Persons with disability who constitute 6.9 % of the total population of the North West Region face barriers in different aspects of life that negatively affect their access to education, employment, health and social participation depriving their communities of their effective contribution to development.
In Cameroon, government’s efforts towards making persons with disabilities part of mainstream development are still minimal and concentrated at the level of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Taking into consideration that councils are increasingly being realized as key development actors, the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, SEEPD, a disability program under the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, CBCHS with the financial and technical support of CBM, organized a two day seminar to drill some Mayors and their collaborators from the North West Region on the concepts and practice of disability inclusive development.
Opening the two day seminar, the Program Director of SEEPD Prof Tih Pius Muffih, who doubles as the CBC Health Services Director observed that that workshop was intended to provide councils with a thorough understanding of disability and inclusive development.
“The key expectation of the workshop is for each council to return with strategic action plan to facilitate disability inclusion in all areas of the council development” noted Prof Tih while wishing that NW councils stand out tall and clearly distinguished from all others through the use of skills and techniques acquired in the seminar so as to set the pace for the rest of the country to follow.
After the seminar the participants were unanimous that the experience and lessons gathered from their two day brainstorming will change the way they tackle disability related issues in their municipalities.
“We have learnt quite a lot from this seminar and I think that in the next session we will see marked improvement in budget allocation which favours persons leaving with disability” note the Mayor of Jakiri Council, Jaff Romanus.
During the seminar, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the participating councils and the SEEPD program.
Presenting the scope of the MOU, CBM’s Regional Director for Central Africa, Peter Mue said collaboration shall be in the areas of health and societal development, economic development and education, sports and cultural development.
“accepting to sign this MOU with us shows a great commitment on your part to take a step from routine development to disability inclusive development in your community” added Prof Tih.
The councils of Kumbo, Jakiri, Ndu and Nkambe were singled out and congratulated for their strides in including persons with disabilities in their action plans.
About CBM and SEEPD
CBM is an international Christian development organization, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world.
Based on its Christian values and over 100 years of professional expertise, CBM addresses poverty as a cause and a consequence of disability, and works in partnership to create an inclusive society for all.
The Socio Economic Empowerment of People with Disabilities (SEEPD) on the other hand is a comprehensive cluster programme based in the Northwest Region of Cameroon with a target population of approximately 1.7 million people. It is run in partnership with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services. The purpose of the programme is to ensure that People with Disabilities (PWD) in the region are socially and economically empowered.
The Programme is in line with the Cameroon Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) which prescribes the adaptation of infrastructure and mechanisms for social integration of PWDs.
SEEPD has recently signed an agreement to include ‘Inclusive Education’ in the Higher Teachers’ training programme. The project is also working with 14 government schools in the region to pilot the inclusive education component and the examinations board to prepare examinations on time in Braille. This has been achieved through the provision of a Braille Machine to the exam board.