In commemoration of the International Disability Day, the Federation of Uganda Employers launched the Uganda Business and Disability Network (UBDN) in support of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network.
The Uganda Business and Disability Network is an employer-led network in Uganda that works towards creating workplaces and company culture that is respectful and inclusive towards persons with disabilities, promoting the hiring, retention and professional development of persons with disabilities.
The UDBN was launched with 8 founder members (Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda, Citi Bank, Vivo Energy Uganda, Nation Media Group, Standard Chartered Bank, Uganda Breweries Limited, Delight Uganda Limited and Graphic systems) signing the charter.
The launch was hosted and spearheaded by Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda, a company which has been actively engaging persons with different types of impairments in the workplace. In the coming months, additional members will join the network to work toward a formal launch and election of a Steering Committee of the UBDN.
“As a Company, we benefit greatly from the skills, experience and commitment of the diverse range of people who work with us. We recognise that that diversity is essential to us being able to best serve our customers and strive to ensure that no one is treated inappropriately or disrespectfully at our workplace. This is aligned with our Values to act with integrity and care for our people.” Conrad van Nierkerk, commenting about CCBA`s participation. In our midst, we have amongst us, members who are challenged working with us.
The UBDN will provide an opportunity for employers to develop their confidence on disability inclusion, share experiences and be role models on inclusive employment for persons with disabilities.
Employers that sign the UBDN charter and commit as members can expect to benefit from facilitated business-to-business dialogue, annual conferences that present opportunities for learning and networking and become part of a growing reputable global network of multinational companies integrating disability into their organisation cultures, workplaces and strategic business plans.
The secretariat of the UBDN will be hosted by the Federation of Uganda Employers and supported by the National Union Of Disabled Persons Of Uganda (NUDIPU), and resource organisations with technical expertise on disability inclusion such as Light for the World, Sightsavers and ADD International.
The UBDN is closely linked to the Make 12.4% Work Initiative and the Inclusion Works Project. The Make 12.4% Work Initiative was launched in May 2018 and brings together a growing platform of companies, livelihood organisations and skills development institutes in their commitment to disability inclusion in economic empowerment initiatives.
It will provide technical support to the UBDN through its network of Disability Inclusion Facilitators. Both Make 12.4% Work and the Inclusion Works project will work closely with the UBDN in developing joint products and tools to support and guide employers on how to create an inclusive workplace, coordinate work placement opportunities for persons with disabilities, and feed policy development and implementation by sharing experiences through policy briefs and case stories.
“Employing persons with disabilities is not corporate social responsibility hence employers should change their mindset and employment should be given on grounds of ability to perform.”
Annette Nakawunde, the Federation of Uganda Employers Vice Chairperson
“There is obviously an unemployment problem in Uganda. But the question is about how to help persons with disabilities who experience special barriers. ” Edson Nyirabankunzi Executive Director at the 8th Annual CEO Forum in May 2019