Akatsi-North and Nkwanta-South districts in the Volta Region, are moving with the world trend, to mainstream issues affecting people with disabilities (PWDs) in governance, both at the planning and implementation levels.
The two local government areas were the toast of a mid-year review meeting of an inclusive governance project for PWDs held in Ho.
The project is under the auspices of Voice of People with Disabilities (VOICE)-Ghana, a Ho-based NGO, with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa, to increase the voice of the marginalised and socially excluded in 10 districts in the Volta Region.
The project, spanning January 2014 to January 2016, has made PWDs in the Akatsi-North District an important ‘constituency’ in local governance.
“Besides being actively represented in the district’s public hearing processes there is free-flow of information between us, PWDs, and Mr James Gunu, District Chief Executive and other staffers,” Mr Xorlarli Doamekpor, Secretary to the Norvilorlor Association, a PWD group, told the Ghana News Agency.
He said the PWD-District Assembly ties had gone far beyond the administration of the paltry two per cent Common Fund.
Mr Doamekpor said the Assembly recently facilitated the purchase of a motorised tricycle truck, on business terms, by PWD groups, to generate funds.
Prince Adu Gyamfi, Planning Officer Akatsi-North District Assembly, corroborating Mr Doamekpor said the Assembly now “regards the PWD community as any other community, whose needs are beyond only periodic handouts.”
He said relationship is that of constant liaison and that input from the PWDs are well regarded.
In the case of Nkwanta-South, a George Sarko Darkey, Teacher and a PWD, working as an Assembly Member of Brewuniase has demonstrated the capacity of PWDs.
According to Mr Kenneth Ketor, Planning Officer the PWDs are impacting positively on the society.
He said Mr Darkey was instrumental in the provision of a health centre for his community.
Mr Ketor said Mr Darkey followed through the project from conception, planning to implementation.
He said the opportunity is there at Nkwanta-South for all-inclusive governance with full complement of PWDs.
Francis Asong, Executive Director of Voice-Ghana said time is up for PWDs to move from the fringes of society to participate in all governance affairs of their communities.
The project is also supporting 20 PWD groups to build their capacities in advocating their rights.
Mr Asong said surveys indicate that many PWDs sleep on their rights, while the authorities only pay lip service to their needs.
He said the project which seeks to promote mainstreaming of disability issues in local planning should enable PWDs to benefit from public goods and services and development initiatives. GNA