The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisation ( GFD ) with technical support from Ghana Sonubi Dwumadie and funding through Ukaid has organised a sensitization meeting on revised guidelines for the management and disbursement of District Assembly common fund for persons with disabilities.
The sensitization meeting was held at the savannah regional capital, Damongo on Wednesday, 15th March, 2023 for Persons with Disabilities social welfare officers, officers within the MDAs and within the region on the revised DACF guidelines.
The new guideline has identified over 26 different categories of persons living with Disabilities and clearly defines who should be a beneficiary with a set of standardised criteria.
The aim of the District Assembly common fund for persons with Disabilities is to help reduce poverty among all persons with disabilities through sustainable decent work and for the enhancement of their social image and well being through dignified labour with the objective to support income-generating activities of persons with disabilities to serve as a means of economic empowerment and also provide educational support including schoolchildren, students, vocational students as well as apprenticeship trainees with disabilities.
In an interview with Padfm.com.gh, Madam Vivian Sarpomaa Fiscian, the leadership and governance advisor at Ukaid-Ghana Somubi Dwumadie explained that the underlined reason for the new guideline is just like any other policy, following over 10years of implementation of the 2010 guidelines, requires review and revision to align with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD).
According to her, the review of the 2010 guidelines identified implementation challenges and a number of gaps, hence the revision was informed by an Evidence-based Review Report in line with current trends that can help improve on the wellbeing of persons living with Disabilities.
She revealed that during the review, some key challenges including political interference were identified in terms of how beneficiaries were accessing the fund.
She also disclosed that, some of the beneficiaries were accessing the fund perhaps of their connection with the District Chief Executives, Regional Ministers or anyone within the Assembly and not necessarily because of the persons vulnerability or nature of disability.
Still on the challenges encountered during the review, Madam Vivian Sarpomaa Fiscian mentioned the misuse and abuse of the common fund for so many administrative reasons and also, issues of persons with mental health conditions were not captured by the common fund for Persons with Disability
She also stated that the 2010 guideline was not in alignment with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability prompting its revision in alignment with the UNCPRD.
On the District Assembly common fund management and disbursement, Madam Vivian said there is a committee at the Assemblies called the District fund management committee which is the key committee within the assembly with the sole responsibility interms of validating applications received and subsequently disbursing the fund.
According to her, there were no standardisation and so many of the Assemblies used more of their discretional ability than following the existing guidelines, resulting in non-compliance and non-adherence of the provisions in the 2010 DACF guidelines adding that, the sensitisation is to empower persons with Disability and Social Welfare officers to ensure smooth and effective implementation of the new guidelines, as well as compliance and adherence to the provisions in the new guidelines when it is finally launch for implementation.
The Savannah Regional President of the Ghana Federation of Disability, Mr. Joshua Dramani Takora on his part explained that the new guidelines has come to strengthen the work of the fund management committees as far as the disability fund is concerned.
He also said in the new guidelines, one would find out that the fund management committees would be free from intimidations and political interferences in the management and disbursement of the funds.
He also regretted that some self centered persons take advantage of the fund and rather renders PWD’s useless and noted that, the new guidelines will come to eradicate all such practices, including waste and abuses of the fund for persons with Disability.
He used the occasion to appeal to the Local government Minister, Mr. Dan Botwe to sign and give approval for the implementation of the new guidelines to put smiles on the faces of persons living with Disability.
Also speaking on the new guidelines, the National GSPD President, Mr Mathew Annoh kodom explained that the new guidelines came to address some issues of insufficient funds being disbursed to its members that are unable to buy their need accessories and pay for fees of those into education.
He Said, it was also discovered that social welfare directors and fund managers were not revealing to their members as to how much has come to the Assembly and the amount released among others.
In addressing the situation, Mr. Kodom said MMDCEs will be attending a workshop on a yet to be scheduled date where they will be notified that the new guidelines shall not entertain any political interference from them.
Mr. Kodom also revealed that there is an indication in the new guidelines that states that there will be a database in all Districts for all persons with Disability aimed at establishing their numbers at the local levels.
Source: Padfm.com.gh/Kumatey Gorden/0243531604