By: Ewoenam Kpodo | Voltaonlinegh.com |
Representative of Kekeli Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) for persons with disability (PWDs), Mr Eric Ofori has called for sign language to be incorporated in the curriculum of training institutions especially health to cater for the medical needs of PWDs.
The visually impaired described as worrying the number of challenges PWDs face in accessing services in public institutions in terms of physical structures and provision of essential services including medical service to them.
He said most of the assemblies “lack that capacity to support persons with disability especially those with hearing impairment” making it very challenging to such people to access health care.
He asked that government considers the needs of such people and make arrangements for their inclusion in the health delivery process.
“At the training institutions, sign language should be made at least, part of the curriculum so that whoever comes out should have some knowledge about sign language. And also, social welfare can play a role because we have a social welfare school where sign language is taught. We hope that they can bring some of these people on board to the public places so that when people come, they can be helped to access health care.”
Mr Ofori was highlighting the projects his organisation, which is a Star- Ghana Grant partner carried out on enhancing the inclusion of PWDs in 4 district assemblies in the Volta Region at a workshop on Thursday in the regional capital, Ho on the theme, “Enhanced Media-CSOs’ Partnerships for Inclusive Local Governance”.
The workshop engaged participants who included selected journalists and STAR-Ghana Grant Partners from the region on the need for media and CSOs coming together as a team, the roles to play, and strategies to develop to impress on government to ensure that it carries everyone along in implementing these reforms.
Programmes Manager, GJA/STAR-Ghana Project, Kojo Impraim speaking on media-CSOs policy engagement, explained that media’s work touches on local governance just like the CSOs and must help in educating the people on the proposed reforms which aims to decentralize the governance process.
He described for instance the impending referendum on creation of new regions as “not well communicated to the people” saying, “the bottom line is that you’re carving out a new region, your argument is that the place is underdeveloped and therefore, you want to develop the place. So we’re interested to understand the rationale behind and what your roadmap leading to the development is.”
He underscored the need for the partnership to engage government on these reforms because to him, “when we leave it to them (politicians), they will do it in a political jacket.”
On her part, Project Officer, GJA/STAR-Ghana Project, Rebecca Ekpe called on the media and NGOs to work together for a common goal as the two and every citizen of Ghana, owe a duty to the people.
“We owe the duty to our people. Educate them, inform them, and provide them what it takes to be part of the process. We owe them a responsibility not just as journalists but it is a constitutional mandate so it is a must that we to do it.”
Volta Regional Chairman, Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Kafui A.B. Kanyi agreed that the media’s activities are local governance-centred, having to do with reportage on issues about sanitation, water, among other things.
He therefore welcomed the project and assured that the partnership between media and CSOs will promote local governance issues in the region and Ghana as a whole.
Thursday’s workshop under GJA/STAR-Ghana Zonal Training for Media and Civil Society Organisations Project was the third of similar ones expected to be held across the country zoned into five: Greater-Accra and Eastern regions, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, Volta Region, Central and Western regions, and Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions.
The project, sponsored by STAR-Ghana and its donor partners is aimed at fostering collaboration between the media and CSOs to influence government on the 3 proposed major reforms bordering on local governance namely, the Constitutional Review and Reforms of the District Assembly Election, Proposed Election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives and the Creation of New Regions.