MSU-UNICEF-RCZ CONFERENCE ON BUILDING RESILIENCE FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITY IN ZIMBABWE
28 – 29 NOVEMBER 2022
The Midlands State University (MSU) in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) is calling for research papers, posters and abstracts for a conference on the direct and indirect impact of Covid-19 on children with disabilities (CwDs) in Zimbabwe and how to build their resilience going forward. The event will be held on the 28th and 29th of November, 2022 at Midlands State University, Gweru Campus.
Children with disabilities are rights holders to the same extent as any other group of children and should therefore have all their rights respected, as defined in the United Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC – 1989). In 2013 Zimbabwe joined the United Nations Convention on the Persons with Disabilities (UNCPD – 2006). The Convention aims to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in all aspects of social and political life including access to employment, education, health care, information, and justice. Guided by the UNCPD, Zimbabwe is in the process of revising its 1992 Disable Persons Act, into a Person with Disabilities Bill. In June 2021, the Government of Zimbabwe launched National Disability Policy and instituted a committee to coordinate the implementation of the Policy.
Based on existing data available, UNICEF estimates that one in ten of the world’s children have disabilities, app 240 million children. Most children with disabilities – up to 80% – live in developing countries. In Zimbabwe disability prevalence in children aged 5-17 years, who have varying degrees of difficulty in performing activities, is at 3.8 percent for males and 3.3 percent for females. This figure is well below the global average, suggesting that many children with disabilities in Zimbabwe are not visible. Further assessments are therefore needed perhaps through a national disability survey.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, resulted in the CwDs being more vulnerable partly due to the disruption of a lot of social services. It is therefore critical that we understand the dynamics and extent to which the vulnerabilities of CwDs were exacerbated. This is vital in thinking through options to build resilience for them as well as disability sensitive responses to future pandemics. This conference, therefore, aims to bring together researchers, academics, policy-makers and practitioners to deliberate on the critical issues affecting CwDs and how to build their resilience for the future.
The conference will run on the general theme, “(Re)imagining a Better World Post-COVID-19 for Children with Disabilities” against the following sub-themes/strands:
- Promotion of partnerships and innovations by and for persons and children with disabilities
- Advancing inclusion of persons and children with disabilities into the mainstreams of development sectors
- Policies and laws promoting the rights of CwDs
- Promoting the rights of children born to parents with disabilities
- Stigma, discrimination and bullying of CwDs
- Disability and superstition in society
- Natural disasters, climate change, and the protection of persons with disabilities
- Medical cover and treatment of CwDs as a function of health systems performance
- Building resilience of persons with disabilities
Presentation of research results (posters or full research papers) by those ready to do so shall be done on the 28th of November 2022. Presentation of abstracts for potential support towards the development of full papers shall be done on the 29th of November 2022.
Interested researchers are encouraged to submit full papers, posters and abstracts by email to:
Lead experts on the subject matter can register to participate at the conference. These can submit an expression of interest with an abridged curriculum vitae attached for consideration. Please take note that the deadline for submission is the 21st of November 2022.
Full research paper and abstracts must be in a single typed document (Arial Narrow, 12pnt) with:
- Author(s) Full Name(s)
- E-mail address
About the conveners:
- RCZ is a leader in coordinating research towards the realization of an Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030, leaving no one and no place behind. MSU as one of the leading universities in Zimbabwe has always advanced disability rights through its disability resources center and cutting-edge disability research. UNICEF’s goal worldwide and in Zimbabwe is to ensure that every child with disabilities, no matter their circumstance or ability, can fully enjoy their human rights, as defined in the CRC and the UNCPD. UNICEF Zimbabwe works in close collaboration with the Government institutions and civil society organization to build an inclusive society and ensure children with disabilities have access to all the services they are entitled to.