The EAC Partners states have policy measures to mainstream disability concerns at both the national and regional level. The EAC recognises the need to empower Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in line the provisions of Article 120(c) of the Treaty that calls upon Partner States to co-operate amongst themselves in the field of social welfare with respect to, among others, the development and adoption of a common approach towards disadvantaged and marginalised groups, including children, the youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities through rehabilitation and provision of, among others, foster homes, healthcare, education and training.
In that respect, the EAC Policy on Persons with Disabilities was adopted in March 2012. The policy is a yardstick to inform other policies, programmes and sectoral plans among the EAC Partner States. The policy was developed after a comprehensive analysis of national legislations, policies and reports on the status of implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Several gaps and challenges affecting PWDs were also identified during the several consultations in the Partner States. Therefore, the EAC policy on PWDs aims at the provision of an enabling environment by Partner States for the empowerment of PWDs to facilitate their effective participation in and their eventual benefit from development initiatives.
The Second EAC Persons with Disabilities Conference was held in June 2014. The main theme was “Empowerment: The Disability Concern in the EAC Regional Integration Agenda”. Sub-themes included: Empowerment for employment (with emphasis education, skills and affirmative action); MDGs and Post MDGs; Towards Agenda 2063; Unpacking the EAC Policy on Persons with Disabilities; and Presentation of the draft EAC Disability Bill and experts presentations on how to make international legal instruments work at National and Regional levels. A communiqué outlining the actions to be undertaken at both national and regional levels to take the empowerment agenda forward was adopted by the Stakeholders.