Persons with disabilities receive assistance
More than 400 people with disabilities and their families in Savai’i have received much-needed supplies from the United Nations Development Programme’s (U.N.D.P.) COVID-19 assistance programme.
In a statement, the U.N.D.P. said its assistance has reached about 450 people in Savai’i.
The support is part of the organisation’s COVID-19 assistance to the Nuanua o le Alofa Incorporated organisation (N.O.L.A.).
The U.N.D.P. has given N.O.L.A. more than $90,000 worth of assistance as part of its COVID-19 response, to help continue the vital work it does in the disability community.
The funding provided one-off social protection assistance to people with a disability in Savai’i, through food, hygiene products, and COVID-19 information, education and communication materials.
Representatives from N.O.L.A. spent the past three weeks in Savai’i. They identified the island as having the highest number of vulnerable people with a disability.
According to the Samoa Bureau of Statistics’ 2018 Disability Monograph, Savaii has the largest prevalence of disability, at 3 per cent, compared to the Apia Urban Area with 1.5 per cent prevalence, and the rest of Upolu 2 two per cent.
The General Manager of N.O.L.A., Mata’afa Fa’atino Utumapu, said that they are grateful for U.N.D.P.’s support of N.O.L.A. in coordinating an inclusive and accessible COVID-19 response for persons with disabilities.
“As the national advocacy organisation for persons with disabilities, we work to realize our mandate of nothing about us without us in all aspects of our work, and the COVID-19 response is no different.
“This project allowed us to conduct family-level awareness throughout Savaii, ensuring that we were able to address the specific accessibility needs of those we sought to support,” Mata’afa said.
The funding support also assists N.O.L.A.’s national–level production and distribution of inclusive and accessible risk communication for preparedness and prevention of COVID-19.
The disability–specific information is developed and translated into accessible formats such as braille, large print and sign language, and distributed to persons with disabilities throughout the country.
Furthermore, the project supports the provision of sign language interpreters at national broadcasts related to COVID-19.
This support is part of U.N.D.P.’s contribution to the One United Nations-coordinated support to the Government of Samoa in response to COVID-19.
The U.N.D.P. Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen said that given the high number of people with a disability in Samoa, it is crucial to undertake an inclusive approach to empower people and communities to make informed decisions both in prevention and responsive care for their health.
“Governments, service providers and the community need to prioritize accessible and inclusive communication strategies so that information can be accessed by all, especially those living with disabilities who will be more adversely isolated due to S.O.E. protocols,” Mr. Sorensen said.
The U.N.D.P. is collaborating with N.O.L.A. in its capacity as the national disability advocacy organisation for Samoa. It works with approximately 700 people with the disability throughout Samoa. Its partner organisations include the Deaf Association of Samoa, the Samoa Blind Persons’ Association and the Physical Disability Association of Samoa.