It’s Not About Changing, But Making People Agents of Change
Mr. Sidi Bani (left) and Monja Mamenosoa (right)
Central in MCD’s mission – to improve the health and wellbeing of people worldwide – is ensuring no one is left behind.
Mr. Sidi Bani is a 23-year-old resident of the Gah-Kpanon province in the Perere-Peulh province in Benin. Monja Mamenosoa is a 40-year-old resident of the Tanambao I fokontany in the Androy region of Madagascar. These men, eager to eliminate the practice of open defecation in their communities, worked with our PAPHyR and FAA programs respectively to facilitate the construction of latrines accessible to anyone — especially to people with disabilities like themselves.
Sidi joined with other community leaders to establish a sanitation committee to ensure continued use of and maintenance of the new latrines. Monja on the other hand – trained by local technicians – is building new latrines, which diminished the discrimination he experienced in his community due to his disability. Both are proud of their progress, and of the progress in their communities as the practice of open defecation is eliminated.
People with disabilities— 1 billion people— are one of the most excluded groups in our society and are among the hardest hit in this crisis in terms of fatalities. Under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community. The global crisis of COVID-19, unfortunately, is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion, and highlighting that work on disability inclusion is imperative.
This International Persons with Disabilities Day, we recommit to the core tenet of the integrated approach we use in our work - inclusion – and to our philosophy of leaving no one behind. Disability inclusion is paramount to upholding human rights, sustainable development, peace, and security. It will also be the key to a COVID-19 response and recovery that will better serve everyone, strengthen the world’s pandemic resilience, allow us to build back better, and provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations.