Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (Fedoma) has started taking strides to ensure more people with disabilities are participating in development initiatives on district level through formation of District Disability Forum (DDF).
Through the DDF, more people with disabilities have been elected into Area development Committees (ADCs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs) with some taking leading positions.
Fedoma’s Head of Programmes, Simon Munde disclosed in an interview currently they have established forums in the districts of Machinga, Chikwawa, Balaka, Lilongwe, Nkhotakota, Salima, Nsanje, Karonga, Rumphi, Nkhata Bay and Mulanje.
”The forums are one way of decentralizing our work but it’s not fully fledged. We want to broaden the voice of people with disabilities at district level through the structures and be able to engage duty bearers and lobby,” explained Munde.
Munde said the forums will ensure that people with disabilities are benefiting from initiatives such as Malata and Fertilizer subsidy as well as Cash Transfer programme.
Since the development of the forums, Munde said they have recorded progress as now more people with disabilities are in positions to push for inclusion in delivery of services such as health, agriculture and education.
He then noted that most of the forums have been created through funded projects like in Machinga, Balaka and Lilongwe where over 300 people with disabilities have been included in VDCs and ADCs through a project which Fedoma is implementing with National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The project focuses on enhancing the active participation of persons with disabilities and accountability in local government projects.
“District Disability Forums will ensure that every district has a representation of people with disabilities, and through such forums we will able to keep tabs on ADCs and VDCs if people with disabilities are considered in development issues”.