By Ashyio Tina
Partnership between the CBC Health Services and the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) began since the 1980’s to provide services for the prevention and rehabilitation of disabilities in the areas of health, education, livelihood and social inclusion through different projects.
This partnership has now grown by leaps and bounds. From 2020 the CBC Health Services has been running five CBM funded projects in the North West Region key among which are the Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) and the Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action (DIHA) Project.
Within the context of the partnership between the two organisations, the CBM International Humanitarian Action Project Manager, Paul Scherer, the CBM Regional CBID Advisor for West and Central Africa, Soumana Zamo and the CBM Cameroon Country Office Humanitarian Coordinator, Isaac Bahanac undertook a visit of the CBID and DIHA Projects.
The CBM officials visited the projects from August 4-6, 2022 to supervise progress and implementation strategies of activities and the successes, challenges and future perspectives. During the 3-day visit, the CBM visitors observed the running of a refresher workshop for 25 staff from 11 humanitarian organisations which the DIHA Project is partnering with to influence disability inclusion in their humanitarian response activities.
During the workshop, the participants presented progress made in including persons with disabilities in their activities in the areas of data collection, accessibility, service delivery, and participation in processes. The organizations explained challenges faced including that persons with disabilities being regarded as liabilities, lock downs and violence that hamper participation of persons with disabilities, inaccessible offices and difficulties to influence disability inclusive policies in their organisations.
In response to the presentations made by the humanitarian organisations, the CBM trio appreciated them for accepting to collaborate with the CBC Health Services and CBM to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their activities. Reacting to the challenges faced by the Humanitarian organisations, Soumana encouraged the participants to always consult organisations of persons with disabilities on best disability inclusion strategies. He also recommended awareness raising on disability mainstreaming, commitment to disability mainstreaming, and developing a clear strategy on disability mainstreaming.
Earlier on, the CBM International Humanitarian Action Project Manager, presenting on Inclusive Humanitarian Action as per the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines, told participants that as must dos they are supposed to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, take practical actions to include persons with disabilities at all levels and place persons with disabilities at the center of humanitarian actions. For the two days, participants’ knowledge were also improved on Project outline and strategy for mainstreaming disability in humanitarian action, rights of Persons with Disabilities, accountability to affected people, universal design and Reasonable accommodation and inclusive communication.
A key highlight of the CBM representatives’ visit to the CBC Health Services was a meeting and discussion with the CBC Health Services Director, Prof. Tih Pius who appreciated them for the visit, remarking that the visit was a learning opportunity for the organisations. During the meeting, the CBC Health Services Director and the CBM officials discussed partnership commitments, outcomes and future perspectives. The CBM team reassured the CBC Health Services of their commitment to continue partnering to promote disability inclusion in development and humanitarian interventions.
Another highpoint of the visit was the visit, observation and appraisal of a DIHA project community outreach screening at Old Town Bamenda. They also had a working session with the DIHA Project Coordination staff and management staff of the Coordinating Unit of the Associations of Persons with Disabilities. During the session, a zoom meeting was held with CAMCCUL staff in charge of the DIHA cash transfer initiative. Discussions in the zoom meeting centred on the strategies, successes and challenges of the mobile cash transfer
. They were also thrilled with the strides of the CBC Health Services in providing health care to Cameroonians especially in the area of fostering disability inclusion as presented by the DIHA Project Manager, Jacques Chirac Awa. At each stage of the visit, the CBM trio provided technical advice on best strategies of activity implementation.