On 2nd December 2017, Sauti Yetu in collaboration with Haidhafin Physically and Challenged Disabled Group organized a civic education forum with people with special needs from Garissa Township Sub-County at IRDO Bulla Masalani; Waberi ward.
The civic education forum aimed enhancing the knowledge of people with special needs from Garissa Township sub-county about their rights and participation in decision making process. The civic education forum also aimed at highlighting to the participants key areas of opportunities in governance for persons with special needs and how they could tap into these opportunities either as individuals or as organized groups.
The Garissa Civic education forum with persons with special needs was attended by over 72 participants including 37 male and 15 female. Participants were taken through the constitution and the Acts relating to People with Disability.
Participants used the forum outline key areas of concern regarding their welfare and participation in decision making processes in Garissa.
They chairman of Haidhafin Physically and Challenged Disabled Group reported that many persons with special needs in Garissa that their key issues of concern are not taken into consideration by their immediate duty bears particularly the office of the war administrator and that of the Member of the County Assembly. He explained that most of the challenges facing persons with disability have never featured in the county assembly of Garissa. The issue of concern presented by chairman of Haidhafin Physically and Challenged Disabled Group included:
- Lack of representation in the county assembly
- Lack of supportive equipment such as walking sticks for the blind, wheel chairs and baby walker for kids for most people with special needs;
- Lack of friendly spaces for people with disability in many of the government offices in the county making it difficult for persons with disability to interact with these offices;
- Lack of enough centers of learning for persons with special needs in Garissa County;
The predicaments of persons with specials needs education was summed up by one of the participants: “I have tried to visit the offices of those who can help me buy the walking shoe because I was born with one leg but they normally ignore me and they always leave me there stranded…so had to take a loan from our Chama to buy this shoe am wearing which is very expensive.”
Participants called upon immediate duty bearers particularly the office of the ward administrator and that of the Member of the County Assembly to involve the in public participation processes and prioritizes their issues of concern in planning processes.
Figure 1: Morris of St, Johns addressing the community on issues concerning their safety during the sauti Yetu civic education forum in Waberi ward with persons with disability.
Figure 2: Community participating in civic education forum for people with disability.