Politics of Thursday, 11 April 2013
A project initiated in the Volta Region to draw persons with disabilities (PWDs) into active politics has taken off.
The project, executed in Agortime-Ziope, Adaklu and South-Dayi constituencies sought to raise the confidence of PWDs to participate in politics and to tackle the issue of their physical access to political events, including rallies.
The project also lobbied the Electoral Commission (EC) to engage the physically challenged for various jobs in the electoral process.
VOICE-Ghana, which is PWDs interest advocacy group, headquartered in Ho, undertook the project supported by Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana, with funds from the DFID, EU, DANIDA and USAID.
Presenting an overview of the project in an interaction with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Francis Asong, Director of VOICE-Ghana said the project was based on a baseline survey in the Agortime-Ziofe and Adaklu constituencies, to ascertain the level of participation of PWDs in previous elections particularly the 2008 general election.
He said the survey indicated that people with disabilities were sidelined in the political process; were hardly visible in the campaign processes and virtually had no opportunities to work as polling assistants.
Mr Asong said as part of the advocacy, VOICE-Ghana, organised the PWDs in the project areas, and also engaged the EC and the media in a series of education, awareness creation and other outreach programmes.
He said the points raised by the PWDs at such interactions include inaccessibility to political party rally venues and offices, the shunning of policy issues regarding PWDs and election related jobs for them.
Mr Asong said the advocacy also targeted persons with disabilities at the grassroots level, particularly women to raise their involvement in national assignments.
He said 18 persons with disabilities were engaged as polling assistants during the last elections as a result of the project.
Mr Asong said one of them was Ms Patricia Deku, 36, a Dressmaker with National Vocational Training Institute.