VOICE-Ghana, a disability NGO based in Ho in the Volta region of Ghana, has expressed its determination to make disability issues an important topic to be discussed in the run-up to Ghana’s elections to be held in November this year.
Mr Francis Asong, Director of Voice-Ghana said there was a need to end the irresolute attitude of political parties when it comes to the concerns of people with disabilities (PWDs) during the campaign period.
Mr Asong, in a recent evaluation meeting of the Inclusive Governance Project for Persons with Disabilities, said his organization is putting in place a disability manifesto to commit political parties to mainstreaming disability issues in governance at all levels.
Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) funded the two-year project called ‘Inclusive Governance for All‘ implemented by VOICE-Ghana. The project seeks to ensure the active participation of people with disabilities in local governance and civic decision making processes in 10 Districts in the Volta Region.
One of the project’s main objectives and driving force is the need to increase the voice of marginalized and socially excluded people with disabilities. This is far from a cursory concern in Ghana where most of the people seen begging on the streets are people with disabilities and where genuine inclusion at all levels remains absent.
Implementation of the project was done mainly through twenty self-help disability groups as front-liners, working with the district Assembly core staff.
The project provided capacity building to local governance staff by training them to fine tune and craft policies that help people with disabilities and to implement them effectively.
Mr Asong said landmarks of the implementation process included the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Assemblies to commit them to project goals and involvement of PWDs in Public Hearing Sessions and Town Hall meetings.
He said the project’s mid-year review emphasised the need for possible future projects to strengthen capacities and participation of PWDs in development planning processes, to create forums for discussion of development issues and to raise awareness of local development stakeholders about disability issues.
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