“Including people with disabilities in our programs is a human rights issue and not a matter of discretion.” This was one of the most important messages of a workshop organized by Tree Aid Ghana as part of the Village Tree Enterprise project. The two-day training was concerned with inclusive programming and was attended by Trax’s Sustainable Livelihoods Coordinator.
Much emphasis was put on inclusive development; creating a society for all in which everyone is able to develop his or her potentials. Some organisations consciously or unconsciously exclude People with Disabilities (PWDs) in their projects because of a lack of expertise and high cost of including People with Disabilities in project activities.
In the light of this, partner organisations were made to understand that the cost of excluding PWDs in project activities will ultimately be higher than that of including them. If PWDs are supported they are able to live quite independent lives, but if they are not they will continue to depend on others, which will result in unsustainable demands on members of society.
Excluding People with Disabilities also means that about 15% of the world population is systematically excluded from development interventions. Hence, there is a need to actively involve PWDs in development interventions, since they represent the vulnerable in society.
Ghana has also put in place a regulation which allocates 2% of district funds (the district common funds) to PWDs. Partner organizations were encouraged to sensitize and create awareness among PWDs of their right to these resources to enable them to establish small businesses.
Trax already includes PWDs in its normal project activities, but is also in the process of developing a project that is specifically designed for PWDs.