Unlocking an Inclusive Society for Persons with Disabilities in Southern Africa

Archive for December, 2015

SAFOD Presents Preliminary Findings on DPOs Capacity

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SAFOD Programs Manager, George Kayange (Centre), presenting a snapshot of the preliminary findings of the Capacity Assessment of the Southern and Eastern African DPOs.

SAFOD presented preliminary results of the Capacity Assessment of DPOs in Southern and Eastern Africa at a workshop organized by the Africa Child Policy Forum (ACPF) in partnership with Africa Disability Forum (ADF) and Wets Africa Federation of the Disabled (WAFOD), held at Niamey, Niger, from 26th to 27th November 2015.

The regional workshop aimed, among others, to encourage the uptake of the evidence around child protection, with a particular focus on the protection challenges facing children with disabilities and the corresponding responses and generate multi-stakeholder consensus towards action, including on better ways of mainstreaming the rights of CWDs within the DPO agenda.

During the workshop, ACPF also launched the African Knowledge and Learning Platform on Children with Disabilities, which will serve as a knowledge and information sharing platform amongst like-minded organizations on children with disabilities in Africa.

The main objective of the workshop was to present robust evidence towards accelerating regional and national efforts to prevent and respond to violence against children with disabilities. It also drew attention and created visibility to the nature and scope of the problem of violence against children with disabilities in Africa by presenting empirical evidence contained in the African Report on Violence against Children and the African Report in Children with Disabilities: Promising Start and Persisting Challenges. An in-depth analysis of the workshop objectives, goals, and structure can be accessed on the ACPF website here; or by downloading their Concept Note here.

SAFOD was engaged by ACPF to conduct the DPOs’ assessment in Southern and Eastern African sub-regions with a view of informing ACPF and ADF in their efforts of strengthening the formulation and implementation of relevant policies for children with disabilities in Africa.

During the presentation of the preliminary (unofficial) findings  at the workshop, Mr George Kayange, SAFOD’s Programs Manager who was lead researcher for Southern and Eastern Africa sub-regions, indicated that  while there were a lot of DPOs doing quite praiseworthy work on the ground, a lot also needed to be done to ensure that they not only remained strategically focused but were also able to formulate, understand, articulate and re-align their own mission, vision and mandates with the work that they actually do on the ground.

It was also found that most of the DPOs at all levels – national, sub-regional and continental – were still grappling with issues of sustainability and resource mobilization. Both skilled and non-skilled staff were not adequate to effectively carry out programs and activities of the organisations in the their respective DPOs.

To read a full analysis of the findings, including recommendations, look out for the final report on this blog soon. A link to the full report on the ACPF’s website will also be provided.

Delegates Outline Resolutions At Inclusive Education Symposium

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Cantol Pondja, from FAMOD in Mozambique, presenting an inclusive education case study for Mozambique. His presentation was among the five case studies from five countries.

SAFOD organized the Southern Africa Symposium on Inclusive Education from 23 – 24 November 2015, at Holiday Inn, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The symposium sought to consolidate experiences and good practices from the SADC region that would lead to strengthening the capacity of governments, CSOs, and DPOs, in promoting access to quality Inclusive Education.

At the end of the Symposium, participants came up with resolutions committing themselves to specific actions and strategies beyond the event that would accelerate Inclusive Education for learners with disabilities.

During the event, case studies from five countries –  namely Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia and Lesotho out of the ten countries where SAFOD works in – were presented and discussed. The five countries represent half of the ten countries in which SAFOD operates.

It is envisaged that this is the first of the inclusive education symposiums that SAFOD is planing to host in future under its inclusive education program, and it is expected that  case studies from the other remaining countries – namely South Africa, Botswana, Angola, Swaziland and Zimbabawe – will be featured and discussed at the next symposium.

The symposium created a platform where practical solutions to some of the challenges were identified and lessons learnt culminated into resolutions. In order to view or download the resolutions, visit SAFOD’s special website dedicated for the symposium here! 

SAFOD Elects New Executive

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FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Mr Lazaro who maintained his position as Honorary Treasurer/Secretary; Mr Pombal who was outgoing Chairperson; and Mrs Kachaje who replaced Mr Pombal

The Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) held its 5th General Assembly from 24th to 25th November 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where elections for the new Regional Executive Council (REC) were conducted.

