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A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds   handouts
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A guide on how the common fund can be used for pw ds handouts

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  • 1. ACCESS TO INFORMATION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES A Guide on How the Common Fundcan be used to Realise the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Open Society Foundations 2 0 11
  • 2. Commonwealth Human Rights InitiativeThe Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, internationalnon-governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights inthe countries of the Commonwealth. In 1987, several Commonwealth professional associationsfounded CHRI. They believed that while the Commonwealth provided member countries a sharedset of values and legal principles from which to work, and provided a forum within which to promotehuman rights, there was little focus on the issues of human rights within the Commonwealth.The objectives of CHRI are to promote awareness of and adherence to the Commonwealth HararePrinciples, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognised humanrights instruments, as well as domestic instruments supporting human rights in Commonwealthmember states.Through its reports and periodic investigations, CHRI continually draws attention to progress andsetbacks to human rights in Commonwealth countries. In advocating for approaches and measuresto prevent human rights abuses, CHRI addresses the Commonwealth Secretariat, membergovernments and civil society associations. Through its public education programmes, policydialogues, comparative research, advocacy and networking, CHRIs approach throughout is to actas a catalyst around its priority issues.CHRI is based in New Delhi, India, and has offices in London, UK, and Accra, Ghana.International Advisory Commission: Sam Okudzeto - Chairperson. Members: Yashpal Ghai,Alison Duxbury, Neville Linton, B.G. Verghese, Murray Burt, Zohra Yusuf and Maja Daruwala.Executive Committee (India): B.G. Verghese – Chairperson. Members: B.K.Chandrashekar,Bhagwan Das, Nitin Desai, Harivansh, Wajahat Habibullah, Kamal Kumar, Sanjoy Hazarika,Poonam Muttreja, Ruma Pal, A.P Shah and Maja Daruwala – DirectorExecutive Committee (Ghana): Sam Okudzeto – Chairperson. Members: Anna Bossman,Emile Short, B.G. Verghese, Neville Linton and Maja Daruwala - DirectorExecutive Committee (UK): Neville Linton - Chairperson; Members: Richard Bourne;Meenakshi Dhar, Derek Ingram, Claire Martin, Baroness Frances DSouza, ElizabethSmith, Syed Sharfuddin, Sally-Ann Wilson and Dr. H. J. F. Silva.ISBN: 978-9988-1-5959-7© Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Africa Office 2011.Material from this publication may be used, duly acknowledging the source.
  • 3. ACCESS TO INFORMATION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIESA Guide on How the Common Fun can be used to Realise the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesResearched and Written by:Alison PictonEdited by:Caroline NaluleCommonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Africa OfficeHouse No. 9, Samora Machel RoadAsylum DownBox CT 6136, Accra- GhanaTel: +233-302-971170/ +233-269-508889Fax: +233-302-244819Email: chriafrica@humanrightsinitiative.org chri_info@yahoo.com.auWebsite: www.humanrightsinitiative.orgISBN: 978-9988-1-5959-7Printed by: Del-Ad 0243 768374
  • 4. AcknowledgementsThe guide was developed through meetings with a range of Disabled PersonsOrganisations and the relevant agencies in regards to specific sections, e.g.Ghana Special Education Division in regards to the education section. It wassent out for comment to these stakeholders and revised accordingly to producea final version. We are sincerely grateful to all the persons that provided anyform of assistance during this research.We particularly wish to acknowledge the assistance rendered to the researcherand contributions made by the following organisations/institutions andgovernment agencies/departments: Basic Needs, Tamale; Cape Deaf, CapeCoast; Cape Deaf, Unit for the Blind, Cape Coast; Care and Concern ActionGroup, Ho; Center for Democratic Development, Accra; Demonstration Schoolfor the Deaf, Mampong; Department of Social Welfare New JuabenMunicipality, Koforidua; Eastern Disability Network, Koforidua; GFD, GAB,Cape Coast; Ghana Association of the Blind, Accra; Ghana Association of theBlind, Ho; Ghana Federation of the Disabled, Accra; Ghana Material ResourceCenter, Accra; Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Accra; Ghana Societyfor the Blind, Accra; Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Accra; GhanaSociety of the Physically Disabled, Ho; Liliane Foundation, Accra;Mindfreedom, Accra; Pantang Psychiatric Hospital, Accra; Parents Associationof Children with an Intellectual Disability, Ho; Regular school at site of CapeDeaf, Cape Coast; Rehabilitation Centre, Ho; School for Children with anIntellectual Disability, Ho; School for children with mental disability, Koforidua;School for the Blind, Akropong; Sight Savers Ghana, Accra; Department ofSocial Welfare, Accra; Special Attention Project; Special Education Division,Accra; St. Theresa Centre for the Handicapped, Abor; Unit school for Childrenwith an Intellectual Disability, Cape Coast; and Volta Physically ChallengedIndependent Group, Ho. The information provided by each respectiveorganization will greatly contribute to our advocacy for the promotion of therights of persons with disabilities in Ghana.Our special thanks go to Alison Picton assisted by Chris Lane who traversed anumber of regions in Ghana researching on the rights of persons withdisabilities in Ghana and eventually putting this guide together.CHRI also wishes to extend its appreciation to the Open Society Foundationsfor their financial support.Caroline NaluleRegional CoordinatorCHRI Africa Office i
