The Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID), is a programme under the Director of Health Services’ office which provides financial, technical, material and moral support to over 30 Partner Organizations (POs) in Cameroon to ensure the empowerment and inclusive development of children and youths with disabilities aged 0-25 in Cameroon. Its vision is to ensure that children and youngsters with disabilities in Cameroon participate as equals in the lives of their families and communities. EDID partner organizations actively work in communities to identify children with disabilities and support them to have access to healthcare, education, social and livelihood opportunities. The programme is funded by the Dutch based Liliane Foundation.
The EDID Programme, formerly known simply as Liliane Foundation or Liliane Fonds, went operational as a program within the CBC Health Services in October 2014 with the signing of a partnership agreement between the CBC Health Services and the Dutch based Liliane Foundation. Before this time, the programme had been existing in Cameron for over 20 years using different approaches and under a different Strategic Partner Organization. With the program exclusively focused on the empowerment and inclusive development of its target beneficiaries, the name Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development was adopted to truly reflect this focus.
The core strategy of the EDID programme is Child Empowerment. Empowerment means increasing the child’s personal, social, educational and economic strengths to become active agents of change in their own communities. EDID in partnership with the Liliane Foundation uses a holistic approach in tackling disabilities, looking at the child as an individual and also in the context of his/her family, community and broadly in society, analysing all the factors/barriers that influence his/her development and quality of life and tackling them with appropriate interventions. Activities to accomplish this strategy are in two folds: directed at the child as an individual (child development) and removing barriers such as negative attitudes, inaccessibility of infrastructure/communication and inadequate institutional/policies that persons with disabilities face in their environment (Enabling Environment).
Child Development and Enabling Environment activities are implemented in the key areas of education, health, social and livelihood. Interventions are informed by the Liliane Foundation’s policy, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF); the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Community Based Rehabilitation approach. Some of the activities at each domain of intervention which can be undertaken by partner organizations approved by the director of the CBC Health services are as follows:
Child Development: The EDID programme supports approved partner organizations to address the individual education needs of children with disabilities. Interventions in this domain include the provision of extra assistance, specialized equipment, audio and other relevant devices, school fees, braille and sign language.
Enabling Environment: The EDID programme support POs in investing in activities/projects aimed at removing barriers at the education environment of its beneficiaries. These activities include small scale capacity development projects at community level; for instance training of teachers on how to use and teach braille, sign language, parents to support early learning of their children at home, infrastructural adjustment in schools, awareness/advocacy raising with the government.
Child Development: EDID programmesupport activities aimed at improving the individual health needs of target beneficiaries including provision of different assistive devices such as mobility devices, positioning devices, daily living devices, vision devices, hearing devices, communication and cognitive devices
Enabling environment: Partner organization are supported to organize activities aimed at reducing barriers in the health environment and assure accessible health care services and practice. These activities are geared at changing the negative attitudes and coping skills of parents and families forwards the health situation of their children, increasing their ability to manage the child’s impairment and improve their knowledge and skills for home based rehabilitation. Partners are also required to work on improving the skills and competencies of the staff within healthcare institutions to ensure quality healthcare and to raise awareness that children with disabilities have equal rights to receive healthcare and appropriate treatment and also ensuring that the infrastructure of health institutions are accessible .
The programme supports the five key elements of the social component which are personal assistance (relationships), marriage and family, culture and arts, recreation (leisure and sports) and access to justice which are crucial issues hindering social inclusion of children with disabilities:
Child development: Supporting Partner Organizations (POs) to effectively implement activities under the education and health components contributes in the social inclusion of the child. Notwithstanding, EDID also intentionally support its POs to intentionally carry out activities aimed at developing the child with disability for inclusion. Such activities include raising awareness and challenging the attitudes of family and community members by highlighting the talents and skills of children and youngsters with disabilities, ensuring that children and youths with disabilities participate in sporting and cultural activities together with their peers without disabilities.
Enabling environment: The EDID programme support POs in improving infrastructure and means of communication available to community centers, in ensuring that sporting and artistic venues are equipped and made accessible and also raise awareness for national and local authorities to enact and implement disability inclusive laws.
Child development: Although the EDID programme does not provide loans and credits, it encourages and supports POs in facilitating access to micro credits and micro finance services to youths with disabilities and development of saving groups.
Enabling environment: The EDID programme works with POs to ensure that local and national governments and non-governmental enterprises and companies become more open and improve their attitudes towards youths with disabilities by seeing them as having comparable capabilities to non-disabled people.
At helm of the management structure of the Services for Persons with Disabilities (SPD) is the Programme Director who is the Director of Health Services. He is assisted by two Programme Managers who each manage a programme; SEEPD and EDID. The EDID Programme Manager is in charge of ensuring that multi-annual planned activities under the EDID programme are carried out. She is assisted by a Programme Officer and a Finance Officer. The Programme Officer is in charge of monitoring partner organizations to ensure that reporting of their activities is done on time. The Finance Officer works in collaboration with the Chief of Administration and Finance of the CBC Health Services to ensure the proper and efficient management of programme’s finances. They also ensure that Partner Organizations that submit the report of their activities on time get funds for the continuous implementation of their activities.
The partner organizations who are funded by the programme submit justifications for funds bi-annually and the management team provides financial and narrative reports to the funding partners on a quarterly basis. The management team also monitors and evaluates the activities of Partner Organizations and assists them in capacity building when needed.