Regional News of Sunday, 14 July 2013
Two years of advocacy to increase access of children with disabilities to formal education in the Nkwanta-South District and Ho Municipal Area has achieved remarkable results.
The advocacy is being carried out by Voice of the People with Disabilities (VOICE-GHANA), a Ho-based NGO, in collaboration with Governance Issues Forum, a civil society organization, with funding from Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana (STAR-Ghana).
Project evaluation briefings made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) indicates that there is a turnaround in the attitude of people towards education for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the project areas.
It said 11 children with disabilities, on the wings of the three-year advocacy, are currently in school in the Ho and Nkwanta South District while some parents and guardians are preparing to send their children with disabilities to school in the 2013/14 academic year.
Mr Francis Asong, Voice-Ghana Director, told the GNA that a "methodical push" by the NGO has also resulted in crucial talks going on with the Ho and Nkwanta local government authorities, for by-laws to “waive the payment of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) dues and other levies for pupils with disabilities at the basic school level.”
He said VOICE-Ghana had worked with other actors over the past two years to bring to fruition the Disability Resource Centre at Mawuli Senior High School in Ho, enabling the admission of five visually impaired students, three males and two female, in the 2012/13 academic year.
Mr Asong said another remarkable project work was in the area of politics- “Inclusive Election 2012,” which brought concerns of People with Disabilities to the limelight.
He said that project which was centred in the Agortime-Ziope and Adaklu districts, resulted in making polling stations accessible to PWDs and the recruitment of PWDs as polling Assistants in the 2012 elections.
Mr Asong said the review also tackled internal management systems with the view to improve management of programmes and increase staff efficiency among other objectives.
The project, which started in November 2011, seeks to ensure that pupils with disabilities in the project areas receive good quality education in an inclusive environment.
Donor partners of STAR-Ghana are DFID, EU, DANIDA and USAID, who offered a grant of $100, 000 for three years.