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COVID19 VACCINE; TO JAB OR NOT TO JAB? THAT IS THE QUESTION

COVID19 is still a hot topic across the globe, but now it’s of a different tune, what everyone is talking about is the vaccines. Though long awaited and anticipated on, it carries a lot of controversies, some being that it’s a way for the elite to reduce population and rule the world, it’s a 5G network chip where your life can be controlled and manipulated, it is a trick to have a one world government-the new world order and that you will develop horns or a tail, some form of deformity from it. Whether or not you subscribe to these theories, the fact of the matter remains that COVID19 is still an imminent threat to the human race, we have seen more funerals than ever before.

Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, these are now popular names we have come to be familiar with because these are some of the leading pharmaceutical companies producing this vaccine, and all produce different results, but do protect against COVID-19 symptoms and severe disease after a person receives two doses. Countries have already started vaccinating their people and here are the populations given priority in getting the jab:  

  • Frontline workers i.e. doctors and nurses, social workers, teachers, cashiers, truck drivers, soldiers, police officers, security guards etc.
  • All those over 65years
  • Those with clinical conditions e.g. cancer, asthma, have organ transplants etc.
  • People with severe mental health illness and disabilities like down syndrome
  • Then the rest of the population

Vaccines are not a new phenomenon in our lives as human beings; however this one is new and there have been some concerns about the vaccine; here are a few frequently asked questions and answers from Johns Hopkins University Hospital:

covid19 vaccine
  1. What is a vaccine?

A: Vaccines help people develop immunity to a virus or other germ. A vaccine introduces a less harmful part of that germ — or something created to look or behave like it — into a person’s body. The body’s immune system develops antibodies that fight that particular germ and keep the person from getting sick from it. Later, if the person encounters that germ again, their immune system can “recognize” it and “remember” how to fight it off

  • How long will it protect me? Will I have to get a COVID-19 shot every year?

A: A few people who have had COVID-19 have apparently had a second, often milder case of the disease, and researchers are exploring what this means in terms of how long immunity from the coronavirus lasts. Vaccine developers are looking at ways to boost the effectiveness of a vaccine so that it provides longer immune protection than a natural infection with the coronavirus.

  • Will the vaccine work if I’ve already had COVID-19 or tested positive for the coronavirus?

A: The CDC notes that people who have already had COVID-19 or tested positive may still benefit from getting the COVID-19 vaccination.

  • If I get a coronavirus vaccination, do I still have to wear a mask? Physical distance?

A: Yes. It may take time for everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination to get one. A vaccine that is 95% effective means that about 1 out of 20 people who get it may not have protection from getting the illness.

Also, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others. That is why, until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be important.

  • Availability of a COVID-19 Vaccine

5.1 Will there be enough vaccine for everyone who wants it?

A: it will take a while to make and distribute enough of the vaccine for everyone who wishes to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

5.2. Will it be easier or harder to get in some areas?

A: There could be differences in availability from one place to another.

5.3 Will older adults receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The first groups to receive authorized COVID-19 vaccines are frontline healthcare workers, residents of long-term care facilities and adults 65 and older.

5.4 Will children receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for distribution to individuals ages 16 years and older. No COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for children under 16.

6.  What are the side effects?

A: It is normal to have certain reactions after a vaccination: There may be redness, swelling or pain around the injection site. Fatigue, fever, headache and aching limbs are also not uncommon in the first three days after vaccination.

Facts to keep in mind

  • About 121 million infections have been recorded to date, Over 2.4 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, Africa recording 107 778deaths
  • Approximately 98 685 029 recoveries have been recorded worldwide, Africa recording over 3million recoveries.
  • Scientists say that we will have to learn to live with the virus amongst us-the new normal.
  • 132 countries have begun vaccinating the population.
  • Social distance is the new way to show love and caring.
  • Washing hands, sanitizing, wearing a mask properly is a way to prevent infection, so keep it up.
  • Most people who get sick from COVID 19 will recover.
  • We have had vaccines before that have saved the human race and improved quality of life, e.g. polio vaccine

The FAQ above might have shed some light on the new kid on the block, now what do you think about the COVID vaccine and getting it?

“If communities are not on-board and convinced that a vaccine will protect their health, we will make little headway. It’s critical that countries reach out to communities and hear their concerns and give them a voice in the process,” Dr. Moeti; WHO regional director Africa.

DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD AND DISABILITY

In SowetoSouth Africa, on June 16, 1976, about ten thousand black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of young students were shot, the most famous of which being Hector Pieterson. More than a hundred people were killed in the protests of the following two weeks, and more than a thousand were injured. To recognize the events, African Union initiated that the events be celebrated every year on June 16, since 1991, to honor those who took part in the protests. It also raises awareness of the continuing need to improve education provided to African children. Of the 57 million primary school age children currently out of school around the world, over half are from sub-Saharan Africa.