During the REC elections, Mrs Rachel Kachaje from Malawi, won the votes for the position of Chairperson, replacing the outgoing Chairperson, Mr Adao Joao Pombal from Angola. At the time of assuming the position of the chairperson, Mrs Kachaje was also serving as Secretary for the Africa Disability Forum (ADF), as well as Chairperson for the Disabled Women in Africa (DIWA).

Mr Musa Makhanya, from Swaziland, won the seat of Deputy Chairperson (Development). At the time of of being elected, he was Secretary for the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Swaziland (FODSWA).

Makhanya’s counterpart, Ms. Nondumiso Shongwe, who was also an Executive Member of the FODSWA at the time of elections, won the position of Deputy Chairperson (Women And Under-Represented Groups), meaning both deputy chairpersons were from Swaziland.

Mr Manuel Alphenso Felia Lazaro, from Mozambique, maintained the position of Honorary Treasurer/Secretary. Mr Lazaro has been representing the Forum of Associations of Disabled People in Mozambique (FAMOD) in the REC for more than eight years. Besides Mrs Kachaje, he is therefore currently the longest serving REC member.

Ms Masenate Ntahli Griffiths, from Lesotho, won the seat of Chairperson of the Regional Women’s Committee. She represented the Lesotho National Federation of the Disabled (LNFOD).

The position of the Chairperson of the Youth Committee was won by Mr Aderito Fernandes from Angola. He represented the Federation of Organisations of Disabled People in Angola (FAPED).

Mr Lehlohonolo Molisana from Lesotho and Mr Neiso Modise from Botswana were voted as Council Members. They represented the LNFOD and Botswana Federation of Disabled People (BOFOD), respectively.

 

SAFOD Holds 5th General Assembly

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Delegates representing nine countries that participated at the SAFOD’s 5th General Assembly, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) held its 5th General Assembly from 24th to 25th November 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where among other businesses, elections for the new Regional Executive Council (REC) were conducted.

SAFOD had successfully organised the General Assembly, which was being held under the theme “Together we can rebuild and strengthen SAFOD and the disability sector in the region”, after almost eight years since the last General Assembly was held due to institutional challenges that the organisation had gone through.

In his Chairperson’s report, outgoing Chairperson, Mr Adao Joao Pombal, expressed excitement that finally, the membership of SAFOD had met not only to elect new leadership into the REC whose term expired in 2012.

“Even with the term expired we recruited the new Director General and created the Revival Committee,”he said.

Mr Pombal told the delegates that the General Assembly was one of the most critical element, or engine of governance, for any serious membership-based organisation, as it was one of the most important yardsticks in determining whether an organisation was alive or not.

“Without the General Assembly, it is as good as rendering ourselves non-existent, because the power to govern lies in you, the members, and there is no other platform where you can exercise such powers other than the General Assembly,”he said.

In his welcoming remarks, SAFOD Director General, Mr Mussa Chiwaula. said the General Assembly was a significant milestone especially since the organisation began the revival process in 2013.

The new REC will serve SAFOD for at least the next five years when another General Assembly is scheduled will be held, as per the constitution.

The whole rationale behind this theme is to ensure that we continue the process of reviving and rebuilding our most beloved organisation, SAFOD, so that we reclaim the glory and respect that we used to command in the region for years,”he said.

Mrs Rachel Kachaje, Chairperson of the Revival Committee – a special task-force that was instituted to oversee the revival process of SAFOD – expressed her gratitude to the Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People (FFO) for relentless bankrolling the whole revival process of SAFOD.

Said Mrs Kachaje: “It is my prayer that what happened in SAFOD will be lessons that each one of us has to learn from and that we hold hands together in solidarity. We should always remember that we all have differences but our common denominator is disability. Let us focus our eyes on it.”

SAFOD is a disability-focused network engaged in coordination of activities of organisations of Persons with Disabilities in the Southern Africa region. The organisation was formed in 1986 by persons with disabilities as a federation of Disability Peoples Organisations (DPOs) with a strong presence in 10 countries, namely Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Besides holding elections of the REC, the General Assembly also deliberated on various reports presented by the outgoing Chairperson, Honorary Treasurer/ Secretary, Chairperson of the Revival Committee, and endorsed the SAFOD’s auditor.