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DIHA Project equips PWDs to participate in Advocacy for Inclusion in Humanitarian Response

By Ashiyo Tina

The capacities of some 38 persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are divisional and sub divisional leaders of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) have been refreshed on effective policy work and advocacy strategies.

This was during a workshop organized by the Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action (DIHA) Project in collaboration with the Coordinating Unit of the Associations of Persons with Disabilities (CUAPWD) for the North West Region at the St Joseph’s House Hall Cathedral from August 24 – 25, 2022

. DIHA Project Coordinator, Asheri Ngah said, the expected outcome of the workshop was for the OPD leaders to reinforce advocacy targeting humanitarian organisations based on humanitarian and disability inclusion guiding principles.

The workshop came six months after the initial one and for two days, the participants received more knowledge on the rights of Persons with Disabilities in crisis situation according to the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD), Advocacy purpose, strategies for use in the humanitarian context, appropriate communication in Advocacy, and referral in gender and safeguarding in Advocacy. They also reviewed the DIHA Project activities and the OPD structure and its functioning.

Some DIHA and CUAPWD staff facilitated the sessions. Emphasis during the workshop was laid on identification and mapping of humanitarian organisations in communities as well as developing good content for advocacy for their inclusion in their communities. They were also told that to advocate effectively they should have good mastery of their subject matter and communicate assertively with clarity and enthusiasm.

Speaking at the end of the workshop, the Cameroon Clubfoot Project Coordinator, Mr. Tamon James on behalf of the Coordinator of the CBCHS Services for Persons with Disabilities, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac, told the participants to go back and put knowledge gained into practice such that the impact of their advocacy efforts should be felt and appreciated at the level of the office. He told the participants that the wish of the Project is for them to share successes recorded, thanks to this training when next they are called up for a training.

After the initial training in February 2022, the participants developed action plans to carry out advocacy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian in their interventions. As a follow up, participants during the workshop shared best practices and challenges they faced while carrying their actions plans followed by discussions on ways forward.

At the end of the workshop, some participants expressed their satisfaction saying that knowledge gained will be used to advocate for their inclusion in humanitarian actions in their communities. Tabitha Bongyuy Mformi is the CUAPWD Chairperson for Donga Mantung. She said she always had difficulties facing humanitarian actors but with the knowledge gained during the workshop, she is going back to approach them with confidence.

Nelson Nyuyebga, CUAPWD Chairperson for Mezam said, with improved skills, he was going to carry out effective advocacy by targeting local, national and international humanitarian organisations for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian response. The DIHA Project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through CBM with the CBC Health Services being the main implementing partner.