SAFOD Courts Official at the President’s Office in Botswana

Phinda Khame
Mr. Phinda Khame, Research Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Office of the President of Botswana – Disability Office

Accompanied by the Coordinator of Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BOFOD) Ms. Shirley Keoagile and member of the SAFOD Regional Executive Council (REC) Mr. Wabotlhe Chimidza, the SAFOD Dictator General, Mr. Mussa Chiwaula, and SAFOD Projects Coordinator, Mr. George Kayange, met Mr. Phinda Khame who is Research Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Office of the President – Disability Office, On 10th July 2014. The meeting was held at the Office of the President in Gaborone, Botswana.

The discussion centered on areas of collaboration between SAFOD and the office of the President and the challenges that disability sector face in Botswana – particularly  within the Office of the President, BOFOD, and Botswana Council for the Disabled (BCD) – and how SAFOD could intervene, among other issues.

Mr. Khame explained that his office was responsible for coordinating all activities related to disability in the country.
He said at first, it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Health but eventually, in 2010, a special unit under the President’s Office was set up after realizing that disability was not being adequately addressed as a human rights issue when it was being coordinated under the Ministry of Health (where it was still being perceived as a medical issue). He said his Office was currently mainstreaming disability in government programmes.

Mr. Khame explained that they were also championing the implementation of the Policy on Care for Persons with Disabilities.
He outlined the operational structure which had an overall committee at the higher level providing oversight functions called NACODI which had district committees reporting to it whose mandate was to submit quarterly reports.

Mr. Khame said one of the key challenges they were facing was that they did not have enough resources/funding. He said they were trying to seek buy-in from international and regional development partners such as UN agencies and SADC for resource mobilization.

Mr. Chiwaula, however, commended the Botswana leadership for putting in place all the necessary structures for effective coordination of disability programmes in the country despite challenges in funding. He noted the challenges in Botswana were similar to Malawi where the coordination structure was the same but lacked funding. He then asked about the role of BOFOD in this regard.

Mr. Khame explained that the role of BOFOD was being frustrated by the structural challenges/set up where BOFOD and other DPOs were being seen as competing for resources with the Botswana Council for the Disabled (BCD) which was supposed to be a Government arm but in practice behaved like an NGO.

But BOFOD Coordinator, Ms. Shirley Keoagile, expressed disappointment that BOFOD was being sidelined by BCD. She said BOFOD had ten affiliate DPOs from ten districts, potentially making it to be one of the most influential organisations with a wide/national representation. She argued that this set up should have been an opportunity for Government and other partners rather than being perceived as a threat to BCD.

She said due to the current status quo, BOFOD did not have a strong leadership to the extent that they had to always rely on international workshops in order to strengthen its members.

Mr. Chiwaula cautioned that as long as the DPOs remained weak in the country, the disability movement in general will equally remain weak hence the urgent need for Government (through the Office of the Present) and BCD to begin exploring ways on how best to work closely with BOFOD.

SAFOD REC member, Mr. Chimidza, reiterated the need for DPOs to be empowered with training and other capacity building programmes.

Mr. Chiwaula clarified that there was need for all parties to understand the fact that BCD was service provider while BOFOD was for advocacy, in the same way as it was in Malawi where the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) was a service provider while the Federation of the Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) was for advocacy. He noted that the same confusion used to exist in Malawi some years back, but through dialogue and consultations these misunderstandings were no longer there.

On areas of possible collaboration between SAFOD and the Office of the President, Mr. Khame said he would like to see SAFOD supporting the office in areas of advocacy and research.

SAFOD, SATUCC Agree on Networking and Collaboration

The meeting with SATUCC had to take place outside the office building because there was literally no access into the office for persons on wheelchairs

On 10th July 2014, the SAFOD Dictator General, Mr. Mussa Chiwaula, and SAFOD Projects Coordinator, Mr. George Kayange, met the Research and Information Officer at the Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordination Council (SATUCC), Mr. Paliani Chinguwo. The meeting was held right at the SATUCC offices in Gaborone, Botswana. SATUCC is an organisation that deals with workers some of whom may be disabled.

