The National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) in collaboration with The Gambia Federation for the Disable (GFD) with funding from UNICEF and Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPDO) last Saturday began a nationwide stakeholder’s sensitisation on Persons with Disability (PWDs) Act 2021 at Essau, Lower Nuimi District, North Bank Region.
The theme for this popularisation tour is: ‘The role of local authorities in ensuring inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.’ The overall goal is to advance the rights of persons with disabilities in The Gambia as well as raise awareness among societies on the content and principles of the Person with Disability Act 2021. It also seeks to advocate for the protection and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities particularly women and children in all spheres of life and development through invention of proper mechanisms to foster implementation of the Act.
The outreach tour, which will be held in all regions of the country, seeks to enhance the awareness and understanding of key stakeholders including Regional and Local Authorities on the content of the Person with Disabilities Act, 2021 with special focus on the rights of women and Children with disabilities; change mind-sets and eliminate cultural barriers that prevent social, political and economic inclusion of PWDs, among others.
Yusupha Bojang, the programme manager for the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), underscored the importance of the Act, recalling that women were able to get an Act since 2010 and the Children Act adopted since 2005.
“From 2010 which is the closest there is a gap before finally getting the Disability Act.”
Bojang pointed out that every individual has a role to play in the realisation and fulfillment of the objectives of the Act as well as ensure PWDs are included in every aspect of society.
“Disability is different from other minority groups because anybody can be disabled at any stage of your life. Everyone is disabled in one way or the other and it is therefore important that we take the issue of PWDs seriously to ensure their rights are fully protected and promoted.” he further said.
He went on to say that the Constitution frowns against discrimination but there is a lot of discrimination with how public facilities are built because most of these facilities are not accessible to PWDs.
For his part, Lamin Fatty, Executive Director for The Gambia Federation of the Disabled, called on all to respect the Act, saying Persons with Disabilities deserves protection like anyone.
Fatty, however, observed that challenges facing PWDs starts from homes with their own families and them spread to every aspect of society.
“We have a lot of challenges and authorities should endure to ensure our needs are catered for and our rights protected.”
Buba Dampha, in deputising for the Chief of Lower Nuimi District, urged participants to ensure they share the knowledge gained.
The rights of Persons with Disabilities, he alluded to, should be respected because it is not too late for anyone to become disabled as long as you continue to live.