  • 5. ContentsIntroduction 1Access to Information 3The 3% District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) 5Education 8Employment 10Health care 12Access and transportation 14Conclusion 16Application form for 3% DACF 17 ii
  • 6. IntroductionIn Ghana, an estimated 2.5 million people live with a disability,making them the countrys largest minority. Persons withdisabilities continue to face social stigma, and often suffer fromdiscrimination. Excluded from society, many live under amistaken belief that their lives are not worthy of respect.Since 1995, a percentage of the District Assembly CommonFund (DACF) has been allocated to persons with disabilities.However, awareness of this has been poor andaccess to the funds has been variable. Persons with disabilitiesalso have many rights under the Persons with Disability Act 2006.The Act guarantees access to public places, free general andspecialist medical care, education, employment andtransportation. However, implementation has been slow andmany persons with disabilities still lack access to informationabout these rights and what to do if they are not respected.This resource aims to provide information to persons withdisabilities about: the 3% fund available and how to access it their rights under the Persons with Disability Act 2006 (hereafter referred to as the law) and what to do if these rights are not respected 1
  • 7. The resource also provides examples of how the 3% fund can beused to uphold the rights of people with disabilities, and improvetheir standard of living. These good practice examples arebased on real-life instances that have been recorded duringresearch for this resource.Persons with disabilities have the right to live independently in asociety that actively encourages their participation in all areas oflife. We hope that this guide will help to achieve this.Commonwealth Human Rights InitiativeJuly 2011 2
  • 8. Access to informationWhy is access to information important?People must have access to information in order to ensurefull participation in society. Having access to informationencourages open governance through increased accountabilityand transparency.What does this mean to persons with disabilities?Persons with disabilities should be able to access informationabout the support available to them.Persons with disabilities: are entitled to 3% share of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) have legal rights under the Persons with Disability Act 2006.Unless persons with disabilities know about these rights, theycannot access them.What challenges are faced by persons with disabilities?Persons with disabilities have very poor access toinformation about the help available to them.The DACF has been in place for 18 years and yet many personswith disabilities are not receiving the money that has beenallocated to them.The Persons with Disability Act has been in place for 5 years yetmany persons with disabilities do not have information abouttheir rights. 3
  • 9. Without this information, persons with disabilities cannot enforcetheir rights.Information that is available for persons with disabilities is notalways presented in accessible formats e.g. radio broadcasts,Braille.How can these challenges be overcome?The government must make information available by putting itinto the public sphere. Where information is not in the publicsphere, people assume that it is not available.District Assemblies must be more pro-active in making thisinformation available in a way that persons with disabilities caneasily access it.Persons with disabilities must also be more pro-active inrequesting this information. Sources of information must bebroadened. Currently, information is mainly accessed through: Assembly members District Assembly meetings District Assembly notice boardsLocal media, such as community radio stations, is avaluable yet underused resource. 4
  • 10. GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: KAPANDUAThe Disability Funds Management Committee (DFMC) inKapandua meets four times a year to consider applications madeto them for funding. A month before their meeting they advertiseon community notice boards the date of their meeting andinstructions for how persons with disabilities can make anapplication for funding. They also send a circular to disabledpersons organisations with this information. The member of theCommittee representing the District Assembly comes on localradio to discuss the work of the DFMC and answer any questionsfrom listeners before the meeting.3% share of the District Assembly CommonFundWhat is the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF)?The DACF was set up in 1993 to give districts more freedom tomake decisions about how money is spent. The fund aims toincrease peoples involvement in these decisions, and to makesure that this responds to the needs of the community.The DACF has some special conditions. 3% (originally 2%) of thefund must be put aside for persons with disabilities.Do persons with disabilities know about the 3% share of theDACF?Yes - a recent study by SEND Ghana found that more than90% of disabled persons organisations (DPOs) know about the3% share of the fund. 5
  • 11. What can persons with disabilities use the 3% share of theDACF for?The National Council for Persons with Disability (NCPD)guidelines on distributing the fund state that the aim of this shareis to minimise poverty among all PWDs, particularly thoseoutside the formal sector, and to enhance their socialimage through dignified labour.The 3% share can be used for: skills training educational support income generating activities awareness raising activities NHIS registration disability rights events e.g. International Day of the Disabled.How can persons with disabilities access the 3% share ofthe DACF?In 2010, the NCPD issued guidelines for the payment of the 3%share to persons with disabilities.Each district now has a Disability Funds ManagementCommittee (DFMC) that manages the 3% fund.The DFMC has a separate bank account to receive the 3% share.The DFMC meets once every three months to decide how tospend the money. 6
