25m Nigerians Have Disability – US Envoy

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United States Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks (right); Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships at the University of Ibadan, Professor Olanike Adeyemo (left); with Team Afia, winners of the U.S. Consulate supported 2019 CampusLabs Disability Hackathon Pitch Competition held in Ibadan on Thursday. Photo Credit: U.S. Consulate General Lagos.

*advocates efforts to reduce obstacles facing them

By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan

The U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer, Mr  Russell Brooks has hinted that
about 25 million people in Nigeria have disability..

Mr Brooks dropped this hint on Thursday while speaking at the grand finale of the the 2019 CampusLabs Disability Hackathon held between April 13-18, at the University of Ibadan,

The US Consulate Public Affairs Officer maintained that there is the need for concerted efforts to promote inclusion and reduce the obstacles facing the people with disabilities in Nigeria.

According to the US Consulate Public Affairs Officer, “inclusion of the people with disabilities ” is a good indicator of how much we value and respect human life. “

“The United States government is proud to support initiatives like this which seek to leverage the exponential power of technology to solve problems and promote a culture of social innovation and inclusion,” he said

Mr Brooks noted, “inclusion is a good indicator of how much we value and respect human life. We must become more actively involved in creating a more inclusive environment for all”.

While lauding students for working collaboratively to improve accessibility and mobility for people living with disabilities, Mr Brooks, who also served as a member of the jury for the pitch competition said  hackatons provide opportunities for solving problems in novel ways.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, who attended the event alongside principal officers of the institution, expressed his commitment to supporting students working hard to promote inclusion of people living with disabilities.

At the end of the competition, Team Afia won with their pitch for an app that will ease access of people living with disabilities to connect with providers of basic social services.

They were rewarded with a cash prize of N500, 000 for their impressive performance while all the 7 teams in the pitch competition came up with varying technological solutions after meeting with families and people living with disabilities to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face.
CampusLabs works across Nigerian universities to raise a community of budding social entrepreneurs capable of implementing high-impact projects that benefit their local communities.

The 2019 CampusLabs Disability Hackathon  seeks to address the challenges and needs of people with disabilities using technology solutions.

Following a five day boot camp facilitated by three Mandela Washington Fellows —Emeka Ossai (CEO, CampusLabs), Busola Majekodunmi and Tobiloba Ajayi, 26 participating students representing 7 teams pitched their ideas before a jury of leading tech leaders and disability inclusion advocates.

The hackathon is supported by a public diplomacy grant from the United States Consulate in Lagos.

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