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Government urged to include PWDs in innovation

Joshua Nahamya

Mbarara

The chairperson of the National Council for People with Disabilities (NCPD), Yona Waswa has appealed to the government to always consider PWDs, saying it is an important ingredient for socio-economic transformation.

Waswa said this on Sunday at Rutooma Senior Secondary School playground found in Rutooma-Bwizibwera Town council in Mbarara district when people with disabilities joined the rest of the world to celebrate their day under the Theme ‘The Role of Innovations in Disability Inclusion’.

He said that innovation is a critical mass in the lives of persons with disabilities, particularly during this growing technological world, thus calling upon all state actors to always consider PWDs in innovations.

“Persons with disabilities are customers, they are users of financial institutions, and therefore the council aspires and wishes to see an inclusive technologically advanced financial institution that leaves no one behind,” Waswa said

He added that “the innovations do not respond to persons with hearing impairments yet they want innovations on how to hear and translate”.

Some PWDs attending their day in Kashari Mbarara district.

“Like persons who are visual impaired want audio innovations so that they are able to hear what is going on, then we have people who are deaf blind that require tactile technology to feel through their body but most innovations are leaving out persons with physical disabilities” Waswa explained

He also said that “Whereas the government programmes are inclusive in nature, some government agencies deliberately do not consider people with disabilities which pose a worry that if we don’t make a deliberate effort to reach out to persons with disabilities, then we will not be implementing a sustainable development goal”.

“I therefore want to call upon each one of us in the world of innovations, the academia, and development partners to do something to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind in innovations,” Waswa said

Laura Kanushu, a Woman Member of Parliament representing people living with disabilities, asked the government to increase PWDs’ grants from 16 bln to about 30 bln to facilitate a bigger margin of PWD groups in the country.

Lacra Criapo-representing the Country Director UNFPA on the PWDs Day Celebrations on Sunday in Rutooma-Bwizibwera Kashari South Mbarara district

“In the last financial budget, the special grant was reduced to three billion until we made a lot of noise that the budget had been revised. Our request is that let the special interest grant for PWDs be revised from 16 bln to at least 30 bln so that each group can access about 10 mln” she said adding that, persons with disabilities are people who cannot get in physical activities but can only be engaged through income generating activities” Kanushu explained

She also asserted that Emyooga seed capital is benefiting one group of PWDs per constituency, thus calling upon the government to unlock it for many PWD groups to benefit.

“This Emyooga seed capital is only given to one group in a constituency whereas the able bodied people have formed many groups whereby we also need many groups of people who are disabled to benefit” Kanushu emphasised

Hon. Joyce Achan, Member of Parliament from the Northern region warned to deal with local leaders who are blocking PWDs from accessing PDM funds.

“The rhetoric is that PWDs have a special grant so should not come to PDM. I want to tell our leaders that it is illegal. If you are a leader and you are denying people with disabilities PDM funds, you are doing it illegally and we shall come for you” Achan said

Some of the Members of Parliament and Ministers that graced the PWDs national celebrations on Sunday in Rutooma-Bwizibwera Town Council Mbarara district.

She also appealed to the government to implement the laws in place especially those that cater to the rights of PWDs.

“Minister, Can you kindly help us to implement the laws about disabilities that we have in this country? If we can implement the laws and policies in place, I don’t think we would hear people with disabilities crying” she said, adding that it is so sad that even a basic law like access to a public building is still a problem in this country.” Achan explained

The LC V chairman of Mbarara district, Didas Tabaro also challenged ministries and government agencies to consider the employment of PWDs.

“Today persons with disabilities are highly educated but do we see them getting employment in different ministries and agencies of government? We need to take stock because the policy talks about 5% that should be taken by people with disabilities” Tabaro said

 Ghetto envoy Mark Bugembe, alias Bucha Man, asked people to have passion, love, and respect for people with disabilities.

While representing the vice president Rtd Hon. Jessica Alupo, the Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development, Hon Betty Among, encouraged people to live healthily to prevent chances of disability.

“I am glad that the president always guides us that when we are to talk to persons with disabilities, we should start with the question of health” adding that, the policy of the government for immunization is very crucial in preventing some of the disabilities that some of you could have been prevented,” Among said

She encouraged some of the manufacturers in innovation and production to provide alternative solutions for people with disabilities at cheap and affordable costs.

“The president has directed us that we work with the Ministry of Health and other entities to make sure that there are cheap, affordable, and efficient system devices for PWDs,” she said, adding that, we will follow it up, especially with the people that are locally procuring” Among explained

The minister concluded by handing over a total of over 607 bln dummy cheques to 129 PWD groups in Ankole, Kigezi, and Rwenzori regions under the national special Disabilities grant.

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