By Ashiyo Tina
Some Volunteers selected from communities in all the sub divisions of the North West Region have been trained to facilitate community activities for the Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action (DIHA) Project implemented by the CBC Health Services. The training took place from November 17-20, 2021 at the Baptist Center Conference Hall and brought together 81 participants including 66 volunteers and 9 field workers, and 6 personal assistants. Seventeen of the participants were persons with disabilities, 6 of them who are blind and will be helped by personal assistants to carry their tasks effectively. The training was aimed at equipping Community Volunteers and Field workers to effectively identify and refer persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups and submit data in a timely manner. The workshop also had as objective to train Field workers to provide basic rehabilitation to the project’s target beneficiaries and equip personal assistants to be able to provide professional services to persons with disabilities to support their roles as volunteers and field workers. Giving highlights of the project during the opening of the workshop, the Project Coordinator, Asheri Ngah explained that the Project was designed and is being implemented within the context of the socio-political crisis in the North West region of Cameroon with its activities focusing in the health and protection sectors. The Project has a focus on disability mainstreaming because though important, humanitarian interventions for affected populations by humanitarian organizations and actors have often overlooked the specific needs of persons with disabilities. In addition, the violence characterizing the crisis has led to an increase in the number of persons with disabilities in the crisis hit region. She told participants that the project has as specific objective, improved access to inclusive humanitarian assistance and protection of internally displaced persons and members of host communities with special attention to the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in the North West region, Cameroon. To attain the workshop objectives, participants were drilled on a wide range of topics including; Project perspective and orientation, Ground rules for community work, Prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harm and Reporting sexual and gender-based violence, Data collection strategies, Reporting, dispensing and use of assistive devices, and Providing personal assistance. Participants also received knowledge on effective communication techniques, corruption and fraud prevention, the role of OPDs in project implementation to enable them overcome access barriers in communities and realize effective disability inclusion. The volunteers and field workers will enter and send data digitally to the DIHA Coordination office through a mobile application developed for this purpose. To enable them do this effectively they were thoroughly taught the use of the app.
Additionally, the Field workers who will be providing basic rehabilitation received knowledge on orientation and mobility training using different techniques and activities of daily living skills for persons with vision impairment. During the workshop, the CBC Health Services Humanitarian Coordinator, Mrs. Ful Morine stressed to participants that as volunteers and field workers with a humanitarian Project they are expected to observe the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality or non-discrimination, neutrality and independence. The DIHA Project’s activities spread across 3 output areas include training of humanitarian organizations on disability mainstreaming, training of OPDs on participation in humanitarian coordination systems and advocacy, procurement and distribution of medical aids, provision of inclusive health and rehabilitation services affected populations through mobile health teams, among others. At the end of the training, one of the participants, Mom Prudencia, an amputee and Volunteer from Weh in Menchum Division said she was motivated to play the role of a volunteer for the project because she is interested in the development of her community and she wants to use herself as an example to encourage other persons with disabilities that they can contribute in the mainstream development of their communities. For his part, Mr. Nyingcho Samuel, a person with visual impairment and field worker for Mezam said he was going to succeed in playing his role, thanks to the personal assistant accorded him by the Project. He said, thanks to knowledge on humanitarian principles gained from the workshop, he was certain that he will overcome barriers of access to his communities. In her closing remarks, the DIHA Project Coordinator expressed her joy and gratitude to the participants for their huge turn out and active participation throughout the training. She remarked that she was confident they had gained the skills needed to carry out their activities in the communities. The Project Coordinator told them that the Project values and counts on them so much because the success of the project largely depends on their activities in the communities. The training ended with signing of contracts with the participants and the distribution of identification badges, jackets and other documents to ease their activities in the communities. The DIHA project which started in June 2021 and will end in May 2023 targets 27, 730 beneficiaries. It is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through CBM.