The Programme Manager for the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Programme of the CBC Health Services has remarked that some 17 Councils in the Northwest have been exceptional in the implementation of activities following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between them and the Programme in 2015. Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac was speaking on January 8, 2016 at the Baptist Center Nkwen in Bamenda.
As stated on the MoU, the Councils have amongst other responsibilities to mainstream disability in interventions undertaken by other development stakeholders within their municipalities and in Council policies. In executing the activities on the MoU, 14 of the 17 Councils have appointed a disability focal person in their Councils. According to the partnership, the SEEPD Programme has a responsibility to provide Councils with capacity in disability inclusive disability through workshops and other training opportunities. It is against this backdrop that the SEEPD programme in accordance with Article 4.1.1 of the MoU organized a two day workshop for the disability focal persons appointment by the Councils to provide them with the relevant capacities needed to monitor the implementation of the disability inclusive action plans for the Councils.
Expatiating on each of the activities on the MoU, the SEEPD Programme Manager, Mr. Awa said the goal of the MoU that runs from January 2015 to December 2018, is to foster collaboration in achieving comprehensive inclusive development. He called on the disability focal persons to be vigilant in ensuring that all their Council policies are disability inclusive. He pledged the readiness of the SEEPD Programme in supporting the Councils to implement their activities spelled out on the MoU.
One of the high points of the workshop was drilling the participants on their role as focal persons. The SEEPD Community Project Officer, Ms. Asheri Ngah highlighted that the primary role of the focal persons is to oversee the implementation of the MoU, supervise the work of the volunteers recruited, and support the Mayors in ensuring that all Council actions are disability sensitive or friendly.
She called on the focal persons to have a good mastery of the MoU and have good understanding of Council systems in order to implement activities properly.
For her part, Ms. Tina Ashiyo schooled the participants on disability inclusive development. She regretted that persons with disabilities face barriers like exclusion from mainstream aspects of social life, discrimination and stigma, violation of their rights amongst others. Tina Ashiyo challenged the focal persons to create awareness on the need for persons with disabilities to be included into the development process given that they make up a significant percentage of the population.
With an understanding of what is expected of them, the disability focal persons took commitments to facilitate the execution of activities on the MoU by constantly following up with the Council administration for implementation.
Earlier, the CBC Health Services Personnel Manager, Mr. Ndosak George who represented the Director of Health Services described the partnership between the Councils and the CBC Health Services as a fruitful one. It should be noted that engaging stakeholders in its activities is a way of sustaining its achievement beyond phase three of the SEEPD Programme.
The workshop was closely followed by a four day workshop that took place from the 15 -18 February, 2016 to train CBR volunteers that have been recruited by some Councils as agreed in the MoU. The volunteers were drilled on the concept of CBR and SEEPD Programme and how to identify and assess people with disabilities. The over 120 volunteers and field workers were educated on how to assess different disabilities like mental health, low vision, ear, nose and throat complications and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in the community.