The two SAFOD officers were accompanied by the Coordinator of Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BOFOD) Ms. Shirley Keoagile and member of the SAFOD Regional Executive Council (REC), Mr. Wabotlhe Chimidza

The agenda of the meeting was to discuss possible areas of cooperation between SAFOD and SATUCC. SAFOD also ceased the opportunity to lobby SATUCC to include disability/SAFOD on the programme for the 10th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum which was held in Zimbabwe from 28th to 30th July 2014.

Mr. Paliani Chinguwo expressed regret that the meeting took place outside his office because persons on wheelchairs – in this case Mr. Chiwaula and Mr. Chimidza – could hardly enter into the due to steps. He acknowledged that this was part of sensitization and an eye opener on his part as it was the first time they were experiencing such an embarrassment.

Mr. Chinguwo noted that some of the workers they deal had disabilities, and it would therefore be strategic for an organisation like SAFOD to help with sensitizing workers with disabilities on how they can be involved and benefit from joining unions. He said one of the underlying characteristics of trade unions is that becoming a member of a union is voluntary hence the need for sensitization about its benefits especially for disabled workers.

Mr. Chinguwo was also excited about the idea for developing possible joint project proposals between SAFOD and SATUCC focusing on the rights of disabled workers.

On the 10th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum held in Zimbabwe from 28th to 30th July 2014, Mr. Chinguwo said SATUCC would convince its partner organizers to invite SAFOD to the forum so that it could contribute issues on disability by way making a presentation in one of the parallel sessions. It was noted that the programme had parallel sessions on various issues including gender, women, youth, children, the elderly, minority groups, etc., but none on disability. 

He therefore acknowledged that the fact that disability was not included was indeed a clear indication that disability was one forgotten area that needed a lot of sensitization even among the organizers themselves.

Finally, Mr. Chinguwo proposed more areas of possible collaboration with SAFOD, including the following:

(i) SADC Employment and Labour Social Protection Protocol (where SAFOD could take a lead at issues pertaining to workers with disabilities)
(ii) SATUCC launch of a Plan of Action for the implementation of the Protocol/campaign
(iii) SATUCC to involve SAFOD in its activities that involve workers with disabilities, and SAFOD to involve SATUCC in its activities that involve employment rights of persons with disabilities.

Malawi Endorses the Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability


By George Mwika Kayange
Projects Coordinator – SAFOD.

“When we hosted the African Leaders Forum on Intellectual Disability, I had no idea that one day, on a day like today we would gather for one of the noblest creeds in our society.  We gather here today to pledge our support for an enduring value, one that has brought us together as a community, as a region, as a nation, and as a world.”

These were the opening words of Mr. Peter Mazunda, Board Chairperson of the Special Olympics Malawi (SOM), in his speech during the signing ceremony of The Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability held on June 4, 2014 in Blantyre, Malawi. This colourful event actually was a follow up to the successful African Leaders Forum on Intellectual Disability held in Malawi from February 9 to 11, 2014, which among other things called for enhanced networking & partnership-building amongst all the delegates that attended the forum.

He said it was a tremendous pleasure for him to be one of the four key signatories of what he described as a landmark document brought forth through the leadership of the Government of Malawi, “to usher in a new framework of collaboration for people with intellectual disabilities.”

Mazunda was speaking to the participants who had come to witness the event from various Disability Peoples Organisations (DPOs), while others represented families of children with intellectual disabilities as well as athletes with intellectual disabilities themselves. Significantly, present at the function was the Guest of Honour, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Disability and Elderly Affairs Mr. Fletcher Zenengeya.

“All groups of people with disabilities face challenges. But people with intellectual disabilities, you will agree with me, constitute one of the groups with more serious challenges in their day to day lives,” said Mr. Zenengeya.

Besides reassuring Government’s commitment and outlining some of the  policies and programs aimed at enhancing the welfare of persons with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual disability, that his ministry has put in place, he also hailed the role that SOM, the Federation od Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA), and the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) play in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities within Malawi and abroad.

