Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID), a non-governmental organization (NGO), has built the capacities of executives of Northern Region Branch of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) to equip them with advocacy skills.
The training is to enable the managers of the Union to demand inclusiveness in decision-making at all levels.
The two-day training, held in Tamale, was to inculcate in them, the knowledge and skills to engage duty bearers on issues that affected their well-being for actions.
It formed part of the CALID’s “Anti-Stigma and Discrimination against Blind (ASDAB)” project, being implemented in the Tamale Metropolis, Sagnarigu and Savelugu Municipalities of the Northern Region.
The ASDAB project is being implemented in partnership with the GBU, with funding support from Ghana Somubi Dwumadie. It seeks to create positive culture of support and care that allows blind persons, including; people with mental health conditions access to basic, equitable and quality healthcare in the Northern Region.
Besides, it is meant to promote the use of positive languages in communities and public spaces as a way of reducing stigmatization and discrimination against blind and partially sighted persons.
Mr. Mohammed Awal Sumani Bapio, Executive Director of CALID, in his opening remarks, said the training was vital as it would enhance their abilities to channel their grievances to the appropriate institutions for redress.
He said visually impaired persons needed to have access to basic social services without fear of intimidation and discrimination, and therefore, need to be empowered at all times to have sense of inclusiveness.
Mr. Bapio called on members of the public to desist from stigmatizing visually impaired persons, and said they should create enabling environment for them where to realize their full potentials.
“We must see issues of disability as a developmental challenge, and find appropriate solutions to them, instead of making mockery of such people”, he added.
Mr. Peter Anomah-Kordieh, Programme Advisor for Disability Inclusion at Ghana Somubi Dwumadie, called on policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure visually impaired persons were involved in making decisions that affected their well-being.
That, he said was the only way through which policymakers could appreciate and understand their needs and find appropriate solutions to them.
Mr. Imoro Mohammed, Northern Regional Secretary of the GBU, commended CALID and its partners for the intervention, and said the knowledge they had acquired would better encourage them to engage authorities on issues that affect their general well-being.
Mr. Mohammed Aminu Lukumanu, a Facilitator of the training, took participants through disability and inclusive development, the concept of advocacy, and how they could set advocacy goals and action plans, among other topics.