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National Disability Policy discussed

The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D) met with stakeholders about the Samoa National Disability Policy at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel conference room on Thursday.

The Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of the M.W.C.S.D, Afamasaga Faaiuga Mulitalo, said the meeting was a chance to dialogue on equal footing as partners, planners, implementers and drivers of social-economic well being and marks a step further for the government and its partners in facilitating or providing opportunities available to Samoa's vulnerable population with emphasis today on person's with disabilities.

"This workshop further represents a series of initiatives by the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development as it seeks to develop its second national disability policy and produce its first country report to the United Nationa Organisations on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (C.R.P.D)," Afamasaga said.

She explained that as the lead Ministry for the community development sectors, striving for social and economic inclusion, the consultations will go a long way in determining government priorities and its approach to effective interventions, need-based programme development and delivering.

"In addition to enhance coordination and partnerships with all of you here today our valued partners, collaborators and donors from all facets from all public and private sectors," she said.

"On this note, we acknowledge the continuous support of our service providers and frontline implementers, the contributions by our disability organsiations, the efforts of our wider network of government agencies as well as the continuous support of our donors, particularly the Government of Australia through the Samoa Disability programme, which has carried the responsibility of resourcing much of Samoa's activities to advance social and economic inclusion and well being for persons with disabilities."

Afamasaga explained that now in its second phase the Samoa Disability Partnership Programme 2019-2023 has strategically delivered a range of activities for Samoa and further contributing to its obligation for the C.R.P.D since its signing in 2014 and subsequent ratification in 2016.

"Our task today builds on initiatives set out through the One U.N employment programme," she said.

She concluded by reminding everyone that their contributions are most valuable for the process and also after the policy is endorsed and implemented. 

"We share a common goal and that it in ensures that within our different roles, we collectively and constructively add to the improved social and economic outcomes for our communities and country as a whole," she said.

Nuanua o le Alofa (N.O.L.A) Manager, Mataafa Fuatino Utumapu stated in an interview that from the advocacy point of view and from the perspective of a person with a disability who actually works for the national advocacy organisation of persons with disabilities, the development of this document for the second time is indeed a huge milestone considering the many developments to ensure persons with disabilities the equal opportunities to participate.

"I sincerely hope that the opportunity that we are given today we will be able to contribute effectively to the development of and the improvement of the current document," she added.

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