On his part, FEDOMA Executive Director, Mr. Action Amos, said it a fact that there have always not been enough attention given to human rights dimensions, especially on disability discourse. It was for this reason that FEDOMA courted the political parties that were vying for office during the run-up to the recent 2014 Tripartite Elections to sign a “Social Contract” binding them to align – and realign – social programs so that they mainstream issues affecting persons with disabilities when voted in office. The newly elected party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was among the political parties that signed.

“We regard as a very positive consideration that the incoming Government indicated its seriousness in attending to issues affecting persons with disabilities in Malawi,” he said.

SAFOD Director General, Mussa Chiwaula, said the event was a milestone in the advocacy for the promotion of rights of Persons with Intellectual Disability not only in Malawi, but also within the international fraternity. He said SAFOD, being the leading Southern African disability-focused NGO engaged in coordination of activities of organisations of Persons with Disabilities in the SADC Region, was determined to play its part in bringing the Intellectual Disability agenda at SADC level, hence our active involvement in Malawi.

“This signing ceremony is just one positive step towards the work that we intend to carry out in the region – in all the countries that we work in namely Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Angola,” he declared.

Chiwaula said in support of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), would work in partnership with Special Olympics, affiliate national federations, civil society and key development organizations to encourage African countries, particularly those in SADC, to integrate Persons with Intellectual Disabilities fully into their communities, and into development strategies.

Said Chiwaula: “In addition, at SAFOD we intend to coordinate more research on an issue that is probably the largest impairment grouping on the African continent, but few indigenous research and evaluation studies have been undertaken, with little or no available literature. For instance, we need to further investigate the perceptions of Intellectual Disability in African contexts, access to education and health care, and the provision of appropriate assistance and support.”

It is now official that Malawi – perhaps by virtue of being the host of the frican Leaders Forum on Intellectual Disability – became the first SADC country that has endorsed the Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability. Now all eyes in the Disability Sector will be on the next country in the region to follow suit.

Click here to view more photos for the Signing Ceremony

SAFOD, FEDOMA, SOM Plan for Mental Health Declaration Signing Ceremony

The Special Olympics Malawi (SOM), Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), and Federation of the Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) are planning to endorse the Lilongwe Declaration on Intellectual Disability at a signing ceremony which has been tentatively scheduled to take place on 4 June 2014 at the FEDOMA Complex in Malawi, to be graced by the Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs.

The event is meant to be a follow up to the successful African Leaders Forum on Intellectual Disability held in Malawi from February 9 to 11, 2014, which among other things called for enhanced networking & partnership-building amongst all the delegates that attended the forum.

Please click here to download the final copy of the Declaration

As the preparations for the event are underway, pleases check again this page soon for new update(s).


SAFOD Mourns the Death of Mr. Gerson Mtendere

The secretariat of the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) has learnt with deep shock and sadness of the demise of our dear friend and comrade, Mr. Gerson Mtendere, of the National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN), which is one of the ten national affiliates of SAFOD.

The passing away of Gerson remains a great loss to the disability movement in Namibia as well as in the Southern Africa region where he made great contributions towards the work of SAFOD. Gerson was a vibrant soft spoken young fearless disability activist who was always objective and analytical in his conversation. Indeed it is a privilege to say a few words celebrating Gerson’s life and sharing our sadness at his passing.

His amazing smile, engagement, honesty, directness and passion made the lives of those around him better, and built us up to achieve more that we might ever have believed we were capable of. He helped marginalized Persons with Disabilities face up to realities that turned out to be mostly far less tough than they had believed them to be.

There is no denying the fact that we have lost a dedicated soldier in the disability movement. So let us remember an extraordinary life; a life more lived; and a life that made us better. Let is celebrate a life that will live on through the many people he influenced in his home country and abroad; through the families of those whose lives he lifted; and through the honest, open, passionate, realistic and ultimately inspiring way he carried himself.

