The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has launched abraille version of the 2015 Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(GHEITI) report to enable the handicapped also get to know issues relating to Ghana’s extractive sector.
The Executive Director of the Ghana chapter of the AfricaCentre for Energy Policy (ACEP Ghana), Benjamin Boakye mentioned that Ghana’sresources were to benefit all so there was need for the blind, deaf and speech impairedto also have a say in the utilisation of the country’s resources.
He noted the report took about two months to complete costing about GHc20,000.00 funded by Oxfam Ghana, the local chapter of Oxfam International;which is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty.
“ACEP is focusing on the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry as their works impact the vulnerable largely. In 2019, ACEP will do an evaluation of happenings in the gender space as well as monitor the inclusion of the handicapped in Ghana’s developmental initiatives.”
Mr. Boakye held that, “we are all potential disabled people so there’s need for all of us to put in place a system that can benefit us when we become disabled.”
Minister of Gender, Child and Social Protection; CynthiaMorrison who launched the GHEITI Braille Report to the delight of the handicappedcommunity acknowledged even at the Gender Ministry, the structure was notaccessible to the disabled pledging that the new structure being mounted willbe accessible to members in session.
“Anyone can become disabled, be it from childbirth, road accident or effects from medication and even those born that way from birth have shown that they are as capable as anyone else,” she stated adding “my mum was not disabled from birth but at a point she fell from a storey building dislocating her hip, remaining disabled till her death in her 80s.”
She also revealed that her son failed his hearing test but later recovered pointing out she has a special understanding of the challenges of the disabled.
She however rallied the community to put up a unified front despite their peculiar needs saying they were too cluttered making it difficult to engage them. The minister who doubles as the Agona West Member of Parliament declared that the community can have a stake in the 3% Common Fund allocated district assemblies but must mend their forces.
According to Hon. Morrison, since the disabled also pay taxes, they must hold the government to account on how sate resources are utilised adding they must keep themselves abreast with happenings to contribute to the national discourse.
“When you are united, you become formidable and I urge you to see yourselves being in the same boat drowning together or soaring together,” she concluded.
Executive Director of the Ghana Blind Union, Dr. Peter Obeng-Asamoa was delighted with the braille report noting for years, there have been plans to render critical reports in formats they can understand, so to finally have the 2015 GHEITI report was significant.
He called for the passage of the Right to Information (RTI)Bill as it will enhance a better understanding of the economy and allow their members to contribute to the debate on resource usage.
He however submitted that braille use was only one way to enhance their learning experience and information consumption noting “Information Communication Technology (ICT) was a sure way to inclusive education and enhance job opportunities” so needed sponsorship to acquire the gadgets.
Some participants although delighted with the braille report called for integration of members in the processes and production of future reports. It however emerged that although Oxfam Ghana funded the project, it had input from professors at the Akropong School for the Blind. Being handicapped, be it due to impairment in the eye, ear or limbs can prove difficult in Ghana when public offices or structures were built without regard to their challenges.
Smart phones using disability friendly apps such as ‘talk back’ for android, ‘voice-over’ for IOS, ‘jaws’ and google assistant has bridged the digital gap and aided life for such people.
Representatives from the Ghana Union of the Blind, OxfamGhana, Deaf Association of Ghana and others were all in session for the launch.
By: Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com