By Biruk Kassahun
According to WHO, there are an estimated 15 million persons with disabilities in Ethiopia, representing 17.6 per cent of the population. For many, the inaccessibility of built environments is a major obstacle to participating actively in society.
In the country, promoting more inclusive societies and employment opportunities for people with disabilities requires improved access to basic education, vocational training relevant to labour market needs and jobs suited to their skills, interests, and abilities, with adaptations as needed.
On the other hand, in 2020, Ethiopia’s female population was approximately 59.33 million, while the male population approximately 58.79 million inhabitants. However, both persons with disability and women are highly marginalized form basic and vocational training for different reasons.
Towards addressing disability and gender issues as prescribed under sub-components of EASTRIP, Hawassa polytechnic College has been exerted unreserved efforts to reach more disabled and women living at Hawassa town and the nearby cluster colleges through prioritized short-term training in garment sector.
The college developed selection criteria by focusing disability and gender and mobilized all stakeholders to recruit prioritized female and disabled group. The selection process was led by town level labour and social affairs office with close consultation by the college gender focal person and EASTRIP environment and social safeguarding specialist.
Accordingly, a total 115 youths (18 males and 97 females) recruited and provided with two months garment sewing skills (basic, intermediate and advance) and finally certified the college. Among the graduates, 64 of the trainees comprises youths with different disability, commonly moving difficulties. Besides addressing gender and disability issues, the intervention helps the college to increase its enrolment target and meet the project results.
The Writer is the M&E Specialist at Hawassa Polytechnic College