Our hearts go out to his family in sympathy and support. And our deepest condolences to all his comrades in NFPDN.

May his Soul Rest in Peace!

Mussa Chiwaula

The AfriNEAD 2014 Symposium in Malawi

afrinead-poster-rev4The Faculty of Social Science of the University of Malawi in Collaboration with the Ministry of Disability and Elderly Affairs, the Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) and the Secretariat of the African Network for Evidence-to-Action on Disability (AfriNEAD) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa is calling for abstracts for the 2014 AfriNEAD Symposium which will take place from 3rd to 5th November 2014 at Sun and Sand Holiday Resort in lake-shore district of Mangochi in Southern Malawi.

The theme for the conference is: “Intensifying disability research and practice to achieve the MDGs in Africa: our experience and aspirations for the future”.

The conference sub-themes are:

  1. Children and youth with disabilities
  2. Education: early to tertiary
  3. Economic empowerment
  4. Development process in Africa: Poverty, politics and indigenous knowledge systems
  5. Health, HIV/AIDS and community-based rehabilitation
  6. Holistic wellness: sport, recreation, sexuality and spirituality
  7. Research evidence and utilization

The deadline for receipt of abstracts was 31st March 2014, but has been extended. The abstracts should be submitted to the following email address:

Abstracts should clearly state, the research title, background, objective(s), methodology, results, conclusion and key words.Abstracts should not exceed 300 words. Notification of acceptance of abstracts will be sent on 2nd May 2014 and full papers will be expected before 31st July 2014.
Registration fee:

The registration fee for the AfriNEAD 2014 symposium per delegate is US$370 for those who register by 31st March 2014. Those who register after this date will pay US$470.

Lodging and Accommodation:

Conference organizers will not provide accommodation but researchers are advised to book their accommodation at the following hotels: Sun and Sand Holiday Resort, Andrews Motel,Boadzulu Holiday Resort, Nkopola Lodge and Club Makokola. The rates for these hotels will be communicated by end of January 2014.

For more information contact the following at or

Dr Alister Munthali:

Mrs Monica Jamali-Phiri:

Mrs Upile Denge:

Ms Agness Mkundiza:

Lobbying Government Departments on Accessible Social Services in Botswana

ImageThe Botswana Federation of Disabled People (BOFOD) has noted that disabled persons with disabilities face a host of discriminatory practices, including human rights abuses, which were often not brought to the fore.

Botswana population of people with disabilities has very little to show for two decades of democracy. Like all countries in the world, we know poverty, physical suffering and danger to be a part of the lives of most of our people. But in the worlds of people with disabilities, the broad failure of service delivery is made far worse by a combination of entrenched prejudice, government disregard and the fact of our society being designed and run in ways which exclude.

It was previously believed that disability was about health problems that limited people’s potential. Clear evidence now shows that it is mainly about societies like Botswana  , Botswana, Malawi  other countries’ that, for no good reason, government fail  to provide basic access to the 10-15% of its population with physical, sensory, cognitive and psychiatric impairments. There is no accessible transportation to get one to somewhere to look for a job, let alone making it possible to keep one. And this is before meeting employer prejudice and inaccessible work environments. Proper sanitation is unavailable to all but means a daily grind of especially severe attacks on dignity for a physically impaired person.

Health care support is difficult to reach, under-resourced and often inappropriate.  Susceptibility to cold and infection presents constant threats to life. As a person with disability, one is many times more likely to be a victim of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. The lack of basic assistive services means that friends and family – if these are present – must be relied on for, literally, the means of life, often distorting and straining relationships.

Like the HIV positive community, women with disabilities and rights of children and youth the disability  community needs powerful leadership, loudly saying that all are entitled to participate, to be full citizens, to be outraged, to have needs, to feel whole and legitimate. In the coming decades this will mean taking issue with government.. BOFOD intend to call representatives from Office of President the disability sector, Departments of Education, and key ministries in an attempt to find cross-cutting solutions to address the challenge of transforming society to ensure that disabled people were welcomed and mainstreamed into all sectors.

