“We Ring the Bell” is a global campaign initiated by Liliane Fonds, an organisation supporting children living with disabilities. Since 2016, Cameroon has been taking part in this advocacy campaign. This mobilization was established as a strategy to raise awareness and encourage public action to promote the education of children with disabilities. So far, more than 120,000 decision-makers have already been mobilized in 102 countries, committed to the education of children with disabilities. This annual mobilization calls on all those in power to take the necessary measures to enable children with disabilities to have access to education.
In Cameroon, since 2020, MINAS has taken the leadership of the initiative and now organises it annually in collaboration with CBCHS and other actors in the education system, particularly the ministries in charge of basic and secondary education. The activities undertaken include awareness-raising meetings with those in power, awareness marches in the streets and main towns, general awareness-raising in the media, the signing of a manifesto by actors declaring or reaffirming their commitment to inclusive education for children with disabilities. The high-level involvement driven by MINAS has effectively strengthened the country’s effort towards full inclusion in Cameroon in line with SDG 4 which prescribes to “Promote inclusive education as a key means to achieve sustainable development”. The 2021 campaign is part of a logic of sustainable mobilization.
Due to the COVID 19 health crisis, the 2021 campaign will be purely virtual and will rely on new technologies to achieve its objectives.
According to global statistics on disability, 90% of the world’s children with disabilities do not attend school, representing about 33 million children in absolute terms. Most of these children live in the poorest regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Several studies show that barriers such as attitudes, infrastructure/environments, communication, and institutions contribute significantly to this limited access. Over the years, international NGOs have worked with governments and local NGOs to overcome these barriers through inclusive education systems in many countries. The fact that an entire goal is devoted, within the framework of the UN’s sustainable development goal – SDG 4 – to access to education for all is indicative of the global concern.
The intensification of mobilization through the “We Ring the Bell” annual campaign aims at stimulating the implementation of innovative strategies to promote access to education for children with disabilities, and thus contribute to the speeding up of the achievement of SDG 4 in Cameroon.
This event will be jointly organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs, MINEDUB and MINESEC with the technical and financial support of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services.
A Central Consultative Team including representatives of the above-mentioned ministerial departments and institutions will be set up under the technical leadership of the CBCHS EDIDP Program to coordinate the implementation of the operational framework.
The CBCHS team will go back to the key power holders engaged before and during the campaign to continue discussions leading to concrete actions at the central, regional, and local levels. Follow-up beyond the campaign has been carefully considered in the 2021 campaign work plan