The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has developed national standards for determining disabilities in the country, to ensure services provided by agencies sufficiently guarantee inclusion of persons with disability.
The protocols are expected to go through exhaustive stages of consultation, validation and user testing, culminating in a final set of standards being produced to address individual and complex needs of persons with disability (PWDs).
Mr. Moses Fordjour, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of GFD, told the Ghana News Agency that the standards would promote ease of access by the disability community to public and private buildings.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the GFD for the development of standard protocol or tool and processes for testing and measuring disability sensitivity and compliance.
The standard protocol development process, which is part of a two-year capacity building support project for the federation, is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with $292,000.
Mr. Fordjour said, “We will establish standards for assessing how agencies work with the principles underlying inclusive development, a process that will empower PWDs and look at policies, programmes and projects comply with the law. We will look at the extent with which they run inclusive programmes and how they address issues of accessibility. It will help the GFD to do comprehensive accessibility audit, policy audit and the results would show the extent of dealing with disability in Ghana.”
Mr. Yaw Ofori Debra, the President of GFD, urged stakeholders to intensify their advocacy and activism to help policy makers and the public understood assess inclusive disability at every development level.
He asked local assemblies to be proactive in the planning and execution of projects and programmes, to ensure the needs of PWDs were fused into their planning.
“We feel that many people are not knowledgeable about the needs of PWDS, some of which are technical,” he said, adding, “if we provide these tools planners will always be conscious of their needs and ensure the right things are done.”
Mr. Debra expressed the hope that standard protocols would help evaluate disabilities and properly appraise development needs as well as guide planners.
Disability experts say though PWDs have a legal entitlement and a right to access mainstream opportunities, services, programmes, public events and infrastructure, many in Ghana experience profound exclusion and less access.
The situation leads to poor health services delivery, lower levels of education, poor training, lack of employment participation, social exclusion, and failure to access basic goods and facilities.