Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)

The Southern Africa Regional Round Table Forum on Disability Mainstreaming

Organized by the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), the Southern Africa Disability Round Table Forum brings together various actors on triennial intervals to reflect and evaluate the work of SAFOD and the disability movement over the past three decades. The first forum was held from June 20 to 23, 2017 at Holiday Inn Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa. The next forum is expected to be held in 2019.

Running under the theme “Reflecting on 30 years of Disability Advocacy & Activism in Southern Africa”, the 2017 Roundtable Forum sought to create a regional platform where various stakeholders in the disability sector could reflect upon the achievements or milestones during the 30-year period, discuss the challenges which had been experienced throughout the same period, and dialogue on how delegates, including development partners, could effectively support both SAFOD and the entire disability sector in sustaining the gains that had been made so far. 

The Roundtable Forum also contributed towards shaping the strategic direction of not only SAFOD but the entire disability movement in the region, with a reflection on both the organization’s new five-year Strategic plan as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Disability Roundtable Forum was part of the anniversary commemorations of SAFOD which clocked 30 years in 2016. Coincidentally, this was a significant year as the new SDGs had just replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) which were devoid of disability indicators; the UNCRPD had just clocked 10 years; and SAFOD, being the only credible network of national federations of DPOs in SADC, had just began implementing its Strategic Plan.

The forum played a significant role in raising awareness about disability mainstreaming among donor agencies and other key partners who discussed how they could effectively integrate disability within their various programs in the region. This was achieved not only through the presentations, keynote addresses/speeches and deliberations during the main event, but also through a number of side events that were organized to provide more insights on issues affecting the disability sector in the region. The side events focused on assistive technology in the region organized by SAFOD and its partners the University of Washington and AfriNEAD; disability mainstreaming in disaster risk reduction organized by Federation of the Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) and its partner NAD; and community based inclusive development organized by the CBR Africa Network (CAN) and its partner CBM. 

On the evening of the June 23, 2017 SAFOD climaxed the event by organizing a Gala Dinner to honor disability activists for their outstanding contributions over the period of 30 years in each of the where SAFOD currently operates. The Southern Africa Disability Champions Awards is an initiative to sustain activism and advocacy for the mainstreaming of disability within SADC. SAFOD also presented Private Sector Excellence Awards in recognition of private sector entities that had demonstrated disability inclusiveness. Read more here

More information about the 2017 Disability Roundtable Forum can be accessed on the forum's website here, where a full report for the event may also be downloaded including speeches, presentations, posters, and videos.