Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) Program Manager, Mrs. Agho Glory has called on all relevant stakeholders in the East, North and Far North Regions of Cameroon to put their hands-on deck to put an end to the exclusion of
children with disabilities out of their communities. She made the call during a two-week supervisory trip that took her and her team to Partner Organizations based in the above-mentioned regions from July 16-30, 2020.
Apart from the usual supervisory trip to assess the level of achievement of planned activities, solve challenges and do reorientations where needed, the team also had as top priority to carry out advocacy meetings with relevant stakeholders in the regions visited to request for the involvement of children, youths and adults with disabilities in all areas of mainstream development as provided by relevant national and international laws. For several decades, children with disabilities have been denied their rights as humans in many parts of the country. This has led to their exclusion from family to community life, depriving humanity from talents that could be explored and exploited for the common good. It is with the understanding that no sustainable development can be achieved with a significant portion of the population left out, that the EDID program embarked on a crusade for inclusion in the East and Northern Regions of the country.
For this noble course to be achieved, the advocacy caravan targeted two types of stakeholders who are at the center of community integration and development: Regional Delegations of Social Affairs and the Councils, drivers of local development as stipulated by the law on decentralization.
At the Regional Delegations, discussions centered on the various strategies the delegations can employ to provide technical assistance in enhancing the work of the Partner Organizations based in their regions. All the three Regional Delegates of Social Affairs visited were enthusiastic to partner with the EDID Program through her Partner Organizations to ensure that the basic rights of children with disabilities are respected to give them access to opportunities on an equal basis with their peers without disabilities. This, they acknowledged, will require education and sensitization of the populations on the ills of all forms of discriminations against children with disabilities, legal actions where needed, and collaboration with relevant government departments such as education, health, employment and vocational training amongst others at all levels.
A total of five Councils were visited during the supervisory trip including two City Councils of Maroua and Garoua. At each of the Councils, Mrs. Agho Glory justified the visit by government’s prescription in Article 7 of the 2010 Law on the protection and the promotion of persons with disabilities that stipulates that the state, the decentralized collectivities, the civil society and international partners shall work hand in hand to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream development actions. She observed that the law on decentralization has devolved power to handle issues of local development to the Councils; therefore, it was only proper to knock at their doors to ask that children, youths and adults with disabilities be included in all plans of development in their various municipalities.
Detailing the work of the CBC Health Services in the area of disabilities since 1952, she expressed the organization’s availability to accompany the Councils technically on issues of disability inclusion. While some Councils expressed their readiness to embark on such a win-win partnership, promising to allocate part of their annual budget in the coming years to address issues of inclusion in various sectors of development in their municipalities, others requested for time to go through the draft MoU that was presented to them.
Judging from the enthusiasm of all stakeholders visited to board the inclusion train, it will not be farfetched to assert that the future of children with disabilities will be better in the coming years. The EDID Program Manager thinks this can be achieved if efforts are not relented and every stakeholder keeps the fire of inclusion consistently burning.