  • 12. Applying for the 3% DACFPersons with disabilities can either apply for some of this moneyas individuals or as part of an organisation.Applications can be made in person to the DFMC, or on paperusing an application form such as the one at the end of this guide.GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: KWAMEKwame, 24, has limited mobility following a car accident, anduses crutches to get around. He lives in a small village nearBusua. Kwame has seen that many tourists pass through hisvillage and stay at guesthouses on the beach nearby. On a visit toBusua he sees that there are many people surfing and noticessome businesses that rent surfboards for the day. Kwamerealises that there is a potential business opportunity to rentsurfboards in his village. He puts together a business plan andapplies to the DFMC for some money to start his business.His application is approved. 7
  • 13. EducationWhat rights do children with disabilities have in regards toeducation?Children with disabilities have an equal right to education. Theyare also entitled to free education.If a child with disability can attend a regular school but has specialeducation needs, these must be met.If a child with disability is assessed as being unable to attend aregular school, provisions must be made for them to attend aspecialist school that meets their needs.GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: AFIAAfia, 13, has been deaf since birth. She did well at primary schooland now attends a junior high school free of charge. At thebeginning of each school year Afias new teachers meet with herto discuss how they can best meet her needs. They agree toprovide printed copies of teaching material in advance, so thatAfia can prepare by familiarising herself with the content andvocabulary. Afia sits at the front of the class to make it easier tolip-read. In group discussions, her teachers remember to repeatquestions from other students so Afia is able to keep up with thediscussion. 8
  • 14. What can parents do if these rights are not respected?A child with disability can only be stopped from attending aregular school if they have been assessed by the educationauthority and representatives from the Ministries of Healthand Social Welfare as needing to be taught in a specialistschool. If this assessment has not taken place, the personresponsible for admissions should be reported to the police as itis an offence under the law to refuse admission on account of achilds disability without this assessment.If a child with disability is charged school fees, parents shouldremind the head teacher that the law guarantees free educationfor children with disabilities. If the head teacher refuses to waivethe fees, parents can make an application to the DFMC for fundsto cover this cost.If a child with disability needsextra support at school but thisis not being provided, parentsshould discuss their childsneeds with their teachers andthe head teacher. If the schoolrefuses to, or does not have thefunds to provide this support,parents can make an applicationto the DFMC for funds to coverthis cost. 9
  • 15. If a child with disability is assessed as needing to attend aspecialist school but is denied access due to lack of availability orresources, parents should bring this to the attention of theeducation authority who must make alternative arrangements.EmploymentWhat rights do persons with disabilities have in regards toemployment?Persons with disabilities must be helped to find employmentthrough public employment centres.If a person with a disability is unable to find work after two years,they are entitled to training and help to access capital in order tostart their own business.Persons with disabilities must not be discriminated against on thegrounds of their disability when seeking employment.GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: AMAAma, 34, is blind and lives in a small town in the Volta region. Asthe oldest of seven children, she grew up helping her mother inthe kitchen and now has two children of her own. Ama enjoyscooking and has occasionally catered for parties hosted by familyfriends. She wishes to start a small catering business to cater forlarger events such as weddings and funerals. Ama makes anapplication to the DFMC for funding to expand her kitchen andrecruit staff to help her cook and deliver the food. Her applicationis approved. 10
  • 16. What can one do if these rights are not respected?If a person with a disability is unable to find work through thepublic employment centre after two years and is then deniedtraining and funding to start their own business, theycan make an application to the DFMC for funding to cover thesecosts. This funding can be applied for at any time during thetwo year period.If a person with a disabilitysuffers from discriminationwhen either seeking orduring employment, theperson responsible for thediscrimination should bereported to the police as it isan offence under the law todiscriminate against aprospective or currentemployee on grounds ofdisability. 11
  • 17. Health careWhat rights do persons with disabilities have in regards totheir health care?Persons with disabilities have a right to free general andspecialist health care.Persons with disabilities have a right to access care that willenable them to fully participate in society. This includes accessto: rehabilitation centres offering guidance, counselling and appropriate training assistive devices.GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: KOFIKofi, 48, is physically disabled as a result of contracting polioseveral years ago. He walks with the aid of calipers. He has hadthe same metal calipers for several years and they now need tobe replaced. Kofi does not qualify as an indigent person and isnot yet covered by NHIS. He makes an application to the DFMCto cover the costs of his new calipers. His application issuccessful. 12
