By Fru Rita Ngum
Stakeholders and beneficiaries of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) program of the CBC Health Services have deliberated on ways and strategies to implement the Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) program that is being implemented in the Northwest Region. This comes as SEEPD Program phase 4 is drawing to a close.
The consultation meetings, in Bamenda, were organized by the SEEPD program which brought together different groups of stakeholders beginning with the Program staff of the Organization of People with Disabilities (OPD) leaders, and Social Affairs amongst others.
At the beginning of each meeting, the SEEPD Program Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac reminded participants of the focus of the present CBID project which is to strengthen systems to promote CBID. He noted that for the period that the SEEPD Program has been implementing the projects, there are weaknesses as well as strengths which require collective reflection to improve on the next phase of the project when it is approved. “Stakeholders are the implementers of the project whose contributions in planning can never be overemphasized”, Mr. Awa noted. He encouraged participants of each group to pull their ideas together because no idea is ever useless as each idea will ameliorate the next phase of the project.
Participants who were in their different groups took stock of what has been achieved in the region; the opportunities that are available to build on, and the threats. Strategies were documented on how the next phase of the project will be improved.
Speaking to Fon Giblet, a person with a physical impairment who participated in the discussions, he said, “Even though a lot of strides have been put in place to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in actions, more advocacy still needs to be done to educate stakeholders both at local and national levels on the level of exclusion of persons with disabilities and their role in ensuring that they are included in actions”.
On her part, Mirabel Ndifon with visual impairment started that “Inclusion should be at all levels”. She recounted a situation whereby most public infrastructures in this century are not still accessible, most often they will adapt a ramp with some that can lead to further disabilities. Leaders of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities drawn from different divisions of the regions reflected on ideas that affect them at different levels and ways of improvement.
The consultation meetings ended at CBC Health Services Resource Center at Mvan, Yaounde in a two day workshop organized by SEEPD Program in partnership with CBM. The meeting reflected on different technical areas of interest like ear and hearing care, physical rehabilitation, inclusive education, livelihood for persons with disabilities, and mental health. The workshop which brought together selected stakeholders in the Northwest Region was facilitated by CBID Manager, Michael Schwinger, CBM International.
Given the crises in the Northwest where the project is implemented, environmental factors that can either favor or disfavor programs that can be included in this community approach of rendering services for persons with disabilities were also examined.
CBID, it should be noted, is a community approach by which CBM intends to use to bring community development to the community in all their technical areas of expertise. This is done in a bid to strengthen the voice and autonomy of people with disabilities, build inclusive and sustainable local and national systems and services, build inclusive, resilient communities, and ensure that populations affected by natural and human-caused disasters have access to inclusive humanitarian assistance.
The SEEPD Program acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).