- …side event on the key to implementation of UNCRPD
Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD)
GFD is a non-governmental, not-for-profit and non-partisan umbrella organisation of Persons with Disabilities and the legitimate voice of persons with disabilities in Ghana. GFD has been in existence for over 30 years and currently has nine specific impairment organisations.
They are the Mental Health Society of Ghana, Ghana Blind Union, Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism, Sharecare Ghana, Inclusion Ghana, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Ghana Stammering Association and the Burns Survivors Association.
GFD champions engagements toward assuring the rights of persons with disabilities to access education, employment, health, economic welfare, recreation, the built environment, justice, information and governance. We work with our partners to advocate for a legislative regime that is sensitive to all persons with disabilities in Ghana and beyond
Overall, at the National level GFD influences the development and implementation of key national legislation and policies to include the needs of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs): such as the 1992 constitution (Article 29); the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) sections 45-53; the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) sections 3 and 10; National Disability Policy 2000; and Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), etc.
It is therefore not surprising that in anticipation of the need for government to make informed commitments which will significantly improve the livelihood of persons with disabilities post-2022 GDS, the Federation took relevant steps to engage the government of Ghana.
Specific STEPS taken to engage government
To enable the Federation engage government on possible areas of commitment, a desk review was first conducted on various domestic and international reports which had been developed between 2019 and 2021 to draw out some of the major challenges confronting Persons with Disabilities in Ghana.
Beyond that, we went ahead to engage our membership across all regions of the country to elicit the existing developmental needs of Persons with Disabilities in Ghana in relation to the thematic areas of focus for the GDS 2022.
The work that the Federation did in trying to put together the developmental needs of Persons with disabilities served as the fundamental documentation that informed about 90 percent of the government-intended commitments for the GDS, 2022.
And so what…?
These various achievements of the GFD have come as a result of the highly trained and professional staff that run the organisation’s secretariat. These are persons who are renumerated based on projects funded by various donor partners. They often stand a risk of either losing their renumeration entirely or having it reduced based on the level of donor funding available for projects.
What worsens the matter is that most donor partners these days are not ready to adequately fund the human resource component of projects’ budgets.
Government subventions for the running of DPOs/OPDs: The Ministry of Finance should set a percentage of the Annual Budget of the country to support operations.
Government should establish Disability Fund for national and regional level operations. This can be done by setting aside a percentage of funds drawn from corporate social initiatives, particularly from the extractive and telecommunication industries. DPOs/OPDS should be allowed to request staff from government agencies for secondments. And there should be enhancement of human resource capacity for DPOs/OPDs through government-initiated scholarships
I call on Commonwealth heads of government, particularly those in developing countries, to take on board as a matter of urgency financially resourcing DPOs/OPDs for the sustenance of their effective work – which ultimately benefits government.
>>>the writer is the President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations. She can be reached at [email protected]