According to the Ministry of Health, there is an estimated 5 million people currently living with disability, with a majority of these living in rural communities. A significant section of the population in Ghana is excluded from accessing government interventions and benefiting from public goods and services. Persons with Disabilities form a substantial part of the excluded demography whose voices are silent on national issues.
This queries government’s claims of achieving poverty reduction and improving the lives of citizens, which is a key tenet in any government’s development agenda and a functioning democracy.
Penplusbytes with support from STAR Ghana is implementing the “Deliver! – Amplifying Vulnerable citizens’ voices” Project to contribute significantly to addressing challenges that Persons with Disabilities face with regards to access to health, education and economic opportunities and consequently increase the awareness of issues that negatively impact them and other vulnerable groups.
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion issues have often been relegated in media coverage in Ghana particularly with issues of Persons with Disabilities. This informed the need for a concerted effort to make their voices’ heard on media channels and to demand for what is due them as citizens.
Penplusbytes from 19th to 22nd May 2018 is organising a high profile media training for selected journalists from four regions in Ghana (Northern, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Eastern Regions) in Koforidua to engage them to spearhead the campaign in making Persons with Disabilities issues headline news.
As part of the “Deliver! – Amplifying Vulnerable citizens’ voices” implementation plan, a Media Fellowship Program will be launched on 22nd May where six (6) fellows can apply for grants to support ongoing advocacy for the rights and protection of Persons with Disabilities.
According to the executive Director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II, “True governance of any kind must be all inclusive. We cannot leave behind vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities and believe we are practicing good democracy. This training and media fellowship is geared towards setting a sustained media agenda that will in turn influence policy decisions in delivering public services that take into consideration the needs of excluded groups.”
Working in conjunction with partners, Penplusbytes plans to empower citizens especially persons with disabilities, the media and community based organisations in selected project areas, to work hand-in-hand to monitor the delivery of key public services the disabled, advocate for best practices and assess how these impact positively especially in the lives of persons with disabilities.
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.