ACCENTURE, a global professional services company has taken hands with National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), a leading South African diversity rights organisation, by supporting the NCPD with a smooth transition into the digital era to streamline their services.
NCPD is devoted to advocating for a more equitable dispensation of people with disabilities. According to the NCPD, the South African constitution allows for the protection of human rights. However, they feel that the implementation of such rights for all from businesses and the public sector has in many cases not been as fast as anticipated where it pertains to people living with disabilities.
“Fortunately, a few organisations such as Accenture have been leading in this regard. Accenture acknowledges the rights of people with disabilities and are a beacon of hope for us in the business world. By partnering with NCPD, Accenture helps to ensure that persons with disabilities are respected and included in the mainstream commercial world,” states André Kalis, Specialist: Advocacy, Policy and Children’s Matters at the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD).
“For Accenture, a focus on disability inclusion means that the company welcomes people with different abilities and know that talent comes from diverse people from different backgrounds. Accenture believes each person, whether they have visible or invisible disabilities, has unique skills, talents and strengths to contribute and thrive in the workplace,” says Khethiwe Nkuna, Corporate Citizenship and Inclusion & Diversity Lead of Accenture in Africa.
NCPD has been instrumental in influencing the legislation through lobbying and advocating for rights of persons with disabilities. The NCPD advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and inter alia to obtain life changing equipment as well as adapted vehicles without paying additional tax.
The NCPD also plays a vital role in the prevention of the violation of the rights of persons with disabilities and encourages organisations and institutions to consult with NCPD for assistance on equity and inclusion matters. A key example of such meaningful influence towards a more equitable society includes a current class action to aid the plight of children with disabilities, claiming on their behalf for access to education (despite legislation, more kids with disabilities are outside the school system than who are in school). Children with disabilities who are sexually abused, often do not get the same access to justice as children without disabilities. Children with disabilities must often wait up to seven years for access to the court system and in some cases, persons with disabilities must wait up to five years to get assistive devices during such proceedings.
According to a recent Accenture study, companies who embrace disability inclusion are better positioned to tap into a new talent pool of more than 10.7 million people. That represents a significant opportunity to strengthen businesses and economies not only in South Africa but across the world.
The study cites that employees with disabilities offer tangible benefits, including increased innovation, improved productivity and a better work environment. And, of course, workers are consumers, too – the GDP could get a boost if just one percent more of persons with disabilities joins the labour market – especially in a country such as South Africa where the unemployment rate is high.
“Persons with disabilities have to be creative to adapt to the world around them. As such, they develop strengths such as problem-solving skills, agility, persistence, forethought and a willingness to experiment – all of which are essential for innovation. This means that having employees with disabilities across departments helps ensure that the products and services that go to market are truly inclusive, Accenture’s study shows,” says Nkuna.
“Businesses that hire persons with disabilities and foster inclusive cultures report bottom-line benefits that show proven ROI. Accenture has a network of more than 36,000 persons with disabilities in 52 countries, bringing its people, supporters and friends together regularly for networking, collaborating and mentoring,” concludes Nkuna.