The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has shown huge commitment in its drive to empower Persons with disabilities (PWDs) with the devotion of US$ 300,000 over two years to sensitize the public on the need for PWD inclusion in mainstream work. The Centre has also been providing platforms aimed at creating opportunities for increased participation of PWDs in the extractive industry.
Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of ACEP, said his organization is undertaking these efforts for persons with disabilities for them to contribute meaningfully to the development of society. The Centre wants persons with disabilities to be partakers in economic opportunities offered by the extractive sector and to ensure that they benefit equally from revenues and resources from the sector.
As part of its Diversity, Gender, and Inclusion drive, the think-tank has produced a report titled “Empowering PWDs: A Mapping Report on Disability Interventions in Ghana”, aimed at helping to augment the conditions of persons with disability in Ghana.
The report provides information on the nature and scale of disability exclusion in Ghana and gives information on various disability-inclusive interventions implemented over the years and their level of effectiveness.
Disability In Ghana;
Records indicate an estimated number of 900,000 people living with disabilities in Ghana, meaning 3% of the entire population suffers some form of disability. This number, according to experts, is likely to shoot up as the population grows older and the instances of chronic conditions which create impairment and disability continue to rise.
Though provisions exist for the inclusion and integration of PWDs as stipulated in both national and international laws and conventions such as the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, and the National Disability Policy, implementation has been short of desired. Persons with disability face exclusion across several sectors including access to health care, education, economic openings, decision making, and access to information.
PWDs indicate that obstacles impeding their inclusion comprise the lack of assistive devices to make them effective in any work environment, the lack of which prevents employers from hiring their services, particularly in the extractive industry. Additionally, there is no database on skilled members and they lack opportunities to work in salaried employment.
ACEP’s Report identified poor funding of interventions, limited involvement of PWDs in policy and decision-making processes, poor implementation plans, and limited research on disability limited access to information as some more pertinent factors which hinder the successful implementation of PWD interventions in the country.
A real source of concern is the inadequacy of public sensitization on the need for PWDs to be given a fair chance in job opportunities, employment in state services, and the need to foster a good working relationship between the general public and PWDs.
As part of inclusion measures, the government has established the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity Programme to provide skills to the youth and empower Ghanaian businesses to compete favorably in the Oil and Gas Industry.
Additionally, there is a policy directing all oil companies to develop gender and disability policies to integrate PWDs into their operations, to which some organizations were already adhering, according to Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, a Deputy Minister of Energy.
The government, he said, is also planning to designate some quota of petroleum revenue in support of persons with disability, as he believes they need to be empowered with the requisite skills and expertise needed to be gainfully employed in the extractive industry.
So far, ACEP’s interventions targeted at PWD inclusivity have included transcribing the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) Report into braille for the visually impaired to gain access to its contents.
In collaboration with relevant state agencies, the Centre has been holding a series of stakeholder engagements aimed to address disability exclusion in the country as well as inclusion efforts, particularly in the extractives sector. The National Council on Persons with Disability, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations are partners with ACEP in this drive.
To enhance PWD inclusion at all levels and in all sectors, ACEP suggests the timely discharge of budgetary allocations, participatory decision-making on disability policies, properly piloted and pre-tested planned implementation of programs, improved research on disability issues, and access to information.