I really like the discussion and thank you CIP for the discussion top.
I am a person with ‘high support requirement’ and the issue of access to support services has been critical in my life just as I imagine it has been in others’.
Well, when I visited US, it was very easy to access support services because there are specialised companies that provide professional support services for persons with disabilities which enhances their (persons with disabilities) effective participation in community life.
In LMIC, the story is different: we majorly depend on friends and families for support services which carries a great deal of opportunity cost and with gender implications. This has remained a big challenge not only for persons with disabilities and their families, but also for development stakeholders who would consider taking on persons with disabilities for development ventures. There is research carried out by Kyambogo University (I will share the link at the earliest opportunity) to explore the likelihood of private employers had in recruiting potential talents with disabilities and the challenges they anticipated. Results indicated that most private employers were willing to take on persons with disabilities but the challenge related to where to get support services for their reasonable accommodation. With a possibility to have friends and families providing support services for persons with disabilities, some potential employers observed that some of these support persons were not professional enough to fit within their cooperated culture.
Although some DPOs and Kyambogo University have been training some professional support persons, there has not been any mechanism through which to identify them in the event that support is needed. This had always left persons with disabilities with no professional support, and yet those trained are busy looking for opportunities to work, on the other hand.
My colleagues and I are working on an online platform (Database) which should link professional support service providers with users (users could persons with disabilities, or any other third persons who need to identify support services for the beneficiaries of their programmes who have disabilities). We would like to have it operate the way Uber taxis operate: you order for it online, so should professional support providers be.
What about payments? Can it be affordable in LMICs? People need support services in order to survive, work,and participate in community life. Someone should say, it is a human rights issue. With social protection as a budding phenomenon in most LMICs, this could regarded as a ‘disability related cost, or disability allowance’ and should government responsibility to earmark a fund to that end.
If this works out effectively in Uganda, I think we shall have a basis strong enough to replicate it in other countries.
I thought I needed to share this with you to hear what you think.