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Ghana co-hosts Global Disability Summit in Accra

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Ghana co-hosted the 2022 Global Disability Summit at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra as a follow-up to the first Global Disability Summit that was organized in London in 2018.

The program organized by the lnternational Disability Alliance (lDA), the government of Norway, and co-hosted by the government of Ghana mobilized efforts for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

It also focused on the principle of leaving no one behind and of building back better and more inclusiveness with regard to COVID-19.

Speaking at the summit, the Executive Director of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD), Rita Kusi Kyeremaa, said, “this year’s summit is seen as unique in its form because the government of Ghana is a co-host, so that in its self presents an opportunity for Ghana to provide full level of leadership to other African countries and the world. We see it as an opportunity for us to highlight the issues relevant for our inclusive agenda, and for this summit we think that the needs and aspirations of persons with disabilities should be prioritized.”

Highlighting the challenges in promoting inclusive development, Mrs. Kyeremaa explained that “persons with disability, we are yet to fully to experience the principle around leaving no one behind. We are yet to see the impact on our lives. So everyone talks about it, but in practical steps what does it mean to PWDs, and how is that being considered in the development process, consultation and budgeting.”?

Additionally, there has been little progress in creating a conducive educational system to support persons with disability, hence the advice to government and the private sector to streamline employment opportunities to accommodate PWDs.

“Even though Ghana has adopted the inclusive education policy, the system is not fully inclusive. The physical structures and learning materials are not accessible. The teachers are not fully trained to take on the inclusive system, and it is a critical issue for us. We have raised the issue of inclusive employment. Usually employment is a big issue in Ghana, but for many employers there’s yet to be that understanding of the win-win bit of hiring persons with disability. So we have proposed to government an employment equity policy, but it is yet to be amended.” she said.

“Can that policy be looked at? Can government adopt it that it caters for the critical employment and the challenges we face in seeking for jobs?” she questioned.

UFPA Ghana’s Program Analyst for Reproductive Health Commodity Security, Mrs. Dela Bright Gley, says the summit is not a “talk show” but creates an avenue to assess the progress made since its last meeting in 2018.

“The essence of the summit is to track what has been achieved so far; it is a time to evaluate and where there are gaps you recommit to achieve them within the next four years. So for me, it is not one of those ‘talk shops’ that you bring people together. But it is actually to assess the progress, look for the gaps and put in those accelerated efforts to make sure that come another 4 years we won’t be at the same place.”

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