GNAD To Start Sign Language Training In Northern Ghana

As part of the governance project being implemented by the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) in the Northern and the Upper East Region of Ghana, stakeholders involved have shown commitments and have welcomed GNAD’s decision to introduce sign language literacy in the local governance structure.

These commitments were revealed during GNAD’s engagement with duty bearers in Tamale and Savulugu Municipals, and Bongo and Bolgatanga Municipals in the Upper East Region on 13th to 15th August, 2014.

The GNAD’s governance project is sponsored by STAR-Ghana, and it is aimed at increasing participation for the deaf in the local governance structure in 4 project districts. Not only did the participants turn up in their numbers in all the meetings but they also expressed their willingness to learn the sign language to help in their interactions with the deaf. “We the hearing learning the sign language will help communication and information flow among us all as one community especially in our meetings with the deaf” some of the participants noted.

The stakeholders are Institutions in service delivery such as the District Assemblies, District Health Directorate, Traditional Authorities, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Department of Social Welfare as well as GNAD sister organizations under Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD).

Orientation of the sign language training is scheduled to begin within the first week of September for interested people in 4 districts once a week over a period of 4 months to ensure proficiency among trainees.

GNAD used the meetings to collect data on volunteers for the commencement of the sign language training, and to develop an action plan for the period.

The interactions were participatory and evaluations conducted during the engagements indicated that the stakeholders involved are willing and have shown preparedness to learn to help improve their knowledge in sign language.

GNAD is very optimistic the “governance project” will help ease the frustrations that deaf people go through in accessing information in the project districts. We are very grateful to STAR-Ghana for the sponsorship and the Institutions involved for such an “all inclusive partnership” at this crucial moments.

By the end of the project in December, 2014, the GNAD hopes: District Assemblies, Traditional Authorities, Stakeholders in 4 districts in the Upper east and Northern Regions would have improved knowledge and capacity on the need and benefits to involve deaf persons in the local governance structure at the unit and district level, and the Capacity of 32 (8 female and 24 male) deaf people from 4 districts in Upper East and Northern Regions built in the local governance structure. And ultimately the government of Ghana adopting the creditable initiative in local governance structure and implementing them very effectively.

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