beyond.
The research has identified the need for organisations of persons with disabilities to comprehend and begin implementing existing policies and facilitate/encourage current healthy practices for our well-being. It also helps understand the barriers that vary depending on our various disabilities to create a conducive environment for us to thrive.
As a result, I urge that the following peculiar needs of people with albinism be taken into account as the research progresses: such as providing magnifying glasses that would help them view projector images considering their sight and UV ray sensitivity conditions.
In addition, participants should be provided soft copies of the presentation through email so that they can reflect on it after the meeting and utilise it for capacity building.
Finally, the following should also be considered:
- Ensure direct representation in all issues affecting persons with albinism (PWA) for there's nothing about us without us.
- Train PWA on advocacy to strengthen social cohesion and respect for disability diversities.
- Intensify advocacy at the community/grassroots level and mobilization of PWA.
- Empowerment of PWA on skills acquisition.