Islamabad: An event to ensure the rights, freedoms, dignity and inclusion of people with disabilities in Pakistan was hosted by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) today. The event was held to raise awareness of the need to collect data on people with disabilities to ensure inclusive development in Pakistan.
The event was hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and the Washington Group on Disability Statistics, with attendees including officials from the Government of Pakistan, Civil Society Organisations, Development Partners and people with disabilities themselves.
A panel discussion was also held to discuss how the information and data can be used can be used to help government make better decisions and policy.
Giving the opening remarks at the event, the Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt said;
“I’m determined to ensure that disability inclusion is at the heart of everything that DFID does, and data is the life-blood of decision making and the raw material for accountability. The data must be inclusive, disaggregated, accessible, and most importantly, used – including in the most difficult humanitarian and fragile contexts.”
Addressing the panel DFID Pakistan head Joanna Reid said;
“We need to make sure that every single person with a disability counts by counting everyone! Good data are the foundation on which we can build a better future for Pakistan where no one is left behind”
Mitch Loeb from the Washington Group said;
“Data are important. We know that when people aren’t counted they simply don’t count when important decisions are made about government policy, programmes and spending. So, we are delighted to be here to build a relationship with the Government of Pakistan and offer support in their efforts to secure a future for Pakistan where people with disabilities are not left behind.”
This event was a follow up to the recent Global Disability Summit in London in July and the preceding Disability Summit in Islamabad in early July. The summits identified the need to strengthen disability data for disability inclusive. The Washington Group Disability questions are globally recognised as best practice for collecting data on disability. The representative from the Washington Group shared learning and experience on how to put the questions into practice.
Ms Joanna Reid (Head, DFID Pakistan), Dr Asma Hyder (Member, Social Sector and Devolution, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform), Mr Ismail Khan (Pakistan Bureau of Statistics), Mr Neil Jackson (Chief Statistician, DFID UK), Mr Mitchell Loeb (Washington Group on Disability Statistics) and Mr Muhammad Atif Sheikh/Ms Abia Akram (Special Talent Exchange Programme, STEP) were included in the panel.