The Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme has commended the efforts of some Councils in the NWR for promoting disability inclusive local governance. Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac, SEEPD Programme Manager was speaking recently during a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) visit to some Councils one year after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with them. The SEEPD Programme Manager was accompanied during the visit by the CBCHS Community Based Rehabilitation Supervisor, SEEPD Programme Officer, Community Project Officer, Communications Officer, and Child Protection Officer.
The M&E visits that began in September 2016 have so far taken the team to Kumbo, Nkum, Bamenda I, and II, Mbengwi, Belo Batibo, Jakiri, and Bali Councils. During the visit to each of the Councils, the SEEPD Programme Manager noted that the objective of the visit was to assess progress made towards disability inclusion, identify gaps and provide relevant support. He took time to explain the monitoring tool designed to capture achievements on local governance, implementation of action plans, education for children with disabilities, livelihood, and child protection. After administering the tool, general discussions ensued on challenges and recommendations.
On capacity for local governance, the Councils noted that they have formalized their partnerships with the SEEPD programme after deliberations in their Council sessions. As a result of the partnership, some of the Council staff have received capacity building on Disability and Inclusive Development (D&ID).
With regards to actions undertaken as a move towards ensuring disability inclusive communities, the Councils cited amongst others that they have organized community outreaches in collaboration with the SEEPD programme with many communities benefiting, appointment of disability and child protection focal persons, engagement and management of community volunteers. These volunteers, they noted, had been trained by the programme to carry out sensitizations, identify persons with disabilities in their municipalities and refer to the Councils.
In efforts to facilitate learning for children with impairments, the Kumbo Council recruited a sign language teacher, while the Jakiri, Belo, Bamenda I &II facilitate school fees exemption for CWDs.
Talking on the livelihood of people with disabilities, most of the Councils reported that since the formalization of the MoU with the programme in 2015, they have consciously put in place measures to encourage livelihood initiatives for PWDs. Some of such measures include: tax exemption, provision of small capital to start up business, support into vocational training, amongst others.
Despite the achievements recorded, the Councils noted some challenges including limited capacity on D&ID for most Council staff, and limited funds to implement designed activities. The SEEPD team re-assured the Councils of continuous technical support and that all planned activities would be eventually achieved so long as the interest remains steady.