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Nigerian TV news to feature sign language interpreters

July 2020
A sign language interpreter in a TV studio.

National news bulletins in Nigeria will include sign language interpretation from July 2020, following advocacy from Sightsavers.

The interpreters will be financed initially by the Sightsavers-led programme Inclusive Futures, a partnership of 16 global organisations funded by UK aid working together to ensure people with disabilities have access to quality health care, education and work without the fear of stigma or discrimination.

Following a successful pilot in July, the interpreters will be financed by the Nigerian government, which will offer them permanent job contracts.

Rasak Adekoya, Sightsavers’ programme officer for Inclusive Futures, who is based in Nigeria, said: “I’m really excited to see this development and the commitment the Nigerian government has made. It shows the power of collective action and our ability at Sightsavers to make a real impact for people with disabilities.

“It’s sending lots of positive signals about the importance of inclusion – one action leads to more. We hope that this will inspire more progress in the country toward including people with disabilities.”

A women with visual impairment working in a library in Kenya.

Inclusive Futures

Sightsavers is leading a global consortium of 16 international development organisations advocating for disability inclusion across seven countries.

About the initiative
A sign language interpreter stands next to a speaker at the Task Force for COVID-19 presentation in Nigeria.
Sign language interpreters are now used during addresses from Nigeria's Task Force on COVID-19.

Adding the interpreters is an important step by the Nigerian government towards making its communications more accessible for people with disabilities, and this important change comes at a time when people with disabilities are facing increased discrimination due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many are reporting a lack of access to vital, potentially life-saving information because it has not been created using accessible formats. There is a notable lack of communications in signed languages, braille, pictorials or plain language.

This puts people with disabilities at increased risk of contracting or transmitting the virus. It also means they are more vulnerable to misinformation if they cannot get their information from official sources.

Inclusive Futures is working in Nigeria to ensure people with disabilities are not left behind. The partnership is promoting inclusive workplaces, better long-term prospects for jobseekers with disabilities, inclusive education and inclusive eye health care and tackling the stigma and discrimination people with disabilities face in their daily lives.

Read more about Inclusive Futures here.

two women sit behind a computer, laughing.

The importance of inclusion

Rasak Adekoya, Sightsavers programme officer based in Nigeria, has written this blog celebrating the value of inclusion in the workplace.

Read the blog

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