The Recreation and Leisure Pursuits of Employed Adults with Visual Impairments in Nigeria: Part 2

By Ajuwon, Paul M.; Kelly, Stacy M. et al. | Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, January-February 2015 | Go to article overview

The Recreation and Leisure Pursuits of Employed Adults with Visual Impairments in Nigeria: Part 2


Ajuwon, Paul M., Kelly, Stacy M., Wolffe, Karen E., Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness


Recreation and leisure activities are critical quality of life components for children, youths, and adults throughout the world (Akinremi, 2010; Cordes, 2013; Kraus, Barber, & Shapiro, 2001; McLean & Hurd, 2011; Mull, Forrester, & Barnes, 2013; World Health Organization, 2010a, 2010b). Such activities may involve individuals, small groups, or whole communities, and are often viewed as means of reducing physical, social, and psychological isolation for people (Asagba & Ibraheem, 2006; Bell, Tyrvainen, Sievanen, Probstl, & Simpson, 2007; Mowen & Baker, 2009). It is also recognized that indoor and outdoor recreational activities constitute an important role in the lives of people with visual impairments (that is, those who are blind or have low vision) (Gold, 1988; Lieberman, Ponchillia, & Ponchillia, 2013; Lieberman & Stuart, 2002; Rimmer, 2005, 2008; Ward, Farnsworth, Babkes-Stellino, & Perrett, 2011).

In much of the literature that we reviewed, there was a sense that in the 21st century, more people participated in recreation because young people and adults in developed countries (unlike those in developing nations) had more leisure time and discretionary income based on the work they performed, with well-defined social structures (Bell et al., 2007; World Youth Report, 2003). Therefore, in order to place the current study in perspective, we examined leisure and recreation participation of adults with visual impairments in Nigeria relative to the prevailing conditions and services in the country. This investigation is relevant because Nigeria has abundant natural resources and is the most populous country in Africa, with a population of over 158 million (World Bank, 2012). Approximately 55% of the populace live in poverty (World Bank, 2012), however, with limited opportunities for educational, medical, and social services (Aigbokhan, 2000). There are 4.25 million people over the age of 40 who have visual impairments in the country (Abdull et al., 2009; Kyari et al., 2009). The extent to which these socioeconomic and cultural factors affect perceptions and participation in recreation and leisure of persons with visual impairments is largely unknown because of the dearth of empirical research on this topic. This study aims to fill the gaps in knowledge and practice in the provision of leisure services for persons with vision loss in Nigeria.

Although traditional games and sports like Ayo, Abula, Kokawa, Dambe, Langa, and Aarin are played in most Nigerian communities (Akinremi, 2010), it is only in recent years that the government has made conscious efforts to standardize the rules guiding these activities for the general population, without modifications for persons with disabilities. According to Africa Star News (2014), the top five popular sports in Nigeria are: soccer (football), boxing, basketball, running, and dancing. We also know that prior to the country's independence from Great Britain in 1960, the elitist citizens in the country frequently engaged in sports and games that were imported from Europe; notable among these was polo, which was first introduced to Nigeria in 1930 during colonial rule (Nsehe, 2011, May).

Nonetheless, in our review of past policies in Nigeria, we found some initiatives taken by the government that seemed to encourage the participation of people with disabilities in sports, leisure, and recreation. For instance, Achalu (1990) reported that commissions for sports were established in some states in Nigeria to assist persons with disabilities. Likewise, the former military government enacted a 1993 decree which, among other things, directed that at least 10% of all funds committed to sports and recreation be applied to the development of recreation and sports for all persons with disabilities (Disability Rights Education Defense Fund, 2012). Furthermore, the government made the commitment to train personnel and to provide an enabling environment to actualize these objectives. …

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