Launch of a Transformative Strategic Plan for Disability Inclusion in Zambia

February 5, 2024
Image of the Minister of Community Development and Social Services and the Director General of ZAPD, joined by the UNDP and key partners at the Launch of the ZAPD Strategic Plan. They are all holding the strategic plan

The Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Hon Doreen Sefuke Mwamba, MP, with the Board Chairperson of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Moses Luneta, the Deputy Resident Representative a.i., Ethel Bangwayo and other key stakeholders at the launch of the ZAPD Strategic Plan

Image captured by: Cecilia Mubambe/UNDP Zambia

"Persons with disabilities face challenges to fully participate in society which is further heightened by discriminatory social attitudes," says UNDP Zambia’s Resident Representative, James Wakiaga. 

In a speech read on his behalf by the interim UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Ethel Bangwayo, at the launch of Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) Strategic Plan 2023-2026, Mr. Wakiaga emphasized that, "the extent of inequalities experienced by persons with disabilities in all areas of development is often the result of shortcomings in the structural, social, political and cultural environments in which they reside, including lack of accessibility of physical and virtual environments; institutional and attitudinal barriers; exclusion; and unequal opportunities." 

Mr. Wakiaga highlighted UNDP's mandate to advance the core principles of the UN Charter and support disability-inclusive development through the twin complementary frameworks of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He stated, "As the development branch of the UN system, UNDP supports member states as they seek to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and fulfill their human rights obligations under the CRPD; we do so through a human rights-based approach to our programming."  He further noted that "We work to build the capacity of both duty bearers, namely the state and its institutions at the national and sub-national level, to meet their obligations under the CRPD and other core human rights treaties they are state parties to. We also work to build the capacity of rights-holders, namely persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, to empower them to claim their rights." 

Cultural dancers at the launch of ZAPD Strategic Plan

Dancers at the launch of the ZAPD Strategic Plan

Image captured by: Cecilia Mubambe/UNDP Zambia

He added that, under the United Nations Joint Programme on Social Protection (UNJPSP), "UNDP supported the development of the new ZAPD Strategic Plan, and in 2023, UNDP supported the capacity building of over 150 Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) in national planning, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation in 5 provinces, in collaboration with ZAPD and Ministry of Finance and National Planning. The training empowers persons with disabilities to be active participants in national development processes and advocate for disability inclusion. UNDP recognizes the importance of livelihoods for persons with disabilities and is extending capacity building in Business and Entrepreneurship to persons with disabilities across the country since 2023, in collaboration with Zambia Development Agency, National Trust Fund for Persons with Disabilities, and ZAPD.”  There are plans to extend similar capacity building to the outstanding provinces in 2024.

Mr. Wakiaga said UNDP is looking forward to supporting the Government in areas such as CRPD compliant budgeting, the development of the Disability Mainstreaming Guidelines and to build the capacity of OPDs to track the allocation and expenditure of resources for disability inclusion, including the implementation of the 8NDP at national and sub-national levels. These efforts will ensure that adequate resources are allocated for disability inclusion. He reiterated that UNDP remains committed to working with ZAPD to ensure that it achieves its vision of a vibrant agency that coordinates and regulates disability inclusive services.

Speaking during the same launch, Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Honorable Doreen Mwamba, said “the Strategic Plan will provide an operational context for the Agency and enhance its performance in line with the 8th National Development Plan and other national documents in order to efficiently and effectively serve its clientele.”

The Minister said “government recognizes that persons with disabilities continue to be among the most marginalized in society, it is therefore Government’s resolve to put in place policies, laws and strategies that promote the realization of the aspirations of persons with disabilities.”

Meanwhile, the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities Board Chairperson, Moses Luneta, thanked the Ministry and cooperating partners for their technical support shown during the process and for their contribution towards the development of the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan. He appealed for more support from cooperating partners to ensure that ZAPD successfully implements the new Strategic Plan and achieve its overarching goal of promoting the well-being and rights of persons with disabilities.