Thursday, 23 August 2007

Disabilities work in Uganda

One of the key VSO programmes in Uganda is about raising awareness of disabilities issues amongst teachers and staff working in the education departments in local government, and also amongst parents too.

Uganda has what has been described as the best disabilities legislation in Africa. At every level of local government - from LC5, which are areas of around 50-60,000 people down to LC1, which are village communities of maybe 100 households or so - a person with disabilities has to be elected.

Disabled persons organisations are active in ensuring that candidates are put forward. But there is more work to be done to ensure that they can carry out their roles effectively. Again, funding is an issue; the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda aims to have district unions in every LC5 area, but they need staffing and resourcing. Danida - the Danish equivalent of DfID - is funding this work in some areas.

Despite the difficulties, it's still a really positive step forward in helping change attitudes to disabilities. I'm not sure you could - or would want to - go down the quota route in the UK, but it is interesting to see how it's working here.

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