Botswana: Disability Mainstreaming to Continue

Gaborone — Government will continue mainstreaming disability in all development programmes to ensure full participation of People with Disabilities (PWDs).

This was said by Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Mr Kabo Morwaeng who was speaking on behalf of Vice President Slumber Tsogwane during International Day of Persons with Disabilities commemoration in Gaborone yesterday.

Minister Morwaeng said to that end, government was working on a national disability legislation in pursuit of the domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

He said both the Revised National Disability Policy and National Disability Strategy would be aligned to the country's national development agenda.

The completion and adoption of the frameworks, he said, would usher in a more inclusive society that would promote the active participation of PWDs in all aspects.

"With a view to ensure that the envisaged National Disability Framework is as inclusive as possible, government, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, has begun consultations with PWDs, their organisations, as well as their families and care-givers," said Mr Morwaeng.

The minister said children with disabilities would be provided with diagnostic assessments through multi-disciplinary teams comprising educational psychologists, speech and language usage therapists as well as low-vision specialists who would guide in the appropriate placement of learners with special needs.

He pointed out that construction of a centre for severe and multiple disability was ongoing in Maun to meet the needs of children with disabilities.

Minister Morwaeng said the land policy had been revised to ensure that PWDs were prioritised in land allocation.

Regarding this year's theme, "Building Back Better: Towards a Disability Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post COVID-19 World", Mr Morwaeng said it was a call for people to continue pursuing the creation of an inclusive and accessible environment for all Batswana.

Minister Morwaeng made a plea for all to heed the call.

Pointing out that since government alone could not address all challenges faced by PWDs, the minister said different organisations were being funded to complement state efforts.

Funding was provided with the appreciation that the organisations understood PWDs issues and were therefore better placed to assist, he said.

Minister Morwaeng noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had worsened challenges faced by PWDs.

Isolation, disruption of life and inhibited access to services negatively impacted on PWDs mental and physical wellbeing, he said.

Mr Morwaeng said the annual commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was declared in 1992, through a United Nations General Assembly resolution to provide a moment for all to reflect on the plight of PWDs and offer an opportunity to show solidarity.

The day, he said, was a golden opportunity for people with disabilities to showcase their products.

Source : BOPA

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