Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

The Recreation and Leisure Pursuits of Employed Adults with Visual Impairments in Nigeria: Part 1

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

The Recreation and Leisure Pursuits of Employed Adults with Visual Impairments in Nigeria: Part 1

Article excerpt

Recreation--playing games, participating in athletics, and other activities that people enjoy in their leisure time--has existed since the early days of civilization. However, there is evidence that the Industrial Revolution, with its resultant increase in personal wealth and free time, increased the diversity and availability of recreation and leisure pursuits for people in developed countries (McLean & Hurd, 2011). The United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund categorize a country's status as developed or developing based on a number of factors, including standard of living (Nielsen, 2011). The successful development of a nation can imply many things, such as adequate or comfortable living standards and access to basic community services, that meet the population's needs, including access to recreation and leisure options.

With a population of over 158 million, Nigeria is one of the most populous developing countries in the world (World Bank, 2012). There are at least one million people with visual impairments (that is, those who are blind or have low vision) living in Nigeria, 90% of whom are confined to houses or living on the streets as homeless beggars (Agbaje, 2000). The majority of Nigerians (approximately 55%) are living in poverty (World Bank, 2012). The country of Nigeria and nearby nations are "suffering from administrative neglect, crumbling social infrastructure and services, high unemployment, social deprivation, abject poverty, filth and squalor, and endemic conflict" (United Nations Development Programme, 2006, p. 6). Quality of life components, such as recreation and leisure, have been neglected in plans for long-term and inclusive growth in Nigeria (United Nations Development Programme, 2009).

We understood that with greater affluence people with and without disabilities have more time to spend in recreation and leisure activities (McLean & Hurd, 2011). Therefore, we wanted to know if em ployed adults with visual impairments in Nigeria were participating in recreation and leisure activities and, if not, what were the inhibitors to their participation. We selected Nigeria for this study because of the representativeness of the country. Nigeria is much like other developing countries (for example, with high poverty, difficult infrastructure, political turmoil) but it is more densely populated. In this article, we look at the kinds of recreation and leisure activities in which individuals who are visually impaired participate while they live and work in Nigeria. In addition, we explore some of the qualitative information participants in our study shared relative to the challenges and facilitators they encounter in pursuing involvement in recreational and leisure activities. This article provides insight into what is required by Nigerians with visual impairments to fully participate in recreational activities and what factors threaten their ability to engage in their society given the underlying turmoil of social, political, and economic issues.

Methodology

PARTICIPANTS

All 172 participants involved in the present study were adults with visual impairments who were employed and working in Nigeria when our survey was distributed in July 2009. The participants were identified through their contact with the Nigeria Association for the Blind (NAB). NAB is a membership organization that advocates on behalf of citizens of all ages who are visually impaired (). Membership communities are located throughout the 36 states of the federation and all six geopolitical regions of Nigeria. Using NAB's infrastructure allowed us to reach a large audience, which resulted in a large sample size for the study. Our access to the large sample size of participants further underscored the decision to implement the study in Nigeria.

Participant demographics are presented in Table 1, which shows gender, age, marital status, highest degree of education, and information pertaining to the severity of their visual impairment. …

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