Unlocking an Inclusive Society for Persons with Disabilities in Southern Africa

Archive for July, 2015

BOFOD Welcomes SAFOD Secretariat to Botswana

bofod_sofod_meeting_3

BOFOD and SAFOD delegates to the courtesy meeting

On 4 February 2015, BOFOD held a courtesy meeting to officially welcome back the SAFOD Secretariat, particularly its new Director General, Mr. Mussa Chiwaula, to Botswana.

During the meeting, BOFOD gave a brief report on its programs and relationships that it had cultivated with other stakeholders. BOFOD Coordinator, Ms. Shirley Keoagile, said BOFOD was made up of 10 Disability Peoples Organisations (DPOs) that are affiliated to the federation as members.

She also explained that the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) provides some grants to BOFOD to enable the operation of the secretariat and assist youth with disabilities who are unemployed to start their own businesses or projects to improve their lives.

In his remarks, SAFOD Director General said SAFOD was ready to provide any expert advice that BOFOD would need. He said SAFOD would be happy t support BOFOD in fundraising activities, capacity building, particularly in the development of a strategic plan, among other things.

“Policy and research are activities we are also going to focus on, as we need policy to ensure that Governments strategically implement programs that benefit persons with disabilities. And in terms of research, we need to have data available if we are to effectively design and implement these programs,”  he added.

BOFOD Chairperson, Mr. Omphemetse Ramabokwa, reminded the the delegates that SAFOD had come to support BOFOD, besides other national affiliates in the ten countries where it operates, and he therefore encouraged BOFOD to provide the necessary support to ensure that the federation works cordially together with the umbrella for the benefit of the persons with disabilities in the country.

FODPZ Cherishes Turning Point in its Revival Bid

FODPZ Zimbabwe

FODPZ is one of the few SAFOD affiliates that have experienced declining institutional capacity the past few years.

The first quarter of the year 2015 was a turning point for SAFOD’s national affiliate in Zimbabwe, the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Zimbabwe (FODPZ). It is one of the few affiliates that has experienced internal institutional challenges over the past years which resulted in the federation’s declining institutional capacity (and to some extent, credibility) to manage disability programs as there was no strong governance structure in place after the tenure of its Executive Board expired.

However, the good news is that during the first quarter of 2015, the major highlight was the successful convening of an elective General Assembly on 27 to 28 February for the first time in fourteen years, which elected into office a seven member national committee for a three year term consisting of three men and four women. Funding from CBM enabled FODPZ to hold the elective general assembly.

Despite the federation experiencing institutional challenges prior to the General Assembly, FODPZ is in the third and final year of partnership with African Development Alliance (ADA). The partnership, whose objective is to implement a project called Communities of Practice in Disability Advocacy for Mainstreaming (COPDAM), targets influential government technocrats. COPDAM project also seeks influence civic organizations to embrace disability issues in all spheres of their work.

Although it is sad that the FODPZ’s funding for COPDAM project will be ending at the end of the year; the good news is that CBM promised to fund FODPZ to continue the activities of COPDAM. Several meetings were held between CBM officials and FODPZ. CBM is also organizing a meeting of all international development donor agents based in Harare, in order to introduce and link them with FODPZ. The tentative dates for the meeting is middle June this year.

Zimbabwe has no disability policy in place although there is a Disabled Persons Act (DPA) which was passed by Parliament in 1996. FODPZ together with other stakeholders produced a draft disability policy. The document can only become a policy when approved by Government.

It is however understood that Cabinet approved the draft Policy this year. The last stage left is the validation and the signing of the document by the responsible Government minister. The date for a meeting to validate the Disability Policy is not yet set by Government.

FODPAX new partner, CBM, has confirmed it may possibly fund the holding of the stakeholders’ meeting to finalize the validation of the Draft Policy.

NFPDN Elects New Executive Members at National Congress

On 11th to the 12th February 2015, the  National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) organized a National Congress held at Keetmanshoop which elected eight new Board Members of NFPDN.

With financial and technical support from the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Prime Minister, the Congress was an outcome of the unwavering efforts by the disability movement in the country in their effort to revive the NFPDN after years inactivity.

At the time when the federation was still active, SNFPDN had been involved in a number of activities geared at uplifting the rights and welfare of Persons with Disabilities in Namibia through its affiliated Disability Peoples Organisations (DPOs).

From 2003 – 2005, NFPDN had been working actively in the implementation of the Awareness Building Campaign (ABC) in partnership with SAFOD and FFO. During that period, NFPDN led several successful events which brought together stakeholders to discuss disability issues within the Namibian context. The ABC contributed an important ideological contribution to change the understanding and attitudes of people with disabilities – going from charity to independence. ABC also gave local activities on disability issues a nation-wide perspective.

NFPDN had bought many assets. Some of them were still new and in very good condition. However, as of February 2015, (i.e. prior to the Congress), most of its office items, including vehicles and computers were sold without the federation’s knowledge when its offices closed down. NFPDN therefore had to almost start from scratch shortly after the Congress, embarking on journey of rebuilding.

Due to a number of institutional challenges ranging to leadership and management problems, the federation scaled down its activities for several years, and its secretariat shut down.  Before experiencing the downturn, the federation was being funded by the European Union (EU) for four years. Funding from the EU enabled it to establish offices in Opuwo, Oshakati, Rundu and Windhoek. After it ran out of funds all its operations ended.

The “death” of NFPDN proved to be a huge blow to the disability movement and advocacy in the country as there was no longer a credible structure to coordinate the activities of DPOs as well as provide direction and capacity-building of DPOs in advocacy for disability rights, mainstreaming and overall inclusive development.

Besides the elections of Board Members, the National Congress also sought to explore and strategize on how the federation could be strengthened and enhance programs for people with disabilities as part of the revival process after years of institutional decline.  And the new Board was mandated to deliberate on how it would go about reviving the federation.

The National Congress, which was attended by people with disabilities from different regions and DPOs, therefore elected the following  names of individuals who will run the federation in the next four years:

Chairperson:
Daniel Trum (NFVI)

Vice chairperson:
Sylvia Chindunka (Parent)

Secretary:
Gabriel Shikwaya (Albino Trust/Youth)

Treasurer: 
Julian Samuel (NFVI)

Additional members:
Elia Shapwa (NNAD)
Seblon Nakakuwa (NOYD)
Soini Mukwangu
Anguezell Lottering (NOYD)