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Election 2024: We want economic empowerment fund in party manifestos -PWDs

Mrs Beatrice Akua Mahmood, Founder, Voice of Women and Children with Disability in Ghana (VOWAC Ghana), has asked political parties to consider the establishment of economic empowerment fund to support businesses of Persons With Disabilities (PWD’s) in their manifestos ahead of the 2024 elections.

She said such a fund would empower and inspire PWDs to be self-reliant.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, on Wednesday, in Accra, she said women and especially PWDs were considered high-risk clients due to limited access to collateral, even though they had big dreams of pursuing their business ideas.

‘Even though we have big dreams of pursuing our business ideas, we are always limited by capital, as the District Assembly Common Fund is very minimal and always delays after application, making it always impossible to address the business needs of PWDs.’

She said the fund could cure that challenge.

The Founder also asked the parties to come up with an affirmative action to promote the active par
ticipation of women with disability in development programmes and leadership.

‘Most often we strive to achieve the inclusion of women, but the generic approach and for that matter treating all women in a homogeneous manner does not yield good results for women with disability. And so having specific programmes and a leadership portfolio will help to ensure that we are included.’

Mrs Mahmood also called for the expansion of GETFund to fund the unique educational needs of PWDs, especially women and children at all levels and implement the inclusive education policy.

‘Even though there have been lots of commitment by government and other international donors on educating us, the key challenge of most PWDs is that most schools are segregated and far, so normally the expenses that come with it deter parents from taking their wards to school.’

She said party manifestos must focus on implementing the inclusive education policy, with a policy of one school per district for a start.

‘Assistive devices and logisti
cs we require to go through education, like the brail, brail sheets, hearing aid among others are very expensive, so we will appreciate it if the GETFund is expanded to include our educational needs.’

Mrs Mahmood said the parties should also consider the inclusion of care givers of persons with disabilities under social protection interventions.

She said care givers go through a lot while providing care and support for PWDs, especially for children and needed some financial protection.

‘Some care givers abandon their dreams to take care of children with disabilities, so we would appreciate if there were social protection covering care givers of

PWDs to meet some of the expenditure that comes about as a result of these persons in the family.’

She noted that women with disability needed more social protection schemes and empowerment programmes because most of them were less educated, unemployed, or underemployed.

These limit their economic participation and social inclusion; hence a conscious effort must
be made to promote their advancement.

Mrs Mahmood called for consultation sessions with disability groups, women with disabilities and children with disability organisations for the parties to include their concerns in their manifestos.

Source: Ghana News Agency