By Refilwe A. Monnakgosi

I believe we can all agree that the year that was, 2020, was a taxing year for a lot if not all of us, however, aren’t we glad that we made it through. The resilience in us has made it possible for us to be where we are right now. Though faced with adverse situations and having to adapt, it has showed we can take on anything the world throws at us, right?

Take the next 12months as blank canvases that await the artists brush, that artist being you, paint and decorate them as you wish and make sure to keep your goals in sight to gain the bigger picture. Not just your career goals but your personal as well, this is a new lease on your life, another chance to take a swing at this life thing, so as they say go big or go home.

Even though 2020 has come and gone, let us keep in mind that COVID 19 is still amongst us and it is still a threat to life as we know it, as if it hasn’t changed life as we know it. Let us continue to follow protocols on staying healthy and safe and we can get through it, surely by now we have gotten used to the protocols and the regulations in place to staying safe. Now with that in mind chin-chin to the new year, and we pray it’s a smooth transition filled with blessings and good fortune.

masks up and sanitize!

Here are some tips from Forbes, The Muse, Business Insider and Ingenjören on getting back to work after the holidays just to get your feet on the ground:

1. Make a list– Create a list of items that must get done on your first days back. When you’re struggling to focus and don’t know where to even start, this is a great way to stay on track and accomplish the bare minimum. And try prioritizing your tasks.

2. Build in some transition time-If possible, do not schedule meetings during your first days back, you need time to prepare and get ready.

3. Keep the holiday feeling alive –Plan a braai or meet a friend for an ice cream after work so that you are not abruptly thrusted into reality.

4. Listen to music It can help you fight the sluggishness you’ll feel on your first day back to work. Listen to music that keeps you from falling asleep at your desk but also helps you concentrate enough to be able to do your work.

5. Do it together (team work makes the dream work) -Speak to your colleagues. Everybody feels the same. You can give each other pep talks.

6. A positive attitude -Focus on the positive and avoid the negative.

7. Sub targets -It may feel like forever until your next holiday but try to divide the year into different parts. A sub target can be the Christmas holiday or just the upcoming weekend.

8. Find your purpose-We need to feel motivated and that we have a purpose at our jobs. Try to formulate your purpose.

9. Just do it -Just like going to the gym – just do it! There is no other way!

SAFOD, Disability Community Still Mourn Rachel

By George Mwika Kayange

Over the past month, the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) and the entire disability sector has been mourning the death of SAFOD Chairperson, Rachel Kachaje, who died on 3 September 2020 in her home country, Malawi.

Mrs. Rachel Kachaje (seated front-left) successfully mobilized the disability community Southern Africa and beyond to raise the disability profile within in the regional and international development agenda.

In a condolence message issued by the Secretariat of SAFOD in Botswana on behalf of the SAFOD family (affiliates) from ten counties in the region, SAFOD Director General, Mussa Chiwaula, expressed shock over the untimely loss of a colleague, sister, and friend.

He said during the time she had worked with SAFOD after being elected to the position on the 25th November 2015, members of the Regional Executive Council (REC), the staff, and the entire membership of SAFOD found her to be someone who was very matured, pragmatic and a source of inspiration in REC, at the Secretariat, in the entire regional disability movement, and at the international level.

“In Rachel, we found someone who successfully withstood obstacles that impede many Persons with Disabilities and successfully lived her life with a lot of energy and positivity and proving that indeed disability is not inability,” he wrote.

Rachel was indeed a role model who inspired many people in her country, Malawi, and beyond. She proved that one can live a happy and positive life even though one has a disability. She was the Chairperson of the Disabled People International (DPI) where she inspired many persons with disabilities to raise the disability agenda in the international discourse.

“She was one of the splendid and distinguished leaders of the world disability movement, and enthusiastically committed to realization of the rights of persons with disabilities and full implementation of CRPD,” wrote Midori Hirano, Chairperson of DPI – Japan Assembly.

Besides being the Chairperson of Disabled Women in Africa (DIWA) until her demise, of which she was a cofounder, Rachel also served as ministry of Disability in Malawi. She also chaired the Commonwealth Disability Forum.  She was a member of the Board of Directors of the African Disability Alliance (ADA) where she served two four-year terms.

ADA Chief Executive Officer, Kudakwashe Dube, described her as a champion of disability, human and women’s rights.

“Her contribution will forever form a strong foundation to the fight for human rights of persons with disabilities and particularly women with disabilities,” he said.

