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Regional News of Sunday, 10 May 2015

Source: GNA

Disability issues – Gov’t must buck up

Mr Francis Asong, Executive Director of Voice-Ghana, a Disability Rights Think-Tank has urged governments to mainstream disability issues into national affairs.

He said so far, approaches appeared half-hearted, cosmetic, as protocols and laws regarding rights and interests of People with Disabilities (PWDs) were barely being followed through.

Mr Asong was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on the sidelines of a workshop to train PWDs to contribute to policy planning processes at the local governance levels.

It was under the aegis of the Local Government Network (LOGNET) with support from the UNDP.

Mr Asong, who presented a paper on the Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), lamented that there was very little focus on the interests of PWD’s at all levels of planning.

“They (PWDs) are not involved, no inclusion, they think for us mainly,” he stated.

The LOGNET is a network of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working on local governance issues.

Saaka Sayuti, the LOGNET National Coordinator said the project was for two years, covering 18 districts, selected from six regions in Ghana.

He said it (project) was seeking to empower PWDs and local level officials for inclusive decision making and advocacy on the Disability Law, enhance their capacities in planning and budgeting and the implementation of the UNCRPD.

Mr Sayuti said the clarion call of PWDs should be “you cannot do anything for and about us without involving us”.

He said there would also be a comprehensive research on the state of implementation of Article 28 of the UNCRPD.

Mr Sayuti said after the workshops, beneficiaries should have some knowledge on planning and budgeting to engage assemblies.

Mr Francis Asokwa Sarpong, the Principal Planning Officer, Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, took the participants through training on district planning and budgeting.

He said it was important that Planners got to the people for projects that were relevant to their needs.