The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Mamle Morrison in a message marking the 2019 International Persons with Disabilities Day which falls on December 3, has indicated that the government was working to promote the participation of persons with disabilities in the national development agenda.
She said the government will continue its culture of consulting persons with disabilities, particularly through its federation organisation, the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations and other specialised bodies working for the interest of children with disabilities.
Below is a copy of the full address of the Minister
National Council on Persons with Disability
ON THE 3RD DECEMBER 2019
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Ghana joins the rest of the world to celebrate 3rd December as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The observance of the day has been designated to highlight and promote disability issues and mobilize support for their effective participation and inclusion in mainstream national development.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 development agenda”.
Successive governments, including the Government of the day, have taken a number of measures to ensure that persons with disabilities are “not left out of national development”, but are given equal opportunities to participate in all facets of national endeavor.
Today, persons with disabilities have access to basic to tertiary education. Remarkably, the universities over the past decades, for example, have witnessed increasing enrolment of persons with disabilities pursuing different disciplines and are excelling academically.
As part of Government’s efforts towards social inclusion of persons with disabilities, the Government flagship programs have been extended to persons with disabilities.
The Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) has so far employed Eighty (80) graduates who are persons with disabilities and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) has also covered a number of persons with disabilities.
To increase and enhance the participation of persons with disabilities in the national economy, the Ministry of Business Development has initiated the “Women with Disabilities Empowerment Programme”, where female Entrepreneurs who are persons with disabilities are supported with seed capital.
The beneficiaries include mothers of children with cerebral palsy. The beneficiaries received training in book-keeping and bank accounts were opened for them.
Furthermore, the Government is gradually rolling out the Inclusive Education policy to ensure that no child with disability is left out of education.
Teachers are being given the requisite training in the effective implementation of the Inclusive Education Policy and they are gradually cultivating the habit of accommodating every child with disability.
Currently, Ghana can boast of thirty-two (32) persons with disabilities who are part of district assemblies made up of those who were elected and those who were appointed.
It is also worth noteworthy that the President also appointed a person with disability as a District Chief Executive (DCE) for Sunyani West in the person of– Honorable Martin Obeng.
In strengthening the legal framework for mainstreaming disability in development agenda through leadership positions in Ghana, the President appointed some persons with disabilities to be Board Members of some state institutions such as the Governing Board of the National Council on Persons with Disability, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NACCA) and Youth Employment Agency just to mention a few. The Government has also appointed the first female person with disability to be the Executive Secretary of the National Council on Persons with Disability.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection through the National Council on Persons with Disability is currently sensitizing the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies on mainstreaming disability into their development Agenda, effective periodical reporting on the Management and Disbursement of the Common Fund for persons with disabilities.
Particularly, the Physical Planning Departments and Works Departments of the MMDAs are being sensitized on the implementation of the Ghana Accessibility Standards on the Built Environment so as to make the environment barrier free; the Social Welfare Departments of MMDAs are being sensitized on the Management and Disbursement of the 3% Common Fund for persons with disabilities and on building the capacity of Fund Management Committees for the 3% Common Fund for Persons with Disabilities (persons with disabilities have automatic two seats on these committees). The sensitization is currently ongoing in Accra and will be extended to other MMDAs in the country.
Significantly, the Technical Committee for the Review of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) and Drafting of the Accompanying Legislative Instrument has been launched to work in reviewing the Act 715 to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.
In the later part of 2018, Parliamentarians who constitute the law-making body of Ghana availed themselves to be sensitised on disability at the “Speakers Breakfast Forum” to strengthen the inclusion of disability.
In conclusion, the Government of Ghana will continue its culture of consulting persons with disabilities, particularly through its federation organization, the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations and other specialized bodies working for the interest of children with disabilities.
Above all, I urge all stakeholders to collaborate with the National Council on Persons with Disability for the realization of policies and strategies for the effective participation of persons with disabilities towards the achievement of sustainable development goals.
On this significant day of 3rd December 2019, I congratulate all civil society organizations (CSOs) who are complementing the efforts of Government to better the lives of persons with disabilities including the various local funders.
I commend all other Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments for taking practical measures to make persons with disabilities participants in the achievement of the sustainable development goals. I also commend the private sectors who are adopting Policies on Disability Inclusion and I hope that others may emulate such a worthy cause.
I wish all Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and all persons with disabilities a happy Observation Day of 3rd December, the International Persons with Disabilities Day.
Source: Graphic Online