Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati has challenged disability organizations to be more proactive than waiting for authorities to take leading role in promoting issues concerning people with disabilities.
Kaliati made the call on Sunday during a meeting she had with Federation for Disability Organizations in Malawi (Fedoma) and its affiliates.
During the meeting Fedoma Executive Director, Action Amos noted that people with disabilities are being marginalized on the issues of development, and that the authorities were failing to assist in the implementation of the Disability Act approved by Parliament in 2012.
Amos also hinted the failure by government in established Disability Trust Funded as mandated by the Act.
“The biggest challenge is the mainstreaming of disability. There is a need for authorities to involve us in the national development issues; in most cases we are not consulted,” said Amos.
He added: “Disability issues are being left out of national development plans. Disability issues are missing in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MGDS).”
He then urged the ministry to assist in evaluating the operations of disability organizations in the country.
Some of Fedoma affiliates raised fears during the meeting that disability issues might be diluted in the ministry due to incorporation of other departments. They also highlighted that people with disabilities were neglected on government appointments.
But Kaliati challenged disability organizations to be proactive, arguing they don’t need to wait for donors to initiative projects to deal with their concerns.
“I think we have ourselves to blame for waiting for authorities to act on our behalf. We need to be proactive. Let’s be on forefront pushing for implementation of some of the raised issues. Disability is not inability,” said Kaliati.
She said through her ministry she will push for more donor funded projects to civic educate people on the need to respect disability rights as well as popularize the Disability Act.
Kaliati said the ministry will be using social cash transfer to economically and socially empower people with disabilities.
“We need to use the social cash transfer program to keep people with disabilities off the streets. But this can be effective if the NGOs and other stakeholders are taking a proactive approach in dealing with these issues.”
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