The Ghana Federation of the Disabled has put forward a proposal for the ministry of gender, children and social protection to pass a bill for an affirmative action that secures a quota in governmental appointments for persons with disability.
The disabled currently constitute 15% of the country’s population with very few in positions of national governance.
To ensure their views are duly represented in national issues, the Federation is pushing for a quota of ten percent (10%) of all ministerial appointments to be reserved for persons with disabilities.
The federation further wants twenty percent (20%) of all government appointments to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to go to the disabled.It also wants one representative on all boards of public institutions and agencies.
It made these demands at a workshop on Wednesday in the Ashanti Regional capital Kumasi.
Addressing the gathering, the President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled Yaw Osorio – Debrah reiterated the need for minority groups including the disabled to be integrated into positions of influence in national development.
‘Persons with disabilities have the qualifications, competence, and when we are given position of trust we will be able to man them diligently,’ he stated.
He added, ‘If few people with disabilities can be trusted with ministerial appointments or chief executive positions or get nominated onto boards to also share our experiences and to render services to mother Ghana in these positions, it wouldn’t be so much to ask for.’
He indicated that, ‘as compared to the number of appointments the president makes, asking for ten to twenty percent in the country is a minimal amount being put forward for consideration’.
Speaking to Ultimate Radio, the Ashanti Regional Director of the Social Welfare department, who represented the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection at the workshop, sided with the federation’s proposals.
He noted that it will only take an affirmative action to address the challenges and concerns of vulnerable groups in the country.
Mr. Jacob Achulo was worried the country seems to have turned a deaf ear to the disability act 2006 which has given a ten year moratorium for public institutions to restructure their operations and architectural structures to be disability friendly.
He lamented, ‘Even inclusive education which demands that we take along every segment of the society in our development drive has been neglected.’
He opined that for the disabled and other minority and vulnerable groups to be fully integrated into mainstream society, there needed to be a conscious effort to make society more accommodative of persons with peculiar needs.
BELOW IS THE DETAILS OF THE PROPOSALS MADE.
Proposed Areas for Affirmative Action for PWDs
The preliminary proposals of the GFD are captured under 4 broad areas comprising;
Governance; employment; education; amenities and recreation. They are described in detail as follows:
Under this heading, it is proposed as follows:
That minimum 10% out of the 30% government appointees to the various Metropolitan,
Municipal and District Assemblies should be PWDs. The appointees nominated to represent this 10% should be appointed in consultation with the GFD.
That minimum 10% of persons appointed to occupy the various offices of Metropolitan, Municipal, or District Chief Executive be a Person with Disability. That there be at least one (1) PWD on every board of each public institution, with specific orientation and expertise where necessary.
Appropriate provision should be made for capacity enhancement of PWDs who are given
the opportunity to occupy position in government. These recommendations are made out of the importance of having PWDs, who form a Significant portion of Ghana’s population, involved in governing the nation which they themselves form a part of, and in recognition of the general lack of inclusion of PWDs in matters of governance.
As regards employment, it is proposed as follows:
That at least 2% of the employees in every public service establishment be PWDs, possessing the appropriate skills and/or expertise as necessary. This recommendation is borne out of the absence of a level ‘playing field’ against PWDs in relation to accessing employment as against persons without disabilities.
The following recommendations are made in relation to education of PWDs: The Set-up of a Disability Educational Fund (DEF) to be managed by the Scholarship Secretariat and be made available exclusively for the use of PWDs at all levels of education.
It is recommended that part of the GET Fund be reserved and/or other resources should be provided specifically for accessible infrastructural development and provision of accessible teaching and learning materials to integrate PWDs into mainstream educational institutions. The recommendations here are made in order to expand the accessibility of education to PWDs, especially in light of observations that although – facilities are available for the use of all citizens, PWDs, as a marginalised group, are not able to compete effectively with other persons for these resources and hence are not able to access them as much as is possible. What this ultimately results in is a situation where PWDs who require assistance in order to access education are simply not able to do so, or reach the heights that they could otherwise attain.
Amenities and Recreation
With respect to amenities and recreation, the GFD recommends that: A percentage of the annual budget for sports and recreation be reserved for sports and other recreational activities specific to PWDs, such as Paralympics. This recommendation is made in recognition of the fact that in consideration of matters of sports and recreational activities PWDs are generally left out altogether or, at least, much less considered. The recommendation made here, therefore, is meant to address this problem and forestall situations such as the inability of the country to send athletes to participate in the international Paralympic games, owing to lack of funding.
The GFD, in making these recommendations, takes the position that implementing
Affirmative Action in the proposed areas will go a long way to enhance the leadership, economic, social and cultural wellbeing of PWDs in Ghana. The Federation, further, takes the stance that the recommendations made here will better integrate PWDs into the Ghanaian society, and make Ghana a society that is inclusive of PWDs as envisioned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), which Ghana is a signatory to and also affirm the provisions of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
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