Cape Coast, Ghana, October 19, 2017// – Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF), a continental youth development advocacy and empowerment leader, with the support of Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has organized another sensitization forum for youth with disabilities on the value of their participation in decision making processes at Cape Coast School of the Deaf and Blind (CAPEDEAF).
The forum which is the secondof YBF’s project titled “Access to Justice for Youth with Disability in Ghana”sought to build the capacity of beneficiaries to participate in district budget planning processes.
Speaking on behalf of Seth Oteng, Executive Director, Raymond Ablorh, a Communication Specialist at YBF said, it is time development stakeholders went beyond special day celebrations like World Sight Day, White Cane Day, and the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) allocations to effectively address the many challenges facing Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)in the country.
“We cannot continue to lump PWDs up as if they have the same needs and challenges and address them with generic solutions. They are not the same people. They have distinct needs which, must be appreciated with insight and addressed with concrete measures,” he emphasized.
Explaining further, Mr Ablorh said: “Those with hearing impairment do not share similar challenges with those with sight impairment, or, with their colleagues with speech impairment, hence, in addressing the concerns of PWDs, we must as a matter of necessity take into consideration the distinctiveness of the various groups in the big PWDs domain.
We need to, for instance, get interpreters at Social Welfare Departments of all Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies (MMDAs), hospitals and other relevant public facilities just as we ought to consider their needs in our architectural developments.”
On his part, a Social Worker at the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA), Isaac Ofori said his Assembly is the first and only Assembly that has an interpreter to assist persons with hearing and speech impairments in the country.
This was in response to a question asked by a female teacher at CAPEDEAF, Amina, who wanted to know why MMDAs across the country do not have interpreters to assist persons with hearing and speech impairments and yet talk about involving PWDs in their planning processes.
According to Mr. Ofori, the Assembly is putting in place measures to engage PWDs more effectively to improve their lives. He noted some critical concerns shared by some participants that need urgent attention.
Mr. Maxwell Essel Kakraba, Assistant District Planning Officer at CCMA also took the about 400 participants through MMDAs composite budget planning processes to build their capacity to enable them engage and participate effectively.
Just as they did at the Akropong School of the Blind, YBF and OSIWA donated copies of educational audio recordings on MMDAs Composite Budget Making Planning Process and the role of youth to the school to continue the capacity building process.
African Eye Report