Project Officers (POs) of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme of the CBC Health Services now have a better understanding on “Disability and Inclusive Development”. Their skills were sharpened during a training workshop that took place from the May 5-7, 2015 at Fini Hotel in Limbe, Southwest Region.
The workshop was organized by the Christofell Blinden Mission (CBM) Regional Office for Central Africa with the objective of educating participants on the concept of disability and inclusion. This was also an opportunity for the POs to know the mission, vision and history of CBM; the main funding partner of the SEEPD Programme.
During the workshop, participants acquired knowledge on cycle of poverty and disability, human rights and disability, inclusive project cycle management amongst others.
The facilitator of the workshop, Michael Mwanda, who is the Inclusive Development Officer at CBM Regional Office for Africa Central said CBM is an international Christian development organization committed to improving on the quality of life of persons with disabilities with the vision to have an inclusive world in which all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights. Thus, “disability and inclusive development” which was the theme of the workshop, seeks to ensure the full participation of people with disability as empowered self-advocates in all development processes and emergency responses and work to address the barriers which hinder their access and participation. CBM that started in 1908 has as values Christianity, Internationalism, Integrity, Professionalism, Communication, and inclusion. The facilitator stressed that CBM strongly holds to these values, which any organization partnering with them must respect.
According to the world report on disability in 2011, about 15% of the world’s population is made up of people with disabilities. The Inclusive Development Officer noted that disability is a major development concern not only for individuals with disabilities but for their family members and communities. He regretted that family members, communities or the society at large, often create barriers like physical, institutional, attitudinal and communication barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from being included in development activities .To break these barriers, participants were drilled on the twin track approach whereby they will have to empower persons with disabilities with the skills of inclusion and on the other hand advocate for society to mainstream them in developmental issues given that their role in development cannot be over emphasized.
Another topic treated the “Models of disability” comprising the charity model which focuses on the individuals and trends to view people with disability as objects of pity, medical model which sees disability as a health condition, social model which focuses on the society and considered that the problem lies with society responsible for the barriers that exclude people with disabilities and the rights based model which is based on equity and rights and seeks to include all people within society. Mr. Nwanda noted that CBM promotes a social and human rights approach to disability. According to him, a foundational part is the investment of CBM in good quality health and education services as well as increasing opportunities for livelihood, community development and self-advocacy.
Participants also acquired knowledge on “inclusive project cycle management” which is a tool to initiate plan, implement, monitor and evaluate projects with partner target groups and communities. The facilitator advised the participants to implement their project with an inclusive lens while ensuring that gender is reflected at every stage of an activity.
The workshop was characterized by group work during which participants shared ideas and came out with action plans on the different topics. At the end of the workshop, the SEEPD officers appreciated CBM and the facilitator for organizing the training as it increases their knowledge on disability. They promised to implement the lessons acquired in their different projects of work.