BOFOD noted that disabled people faced a host of discriminatory practices, including human rights abuses, which were often not brought to the fore. Attitudes and economic practices posed the greatest hindrance. Botswana had no good policies for us . Some departments had offices on the status of disabled persons, but others had delegated this function to other departments and it was not being coherently or uniformly addressed, particularly at local level, where there were also difficulty in interpreting the policies and issues. The instruments put in place to measure Botswana’s progress in dealing with disability issues are not effective and the rural areas are not reached. Transport, access, reading materials for the blind, deaf facilities and privacy all raise as major concerns for which frameworks and structures are needed. Although we still await the result of statistics Botswana survey 2012 . BOFOD and other and other NGOs lack resources to support and advocate for their cause and are not given enough real support at all levels to significantly address attitudes. Although state departments they still tend to employ at lower levels, often fail to make reasonable accommodation, such as employing personal assistants or assistive devices, and did not retain staff. Office of President – Disability Coordination lack enforcement powers. BOFOD itself in its advocacy efforts will like to see the following issues addressed:  public Education and sensitization, workplace profiling, reasonable accommodation, access, and different recruitment facilities. Disabled peoples’ organizations had to be funded and proper incentives are needed to further disabled employment. Despite that  there are multiple discriminatory practices facing disabled people. However, the worst and most prevalent are perhaps the attitudes and economic practices that hindered disabled people; the big problem lay in implementation of the policies.

Government had not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and other international instruments. However, there are still concerns that the instruments being used to measure the progress that Botswana had made in addressing disability issues are not effective. Disabled people, particularly those in the deep rural areas, are still subjected to immense ills of society. It is important to put a proper framework in place to guarantee privacy, for the deaf and blind, from their personal assistants and sign language interpreters. As much as we believe that nobody could predict the future, and it is even more important to ensure that proper structures are put in place.

Although the highest ranking officials of the state are committed to changing of attitudes of society towards disabled people, they are not enough. BOFOD lack resources to manoeuvre within the spaces they are being given by the state. There is need to change attitudes throughout.

BOFOD isadamant that it could itself help in providing solutions and emphasized “nothing about us, without us”. There are disabled senior official employed in government, but had not been provided with a personal assistant? BOFOD emphasized that whenever someone was employed, reasonable accommodation must be provided to cater for needs, as virtually nothing had been done in this direction to date.

BOFOD isquite satisfied, in principle, with the existence of the disability sector at OP , but still felt that the office  had no “teeth” as it did not have enough authority to hold others accountable for the failure to meet targets.  

Furthermore, BOFOD emphasized the need for funding for disabled people’s organizations, as they often reached out to places where state departments could not.

BOFOD   and its members noted the positive progress in addressing some of its concerns. Sign language had been included state of the nation address there is need to do more, listen to the Voice of the Deaf and use the correct sign language interpreters and provide subtitles are provided for some programmes.  . Braille facilities ought also to be included.

In order to achieve its targets, BOFOD will like to have a meeting with  all departments to address the following issues  Transport issues, Braille accessibility, Accessibility and Forum meeting in all its advocacy and dialogue with government to provide consultancy and advice to policy makers , as well as to make government committed, accountable and consultative.

The Status of Disability Policy Discussions In Zambia

ImageAccording to the World Health Organization estimates, about 2 million women and men in Zambia, or 15 per cent of the population, have a disability. The Government of Zambia has adopted a number of laws and policies pertaining to persons with disabilities. The current 2012 draft Zambian constitution includes specific provisions for persons with disabilities under the bill of rights. The Zambian vision 2030 also recognizes streamlining of service delivery for persons with disabilities as key to achieving the goals and objectives of the Vision. The Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) Act, 1998, states that the “special needs of people with disabilities will be taken into consideration”. The Workers’ Compensation Act (No. 10 of 1999), revises the law relating to the compensation of workers for disabilities suffered or diseases contracted during the course of employment.

