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Regional News of Monday, 17 December 2012

Source: GNA

Project to address political exclusion of Persons with Disabilities launched

A project to address the political exclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) from the decentralization system aimed at building their capacities to enable them contest for the 2014 district assembly elections was launched in Koforidua on Monday.

The objective of the project is to build the capacity of 25 PWDs to enable them contest the next district assembly elections.

This is to enhance their participation in the local government system and is part of measures to mainstream disability into the national development agenda and to achieve a quota representation for PWDs in the district assemblies.

The Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA) is funding the one year project with a grant of $62,000 to the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) to ensure that the right of PWDs to take part in governance was not trampled upon because of their disability as required by the UN convention on the rights of persons with disability.

Mr Joseph Adu-Boampong, the National President for the GSPD, said the project would also focus on achieving a quota representation of PWDs in district assemblies by ensuring that the legislative instrument of the National Disability Act captures such provision.

He said there are 20 PWDs at the various district assemblies throughout the country whose technical capacity would be built to spearhead the participation and advocacy of disability rights in the district assemblies and to unearth the capacity of additional 25 prospective PWDs who are willing to contest the next assembly elections.

According to him, the state protocol on the district assemblies in respect to PWDs was that district assemblies should use a language that could be understood by all members of the assembly including the deaf.

Mr Adu-Boampong said to that end, sign languages required of such PWDs was a must to be provided by the various assemblies.

He said it behooved on the assemblies to provide a sitting arrangement that would suit PWDs who had to use wheelchairs at the assemblies.

Mr Charles Apiagyei, the Director of the OSIWA project, said the two percent set aside by the government at the district assemblies was to be used to train PWDs to acquire sustainable livelihood by training them in income generating activities whiles the OSIWA fund is to position them to contest the district assembly elections.

He urged the regional representatives of the GSPD to educate their members on their right to be in governance to ensure that many PWDs showed interest to achieve the purpose of the project.