On June 16 every year, governments, NGOs, international organizations and other stakeholders gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realization of children’s rights in Africa. The theme for the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2021 is “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”.

The realization of the rights of children in Africa, particularly focusing on education calls for attention on inclusive education for children with disabilities, who are often disregarded when it comes to them accessing and acquiring education. Children with disabilities do not get to enjoy their right to education because of many reasons, ranging from inadequate schools, untrained teachers, ignorant parents who do not enroll their children and the general stigma and discrimination from the societies, but to mention a few. African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)  state that “children with disabilities are generally hidden in Africa, and therefore their plight is often ignored and disregarded in national policies and legislation.”

Let us unite and ensure that children and youth with disabilities do not fall by the way side, use your voices to stand up for those who can’t, governments, stakeholders and communities let us leave no child behind.

“A LUTA CONTINUA”

THE YOUTH’S ROLE IN GROWING THE ECONOMY

I’m sure there are many papers on this topic, but hear me out. Youth are categorized as people between the ages of 18-35 years. The youth are the future leaders, I’m sure we have heard that being said more than once, however what does it really mean? This is the most vibrant, influential and in my opinion vulnerable group of people. When you consider the vulnerability of youth, they are hardly let in on big decision making sit downs, they are not employed or under employed, they are hardly ever listened to, and those with disabilities are far worse when it comes to such considerations on top of the already existing barriers they face, however youth with disabilities have certain abilities that also put them in a place to compete in the world, all they need is a chance and this goes to all the youth.

 People in this age group make up the biggest resource base for any country that wants to make any positive and meaningful developments. Youth have a lot of roles and responsibilities in the different areas of developing a country and subsequently the world. Throughout history, they have been challenging status quo and calling for change in a lot of things.

The growth of a country has many moving parts that need constant and close watch which determine how the economy develops. Newer and innovative perspectives are needed and that is where the youth come in, to bring in their knowledge of technologies and the knowledge of how the trend of the world is growing. The role of youth in growing the economy of a country is one that cannot be undermined, however it is seen that most of them are on the sidelines when it comes to decision making and shaping countries. Fresher minds need to be handed the baton to carry on the work and build upon it, this is why there is a retirement age, and to allow them to be the agents of change they are supposed to be. It is vital that youth are given the opportunities and the support they need to make significant contribution that will move the country forward, lest we find ourselves stuck in the past while the rest of the world has moved.

With the world now being taken online, we have become one huge country without borders thanks to the internet. This opens up opportunities for skill exchange and possibly foreign investment, thus bringing about diversification, and because of the youthful curiousness, they are never shy to try out new adventures. Nurturing such zeal is a necessity for every nation’s survival and enhancement; equip the workforce and the country will move forward smoothly.

 When you look at the youths in your country what contributions are they making towards building the economy, what could they be doing and why, if they are, failing to make substantial contributions to the country’s growth. Like, share and comment your views.

REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2020 AT SAFOD

The year 2020 will forever be ear marked in the history books. Granted it was a low blow to a lot of entities and individuals at varying degrees, but still there were those moments we look back at and smile at the progress we made despite the challenges.

Through the challenges faced by many NGOs, SAFOD included, we however have a few silver linings we can be happy about and can say that 2020 wasn’t a total loss. Here are a few that we are proud to have achieved in 2020:

  • COVID19 response workshop and capacity building
  • Strategic framework (2021-2025) validation workshop
  • Resource mobilization framework validation workshop
  • Policy and stakeholder influence strategic plan
  • SAFOD AGM

All these workshops were virtual as is the norm these days and they were all a sounding success, if we could say so ourselves, of course with a minor technical problem from one or two member affiliates. The COVID 19 workshop and training shed light on a lot of issues faced by PWDs in this pandemic and how they feel they can be helped.                                                                                                                                       

More suggestions were backed also by the on-going survey on COVID 19 and PWDs in southern African region- https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/safod-covid, which will greatly enhance the  regional response strategy for persons with disabilities with  that now we have statistical information to support our response strategy and inform other stakeholders as to how they can involve PWDs in the forming and implantation of COVID19 response strategies keeping the theme of inclusivity.

One thing that SAFOD secretariat desperately needed was a resource mobilization team and last year was the year that we finally created that department which will help in sourcing funds amongst other tasks, which will come in handy in executing the strategic plan for the next 5years, all the frameworks were tied in nicely in the strategic framework (2021-2025) . Finally, we were able to hold our AGM which has been set to take place every 2years, where a new board was elected which will lead us into the new year and in ensuring that smooth running of the NGO.

WELCOME BACK FROM THE HOLIDAYS- FORWARDS AND ONWARD WE GO!

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.

PURPOSE OF THE PLATFORM

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.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PLATFORM

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.

#SAFODProjects #SAFOD

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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/

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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

BUILDING DPOS_ CAPACITY IN PROMOTING INCLUSION IN ECDE WITHIN CBR PROGRAMS