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June 23, 2016

DSD/JICA's Journey towards inclusion of persons with disabilities

By: Mr D Sagiya - Chief Advisor
Mr R Kamioka - Project Coordinator,
Brigette Kgaphola - Communications Consultant

Background

In November 2007, South Africa ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (UNCRPD). The Department of Social Development (DSD) reviewed and updated the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in alignment with UNCRPD for domestication. South Africa is currently striving to improve and ensure that poverty and inequality rates are eliminated. Although there are policies and legislations ensuring that equal social and economic rates are achieved, the country still experiences persisting and increasing inequality. As a result this can be seen in the lives of persons with disabilities as they remain uneducated, unskilled, unemployed and the poorest of the poor. Furthermore, there are minimal means and implementations related to the policies ensuring that persons with disabilities are catered for and ensuring that their rights are met accordingly. DSD is responsible for delivering basic social services to persons with disabilities. They aim to address current discriminative practices as persons with disabilities are the most disadvantaged in communities and in turn the most vulnerable. The DSD's approach is to address the unity and human rights of persons with disabilities. JICA dispatched an advisor on disability mainstreaming in 2012. The advisor worked hand in hand with DSD officials and persons with disabilities to promote disability mainstreaming. In 2013-2015, DSD together with JICA organized 11 disability mainstreaming trainings in all 9 provinces for 617 participants.

Introduction

DSD/JICA promotes inclusion of persons with disabilities and from the 9th of May 2016 kick-started a four-year project called "Project for the promotion of empowerment of persons with disabilities and disability mainstreaming". The project targets persons with disabilities and disability related organizations on all three levels: National, Provincial and Local in South Africa. JICA dispatched two Experts – Mr D Sagiya, Chief Advisor and Mr R Kamioka, the Project Coordinator, who are stationed at the DSD office in South Africa.

Action plan

In order to plan, implement and monitor activities, the project will establish working groups in two sites, 1. Vhembe District, Limpopo Province and 2. Thabo Mofutsanyana District, Free State Province. They are comprised of relevant national, provincial and district officials and persons with disabilities.

The project promotes empowerment of persons with disabilities and disability mainstreaming by:

  • Improving representation of persons with disabilities
  • Collecting and analysing the baseline information of the empowerment of persons with disabilities and disability mainstreaming in two sites
  • Improving knowledge and skills of persons with disabilities and DSD officials which will enable effective implementation of empowerment and mainstreaming
  • Conducting activities in two sites to generate approaches and resources for implementing empowerment of persons with disabilities and disability mainstreaming by DSD
    Examples of activities
    • Peer-counselling
    • Establishment and strengthening of support groups
    • Disability Equality Training (DET)
    • Accessibility workshop, and
    • Other relevant community-based inclusive activities
  • Conducting follow-up activities to monitor impact of seminar / workshop / training and increase their effectiveness
  • Developing and improving community-based inclusive programme and services in partnership with provincial, and local government
  • Enhancing DSD's Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system to enrich knowledge-base on disability and to facilitate full inclusion of disability rights into respective DSD policies and programmes
  • Extending impact by replicating approaches to other provinces in South Africa
  • Promoting regional collaboration; establishment of forums and networks for information sharing on disability mainstreaming within South Africa and Southern African countries

The first Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) will facilitate inter-organizational coordination which will be held in 21st July 2016 (date TBA). It is responsible for reviewing the work plan, overall progress and evaluation of the projects thus it is a crucial element for the success of this project.

Conclusion

The project considers persons with disabilities as centre, key actors and change agents. The project promises to empower persons with disabilities, promote disability mainstreaming and realise equality and full participation with the vision of "Inclusive and Dynamic Development".

PhotoVisiting home of persons with disability for empowerment on 30 Sep 2014

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