Rachel played a key role in the Governance of the African Network for Evidence–to–Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) since its inauguration in 2007. In recognition of her work in the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa and globally, Stellenbosch University honored her with a Doctorate Degree in Arts and Social Sciences which she was going to receive in December of 2020.

AfriNEAD Chairperson, Prof Gubela Mji, who is also the Director of Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies at Stellenbosch University, said her passage left a deep void to the network.

Revealed Mji: “Many young persons with disabilities that have listened to Mrs. Rachel
Kamchacha Kachaje when she speaks about disability and human dignity matters attest that
they want to be like her when they grow old.”

Regional Advocacy Platform on the Campaign for the SADC Disability Protocol

During the Southern Africa Disability Round Table Forum held in June 2017 in South Africa, organized by the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), one of the key issues that were discussed was the draft SADC Disability Protocol currently being championed by SAFOD.


To ensure that persons with disabilities have full access to fundamental human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Southern Africa.


a) To provide technical support and inputs towards the drafting of the SADC Disability Protocol

b) To lobby and advocate for the adoption of the SADC Disability Protocol both a national level and international level.

c) To fundraise for resources that will ensure successful drafting and final adoption of the protocol

d) To promote and systematically monitor legislative proposals and strategic campaign work to influencing policy and practice throughout Southern Africa.



Property For Sale

The property in Francistown can be perfect for potential real estate investors, especially those interested in investing in a lodge as the complex consists of five units, including what used to be a bar before it was owned SAFOD’s property by 2009. It also consists of what used to be swimming pool which currently needs complete refurbishment. Apart from the administrative office, the other units were meant to be rooms for lodging.

For more information read here: http://property.safod.net/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The myth of asexuality? Disability stigma as a barrier to sexual relationships

SAFOD and the University of East London (UEL) of Docklands Campus in the UK, signed a Sub-Contract to jointly conduct a research in South Africa entitled “The myth of asexuality? Disability stigma as a barrier to sexual relationships in South Africa.” with financial support from the the France-based International Foundation of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH).

The project is investigating the prevailing myths and attitudes towards the sexuality of Persons with physical Disabilities.

This is collaborative research project which also involves two other key partners, namely the South Africa-basedStellenbosch University and the Norway-based Stiftelsen for industriellogtekniskforskning(SITEF) – or in English, the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF).

Strategic Goal:

To investigate the prevailing myths and attitudes towards the sexuality of people with physical disabilities among a sample general population in South Africa, as well as the experiences of people with physical disabilities.

Strategic Objectives:

  • Investigate the attitudes of the general population towards the sexuality of people with disabilities in South Africa;
  • Explore the experiences of stigma and barriers to fulfilling sexual relationships among people with disabilities in South Africa;
  • Raise public awareness about the intersection between disability stigma and sexuality

The myth of asexuality_ Disability stigma as a barrier to sexual relationships.png

Building DPOs’ Capacity in Promoting Inclusion in ECDE within CBR Programs

The SAFOD is a leading Southern African disability-focused network engaged in coordination of activities of Disability Peoples Organizations (DPOs) in the Southern Africa region working in 10 countries within the region, coordinating programs and activities through its national affiliate federations of DPOs in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In many of these countries, either our affiliate federations or at least some of their member DPOs are implementing Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programs on the ground. Yet, at the same time, there is an academic theory that there is a strong correlation between CBR and inclusive Early Childhood Development and Development (ECDE). SAFOD intend turn the theory into practice.

Strategic Goal:

To strengthen the capacity of Disability Peoples Organizations (DPOs) and other community structures working in already existing Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programs in increasing access to quality ECDE services for children with Special Needs Education (SEN).

Strategic Objectives:

  • To enhance early identification at community level for children with special needs through inclusive CBR interventions.
  • To build the capacity of SAFOD’s affiliate DPOs already working in CBR programs to strategically link CBR and inclusive ECDE interventions within target communities




The Federation Organization of the Disabled People in Swaziland (FODSWA), which is a national affiliate of the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), will seek to collaborate with the latter in undertaking capacity-building activities to support Disabled People Organizations (DPOs) in advocating for the domestication of the Un Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and enactment of appropriate laws by December 2016.

This is on the basis that one of the mandates of FODSWA is to lobby Government, through its membership of DPOs nationwide, to implement existing pieces of national legislation and policies affecting Persons with Disabilities.