The National Policy on Education, 1996, recognizes the right to education for each individual, regardless of personal circumstances or capacity. The Ministry of Education has overall responsibility for education, including special education. The National Employment and Labour Market Policy (NELP), 2005, shows the government’s intentions to provide for improved care and support services to vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities.

 The National Youth Policy, 2006, aims at including disabled youth in mainstream programmes and projects targeting youth. The Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission Act, 2008, aims at empowering people with disabilities economically through start-up businesses that will employ others. The government of Zambia  ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on the 1st of February,2010 and has signed  but not yet  ratified the optional protocol to the convention, which establishes  an individual  complaint  mechanism. So far, Zambia has adopted a number of laws and policies on persons with disabilities, including the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 06 of 2012, which was enacted by parliament on the 31st of July, 2012 in line with the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) 2011 to 2015 builds on the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) 2006-2010. The Zambian current government recently revised the Sixth National Development Plan and has aligned it to its manifesto. The revised Sixth National Development Plan was not inclusive of Disability issues as the comprehensive section in the original SNDP was dissolved and combined with social protection to be called “Social Protection and Disability”. However the purpose of a complete separate section was meant to give proper mainstreaming guidance of disability issues into other sectors like awareness raising, education, medical care, rehabilitation and rehabilitation, accessibility and mobility. The Zambia Federation for Disability Organisations as an advocate for Persons with Disabilities has urged the Ministry of Finance to review the revised SNDP so that it can be clear and profound in mainstreaming disability issues into all sectors.

The Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health has been mandated to lead on disability issues in Zambia and is entrusted with formulating policy for persons with disabilities such as the Persons with disabilities Act 33 of 1996 which established the Zambia Agency for Persons with disabilities ZAPD; the act has now been repealed to the Disabilities Act 6, of 2012. The MCDMCH has formulated the National Policy on Disability in conjunction with various stakeholders including the Disability organizations and the policy has been completed, approved by cabinet and is currently awaiting its launch.

Part of the premise for the development of the ZAFOD-COPDAM initiative in Zambia is that the Zambian government assented to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability on upholding the dignity and justice of people with disabilities, as a measure aimed at reinforcing government’s commitment in streamlining the active participation of persons with disabilities in policy formulation and implementation. The ZAFOD-COPDAM project has built the capacity of the ZAFOD to negotiate and advocate for disability mainstreaming in all sectors of government and the Zambian Government has assured ZAFOD-COPDAM of its full commitment and support as it has recognized the good intentions of the project.

The Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health is in the process of formulating a National Disability Implementation Plan of the Persons with Disabilities Act in which it is looking forward to the input of the Disabled People’s Organizations. The Zambian government has said that the ZAFOD-COPDAM project’s outcome of coming up with a National Disability Mainstreaming Plan is an opportunity to adapt the information that will be contained in the plan, into the National Disability Implementation Plan.

The ZAFOD-COPDAM project has engaged a consultant and has held consultative meetings with various stakeholders. A consultative workshop was held and it endeavored to make consultations on the desired contents of the National Disability Implementation Plan by the Disability movement. The main purpose of the workshop was to present the Draft National Disability Mainstreaming Plan and get feedback from the various stakeholders. This workshop enabled the disability movement to make a meaningful contribution to the intended National Disability Implementation Plan. Moreover, the ZAFOD-COPDAM consultant is in the process of concluding the final draft plan and the submission of this document to government will be done with the guidance from the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health as it intends to launch its plan in December, 2013.

The MCDMCH and the Ministry of Justice are also in the process of amending the Disability Act in the first quarter of the year 2014.The Ministry of Justice will facilitate the amendment process and the stakeholder consultations will start in January, 2014. ZAFOD-COPDAM is ensuring a disability perspective in all aspects of policy and legislation, effective implementation and enforcement of existing disability laws and policies. The National Disability Implementation Plan will facilitate the implementation of the already existing pieces of legislation and government policies.

