Within the framework of the collaborative partnerships established with local councils in the Northwest Region in 2015, the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SEEPD) programme of the CBC Health Services has been carrying out Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) visits to the partner Councils. The recent visits ran from January 13-27, 2017 in the following Councils: Ndop, Fundong, Wum and Tubah. The SEEPD supervisory team comprised of the Programme Officer, Chia Emmanuel, Community Based Rehabilitation Supervisor, Kenchi Joseph, Community Project Officer, Asheri Ngah, Child Protection Officer, Nsono Josephine and Communication Officer, Fru Rita Ngum.
During the visits, the SEEPD programme team called on the Councils to continue putting in place sustainable policies to support health care provision for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Inclusive Education, Livelihood, Child Protection, Gender and Recruitment to promote Inclusive Local Governance within their municipalities. The respective Deputy Mayors who welcomed the SEEPD programme team in each of the Councils appreciated the partnership, describing it as fruitful given its impact on the development of their municipalities.
At each of the four Councils, the Programme Officer, Mr. Chia Emmanuel opened discussions with the objective of the visit, which he said, was to assess progress made towards disability inclusion, identify gaps and provide relevant support. He explained 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 handled by Mr. Kenchi Joseph, 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).
Quizzed on the implementation of the action plan, the Councils cited key achievements to include: organization of outreach planning meetings and outreach screening programmes in collaboration with the SEEPD programme in some communities within their municipalities with visible impact on beneficiaries who testify for being able to access health care though based in the suburbs. The Councils view these successes as being facilitated by the engagement and training of Disability Focal Persons, Child Protection Focal Persons, and Community Volunteers with technical support from the SEEPD programme.
In 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 persons with disabilities. Some of such measures include: tax exemption, provision of small capital to start up business, support into vocational training, amongst others. On the education of children with disabilities, though some of the Councils have been taking care of the needs of some children with disability in the municipality they were encouraged to have a database of all persons with disability in the municipality and always do a need assessment before assisting them so that the assistance will meet the needs of the beneficiaries.
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.
Given that another possible phase of the programme may be focused on working with Councils, each Council was encouraged to give their expectations and results which could be used to design the Project. Most of the Councils expressed the need for setting up a child protection committee, putting in place policies that foster inclusive development, economically empowering persons with disabilities, amongst others.
At the end of discussions in each Council, the SEEPD Programme Officer appreciated the Councils for their efforts in promoting inclusive local governance while assuring them of the programme’s readiness to continue working with them.
It should be noted that the SEEPD Programme has already formalized working partnerships with 21 of the 34 Councils in the NWR and has so far visited 18 for monitoring and evaluation. It is envisaged that the support visits will sustain the partnership.