OFP Organizes People-Centered Advocacy Training for Persons with Disabilities

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By Foday Moriba Conteh

In a bid to strengthen the advocacy skills of    Children and Youngsters with Disabilities, caregivers, Partner Organizations & Organizations of Persons with Disabilities to claim their rights to quality services in the country, One Family People has on Tuesday 18th October, 2022 held a one-day training on people-centered advocacy, Networking,  collaboration, and result-based reporting to strengthen the advocacy skills of CYWDs, caregivers, POs & OPDs to claim their rights to quality services in the country. The one day event was held at the Peace Museum, Former Residual Special Court on New England Ville in Freetown.

In his address, the Program Manager at One Family People, Samuel P.O.V. Macauley said as an organization that have been working towards the development of persons with disabilities in the country  and they are with the strong conviction that the training will help POs, CYWDs, Caregivers, OPDs to identify and prioritize key services and facilities that are available, accessible and affordable.

He added that the training will also strengthen the advocacy skills of CYWDs, caregivers, POs & OPDs to claim their rights to quality services in the country.

Samuel P.O.V. Macauley noted that over the years One Family People  partnered with organizations that have been working on  Child Empowerment Programs in the country, stating they believe that the effective and efficient implementation of the child empowerment program largely depends on the capacity of partner organizations to be sufficiently knowledgeable and equipped to implement the program of which he pointed out that the training will help build their capacities in that direction.

The Program Manager maintained that lobbying and advocacy are key components of CBR to increase their work for children with disabilities their parents and caregivers, furthering that over the years, One Family People and its Partner Organizations have engaged in lobbying and advocacy for disability rights across the country.

He revealed that at the end of the training the capacity of the caregiver’s POs, CYWDs, and OPDs that participated would have been strengthened and both POs, CYWDs, caregivers, OPDs will be able to identify and advocate for quality services.

The Program Manager also noted that participants of the training will be equipped in evidence-based advocacy.

In his presentation, the Executive Director for Center for Research Peace and Youth Affairs, Prezo Abdul Kpaka, commended One Family People for engaging CYWDs, caregivers, POs & OPDs on people-centered advocacy as a result-based reporting to strengthen their advocacy skills in order for them to claim their rights to quality services in the country.

He said that advocacy plays a major role in having the voices of citizens heard by individuals in power and that through advocacy individuals are able to foster a sense of community and solidarity in order to promote their cause to the wider public, adding that over the years there have been a lot of issues faced by persons with disabilities in the country and that through advocacy those issues will be mitigated.

Prezo Abdul Kpaka said that Sierra Leone has put in place the following legislative and policy framework to ensure the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities, adding that Sierra Leone domesticated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the form of the Persons with Disability Act, 2011.

He pointed out that the Persons with Disability Act, 2011 seeks to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities, achieve equalization of opportunities, establish the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and to provide for other related matters, stating that since the enactment of the Persons with Disability Act, 2011, there has been a significant progress in mainstreaming disability issues at all levels but said more need to be done as issues faced by Persons with Disabilities are increasing on a daily basis.

The Executive Director stated that the Persons with Disability Act, 2011 wholly encompasses the general principles of respect of disability as part of human diversity, dignity of the individual, participation as equal citizens, elimination of all forms of discrimination and stigma on grounds of disability, full inclusion of persons with disabilities in national development processes and programmes, and the promotion of positive attitudes towards persons with disabilities in the country.

He called on all to see persons with disabilities in the country as very important people in society and further urged for the enforcement of all laws geared toward the protection of persons living with disabilities in the country.

Closing the session was an open discussion by participants in relation to the people-centered advocacy training.

 

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