How Persons with Disabilities are claiming inclusion in Zambia

ZAFOD has participated in a number of SAFOD programs including the surveys coordinated by SINTEF in 2006. Pic. Sintef ©

The Government of the Republic of Zambia revised the Sixth National Development Plan to align it to the aspirations of the Patriotic Front manifesto. However, Persons with Disabilities are concerned that the revised version is not pro disability as the mainstreaming of disability issues is not prominent. The major concern that has been raised is that the comprehensive section in the original SNDP was dissolved and combined with social protection to be called “Social Protection and Disability”.

The Persons with Disabilities in Zambia insist that the purpose of a complete separate section was meant to give proper mainstreaming guidance of disability issues into other sectors like awareness raising, education, medical care, habilitation and rehabilitation, accessibility and mobility etc. There is need for National Development Plans to be explicit in mainstreaming disability issues into all sectors. The Persons with Disabilities have been swallowed by the word vulnerable groups in the National Plan which is not supposed to be the case. Persons with disabilities need to be clearly stated rather than being implied under vulnerability.

The Persons with Disabilities are claiming for Inclusive education for learners with disabilities this is in line with the submissions that were made to the Ministry of Finance by the Zambia Federation for Disability Organisations in representing the views of the Disabled Peoples Organisations. They emphasized that both objectives and strategies in all levels of education that is; Early Childhood Education, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education. The PWDs are also demanding that issues of appropriate and accessible infrastructure should be prominent throughout the SNDP. Accessibility is now key as it is emphasized in the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2012.The social protection and disability sector should be clear on free ECE, Primary and Secondary education for persons with disabilities. The sector should also be clear on free medical and health services for persons with disabilities.

It has been emphasized that under the sector of employment and job creation there must be key performance indicators of persons with disabilities (male and female) employed and empowered as entrepreneurs just as it is done for the youths. This is important to measure participation of persons with disabilities in the employment sector and there after plan for interventions to improve their participation. In all key performance indicators the numbers of persons with disabilities should be clear across all sectors. The Persons with Disabilities are also claiming for inclusion in the area of accessing Information Communication Technology. Accessibility to ICT and ICT training for persons with disabilities should be prominent in all National Plans. Moreover, the importation of mobility aids should be clear and prominent and should include importation of vehicles for persons with disabilities.

Persons with Disabilities in Zambia are further claiming for the inclusion of sign language as the 8th official language to carter for the Deaf community. They are also claiming for an independent ministry to handle their issues and not continue under the MCDMCH because they feel their issues are sidelined and the ministry is concentrating on Mother and Child issues that have been added to their mandate. They feel that a detached ministry will represent them wholly and ensure their full inclusion in national plans, policies and pieces of legislation.

The first ZAFOD-COPDAM Capacity Development workshop was held for the Federation (ZAFOD) and the Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) whose purpose was to equip participants with skills and knowledge to enhance their capacity to monitor government’s efforts in mainstreaming disability in its different sectors. During this workshop, four critical sectors were identified which have not been given adequate attention in previous inclusion efforts and were also recommended in the recent past by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice as priority areas and these included the following sectors; Employment and social protection, Accessibility and Mobility, Political and Public life and finally Agriculture, Livestock and fisheries.

ZAFOD-COPDAM has taken note of these priority areas and they have been referred for inclusion into the intended National Disability Implementation Plan that is forth coming. The consultant is almost through with the works on this document and the presentation of the final draft document to the federation will be done on the 11th of November, 2013.

Welcome To SAFOD Blog

Welcome to the official Blog of SAFOD, a leading Southern African disability-focused NGO engaged in coordination of activities of organisations of disabled persons in the SADC Region.

The Blog will provide the platform to update national assemblies (or affiliates) and the general public at large on the activities, events or news taking place at the secretariat or within the affiliates.

The Blog is one of the media channels being utilized at the secretariat besides other social media like Facebook, twitter and Youtube. You may give us feedback using the feedback forms on this Blog, or using any of the social media which we have just highlighted .

Whether you are an affiliate or a member of the general public in any of the ten SADC countries where SAFOD currently operates, we would definitely love to hear from you!

Thank you for taking time.

The Secretariat.