Strategic Goal:

To strengthen the institutional capacity of FODSWA and its member DPOs in Promoting an Inclusive Legislative Environment in Swaziland through sustained advocacy for the domestication of the UNCRPD and enactment of appropriate laws by December 2016

Strategic Objectives:

  1. To enhance the internal governance and leadership management within FODSWA structures through the leadership forum by October 2015
  2. To strengthen SAFOD affiliates’ good governance capacity to promote the rights of persons with disabilities on national level.
  3. To build the capacity of FODSWA and its affiliate DPOs in advocacy and lobbying techniques through training workshops, by December 2015;


The Assistive Technology Information Mapping (AT-Info-Map) Project

The Assistive Technology Information Mapping (AT-Info-Map) Project was funded by the Google Impact Challengeas one of the ‘big ideas that will use technology to expand opportunity and independence for people with disabilities’.

The project was officially launched in April 2016 and started in Botswana where SAFOD is headquartered as a one-year pilot. The first year involves designing and testing the technology system with a small group of participants to ensure it is useful and understandable by both persons with disabilities and organizations involved in supplying AT.

Strategic Goal:

AT-Info-Map is a 3 year project (2016-2019) that has the goal of mapping the availability of different types of assistive technology (AT) in 10 countries in Southern Africa.

Strategic Objectives:

Identifying WHAT types of AT are available and WHERE those products are located will serve three purposes:

  1. Connecting persons with disabilities to the available AT near their community,
  2. Supporting key actors in identifying AT needs. Key actors include public AT providers (clinics, community health centers, secondary and tertiary hospitals, schools), civil society, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), disabled people organizations (DPOs) and businesses,
  3. Informing AT suppliers, manufacturers, and designers of unmet public demand.


The Organisational Development in Southern Africa Project

The Organisational Development Project is part of the FFO’s Theory of Change, to contribute to organisation development and Human Rights training that empowers its partner organizations. FFO’s partner organizations, such as SAFOD, contribute to change in attitude towards persons with disabilities in society in general, in governments and other spheres.

Strategic Goal:

The project will strengthen SAFOD as a regional disability federation to contribute towards making its affiliates stronger and the civil society independentin the Southern Africa region.

Strategic Objectives:

  1. The project has prioritized the following key strategies for the period 2016-2019 to work for inclusion of persons with disabilities in Southern Africa:
  2. To strengthen SAFOD affiliates’ good governance capacity to promote the rights of persons with disabilities on national level.
  3. To strengthen SAFOD’s advocacy towards SADC and the African Development Bank to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities on regional level.
  4. To develop a UNCRPD monitoring and shadow report program for SAFOD affiliates.
  5. To revive the Youth Wing of SAFOD.

The Organisational Development in Southern Africa Project

BOFOD Members Welcome AT-Info-Map Project to Botswana

Members of BOFOD during the meeting with SAFOD and Dimagi

On 7th July 2016, members of Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BOFOD) – the official national affiliate of the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) in Botswana – expressed gratitude that the AT-Info-Map project is being piloted in their country. They pledged moral and technical support to ensure that it achieves its objectives set for the initial first year.

AT-Info-Map is a three year project (2016-2019) that has the goal of mapping the availability of different types of assistive technology (AT) in 10 countries in Southern Africa. Identifying what types of AT are available and where those products are located will help to connect persons with disabilities to the available AT near their community. Through the project, it is also envisaged that the the supplier and other key actors will be supported in identifying AT needs, and suppliers, manufacturers, and designers will be informed of unmet public demand.

Key actors include public AT providers (clinics, community health centers, secondary and tertiary hospitals, schools), civil society, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and businesses.

SAFOD, which is one of the four core implementing partners of the project – the other three include the University of Washington, AfriNEAD and Dimagi – will mainly rely on its affiliate, BOFOD, to help roll our the project at national level during the one year pilot before it can it can be scaled up to nine other countries in Southern Africa thereafter.

“We really appreciate for initiating this project, particularly for choosing Botswana as the country to pilot the project. This is very innovative as far as BOFOD is concerned and we are ready to provide all the support you may need from us,” said Mr. Thuso Rasetapa, BOFOD General Secretary.

During the meeting SAFOD and Dimagi representatives, Mr. George Kayange and Ms. Rashmi Jagdish, respectively, gave the BOFOD members an overview of the project, including explaining who the end-users will be when the mobile App is developed.