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05.03.2009 General News

EU gives grant to persons with disabilities

By William N-lanjerborr Jalulah - Ghanaian Chronicle

THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) has approved a GH¢7,000 grant to support Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) in the Bongo District. The grant is to be used to monitor the disbursement and utilisation of the 2% of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) allocated by government for PLWDs.

The Upper East Regional Secretary of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled Youth and Finance and Administrative Officer of the Monitor Project, Mr. David Aniah, who disclosed this at a press conference held at Bongo, lamented that efforts made by persons living with disabilities to access the 2% fund, since its initiation in 2005, to organise programmes on awareness about their activities, rights and obligations had not been successful.

He explained that the failure or refusal of some District Assemblies had made PLWDs vulnerable, as they already were in untold hardship, in spite of calls and policy directives from the Department of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, to ensure that the allocation was appropriated without delay.

Mr. Aniah described the grant by the European Union and the Legal Resource Centre as a timely intervention, which could tone down the plight of persons living with disabilities, by assisting them to legitimately monitor the disbursement of their rights.

The Bongo District Coordinating Director, Mr. Thaddeus Zaasan, was categorical that the Assembly had continuously maintained a good understanding with the Federation of the Disabled, and would not deny any persons living with disability their rights.

According to him, the Assembly would have no option but to divert part or the whole of the 2% fund to some pressing projects of general interests in the District, if the Federation simultaneously had no initiatives at hand that called for the release of the 2% fund, as clearly spelt out in one of the guidelines for the utilisation, which stated that the fund should be utilised to support initiatives created by the physically challenged in the district.

The Regional Patron of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of Rock FM, a Bolgatanga-based private radio station, Mr. Kamal-deen Ibn Abdallah, entreated the leadership and membership of the Federation to take a reminder from the response of the Bongo District Coordinating Director, and act accordingly and promptly by coming up with more pro-disabled initiatives to brighten their opportunities and better their lot.

Mr. Ibn Abdallah suggested frequent meetings between the District Assembly and the Federation of the PLWDs, to enhance the necessary transparency and trust aimed at a common development, devoid of bitterness against anyone.