  • 18. What can persons with disabilities do if these rights are notrespected? A person with a disability can only be charged for their health care if they are regarded by the service provider as not having total disability. In this situation, they can make an application to the DFMC to cover the cost of medical bills. Persons with disabilities can also make an application to the DFMC to cover the cost of NHIS contributions. If a person with a disability would benefit from rehabilitation but cannot access a rehabilitationcentre, they should make this known to the Minister forEmployment and Social Welfare.If a person with a disability is denied access to an assistive devicethey can make an application to the DCFM to cover the cost ofpurchasing the device. 13
  • 19. Access and transportationWhat rights do persons with disabilities have in regards toaccess and transportation?Persons with disabilities have an equal right to access placesand services.Owners of public buildings have until August 2016 to ensure theyare accessible to persons with disabilities.Persons with disabilities can import vehicles adapted to theirneeds tax-free, with the permission of the Minister forEmployment and Social Welfare.The Minister responsible for public transportation must ensurethat the needs of persons with disabilities are taken into accounton airlines, trains and buses. For example, two seats on each busmust be reserved for persons with disabilities.GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE: YP COMPUTERSYP Computers is a business centre in Koforidua. The owner,Francis, walks past a local disabled persons organisation on hisway to work every day and greets the staff there as he passes by.One day he stops to have a chat and learns that the organisationis holding some IT training. He suggests they host it at YPComputers and is surprised to find that this idea has beenrejected as several of the physically disabled members cannotclimb the stairs to the front door of the centre. He consults abuilder and has a ramp installed at the front of the centre, makinghis business accessible. YP Computers have a successfultraining programme and become a regular customer for Francis. 14
  • 20. What can persons with disabilities do if these rights arenot respected?Owners and occupiers have until August 2016 to make publicbuildings and services accessible. If a person with a disability isdenied access to a building or service in this interim period theyshould complain to the building or service manager and makesure they are aware of their legal obligations. After 2016, theowner or occupier can be reported to the police as it will be anoffence under the law if their buildings are not made accessible topersons with disabilities.If a person with a disabilitysapplication to the Ministry ofEmployment and SocialWelfare to import a speciallyadapted vehicle is refused,they can make anapplication to the DFMC forcover the costs for theseadaptations to be made inGhana.If a person with a disability finds that their needs are not takeninto account when travelling on public transport they canmake a complaint to the Ministry of Transport, or wheremore appropriate, Ministry of Local Government. A personresponsible for booking passengers on a commercial bus can bereported to the police if they do not meet this obligation as it is anoffence under the law not to reserve seats for persons withdisabilities. 15
  • 21. Conclusion2012 marks the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 constitution,which provided the legal basis for decentralisation in Ghana.Decentralisation is traditionally seen as a way to bring decisionmaking closer to the people. This is especially important forminority groups, who, when it comes to more centraliseddecision making, find it hard to have their voices heard.In theory therefore, the 3% share of the DACF that has beenallocated to persons with disabilities should result in betterawareness of and access to resources that can allow personswith disabilities full participation in society. The reality however issomewhat different. At present, although awareness of the 3%share of the DACF is good amongst persons with disabilities,information about how to access it is poor.In pursuing this policy of decentralisation, it is not enough forGhana to simply transfer responsibility from the national to thelocal level. Local governments are now subject to a many newresponsibilities but do not have the resources to carry themout. This guide has given examples of how in situations wherethe infrastructure may not yet exist to uphold these rights, the3% share of the DACF can be used by people with disabilitiesrealise their rights and improve their standard of living.A right to information law in Ghana would greatly enhance theability of persons with disabilities to participate more effectively inthe governance of their affairs as a special group, but also asindividuals whose rights as provided for under the Constitution ofGhana, should be respected and promoted. 16
  • 22. 17
  • 23. Since 1995, a percentage of the District Assembly CommonFund (DACF) has been allocated to persons with disabilities.The Persons with Disabilities Act 2006 also confers a host oflegal rights upon people with disabilities. This resource aimsto provide information to persons with disabilities about theirrights under the law and what to do if these rights are notrespected. It provides examples of how the DACF can beused to uphold the rights of people with disabilities, andimprove their standard of living. ISBN: 978-9988-1-5959-7 9 789988 159597 July 2011 Supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations Open Society Foundations

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