Blog

Abdul Busuulwa (Ph.D) chairing a session at the 1st Annual Symposium on Disability and Media in Uganda on November 9, 2018 at Hotel Africana.
04 Jan
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In the words of Dr. Abdul Busuulwa… Commemorating World Braille Day

Today, January 4, 2019 is World Braille Day.

Amongst the things us persons with visual impairments hold dearly, braille surely ranks first.  It is the means by which we can read printed information.  It is the key to independent living.  Because of braille, we are literate and interrelated as a global community.

Braille is a system of writing that depends on six dots embossed on a piece of paper in different configurations to represent the print letters, numbers and any other symbols as they are known by sighted people. Braille uses bumps and indentation on a surface to represent letters, which can be recognized by touch.

One feature makes braille superior over all its predecessors and initial competitors: it can be written, and written by the individual using inexpensive technology. In the 21st century, computer technology makes braille digital and producible in ways hitherto unimaginable. For example, one can digitally transcribe a piece of print text into braille, and the same can be embossed to produce articles and books to be read by persons with visual impairments themselves.

We persons with visual impairments have immense respect for Louise Braille, the inventor of braille. Louise was born in 1809 in France and became blind after a childhood accident. But, he quickly mastered his new way of living. When Louise was only 15 years old, he created a reading and writing system based on Charles Barbier’s night writing system. We know Louise’s system today as braille. Adjusted over time, braille is now easier to read and used all over the world! Thanks to his ingenuity, today in many parts of the world persons with visual impairments have opportunities of education, employment, and full participation in society, as we gradually approach a time when persons with visual impairments will be able to be whatever they choose to be.

World Braille Day is, therefore, a reminder of the importance of accessibility and independence for people with visual impairments. Today’s reality is that many establishments such as restaurants, banks, and hospitals don’t offer braille versions of their print materials like menus, statements, and bills. Because of this, people with visual impairments often don’t have the freedom to choose a meal on their own or keep their finances private. World Braille Day seeks to spread awareness about braille and other accessible forms of communication. Everyone deserves (and is legally entitled to) the same accommodations and service, regardless of ability.

It is unfortunate that the rate of braille literacy is still hovering around 1 to 2 percent in Africa amongst persons with visual impairments, and indication that very few have meaningful access to information, and education. Persons with visual impairments are hence are isolated and have low expectations of themselves, if any at all. In countries where progress has been notable in the lives of persons with visual impairments, we can point to two contributing factors—people organizing themselves for change, and the availability of braille as a tool of independence.  Nowhere, though, does the braille literacy rate exceed 10%.  But what we do know is that 85% of employed persons with visual impairments today are braille users. This is a strength that must be guarded jealously.

We demand African governments to invest more resources to make braille available at all levels of the community to enable persons with visual impairments have access to an education, and employment. Schools for children with visual impairments, and mainstream schools should be equipped with brailling machines and paper; and all governments should enforce printing of all public information in braille.

Abdul Busuulwa is the Executive Director, CBR Africa Network (CAN), and former Executive Director of East Africa Center for Disability Law and Policy (EA-CDLP). He has a visual impairment and uses braille.

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Photo: Taken on November 29, 2017 with participants after the training of OSIEA grantees on media works.
03 Dec
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International Day of Persons with Disabilities – December 3

December 3 is an international observance that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992, aimed at promoting a deepened understanding of disability issues, and mobilizing support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities around the world.  By celebrating this day, global stakeholders have always sought to increase awareness of the gains derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, and focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Uganda ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008. Domestication of the Convention in Uganda has to some extent advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Vision 2040, the National Development Plans I & II, and other national development frameworks.

The commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Uganda is at Kiwoko Primary School in Nakaseke district. This has brought together representatives of UN agencies in Uganda, national and local policy makers, civil society organizations, academic institutes and organizations of persons with disabilities to discuss the way forward for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.

This year, the Secretary-General of the United Nations is launching a first-ever flagship report on disability and development UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development | 2018 – Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities. The Report provides an evidence base for disability-inclusive policy-making, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of an inclusive, accessible and sustainable global development agenda.

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19 Nov
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Evaluation Form

Evaluation Form

1st Annual Symposium on Disability and Media in Uganda
  • Scaled Responses

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16 Nov
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Database – Media Stories on Disability

Database - Media Stories on Disability

This form should be used by journalists and media houses to submit their work on disability to EA-CDLP Secretariat

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Patrick Ssenoga holding his accolade he received in recognition of his work on disability in the media.
12 Nov
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EA-CDLP Awards Ugandan Journalists and Media for Disability Coverage

On Friday, November 9, 2018, East Africa Center for Disability Law and Policy (EA-CDLP) fulfilled its promise to convene the 1st ever Symposium on Disability and Media, on the theme: Bridging the Gap between Disability and the Media. The event that took place in the afternoon at Hotel Africana hosted over 200 stakeholders from the disability movement, media fraternity, government ministries, departments and agencies, and development partners.

Discussions at the Symposium focused on evaluating the state of media coverage on disability issues in the country; and the effectiveness of the legal, policy, and institutional frameworks governing media on disability.

Climaxing the event was the awards ceremony in recognition of journalists and media houses for their outstanding, exemplary and positive portrayal of persons with disabilities in the media. Among the media houses appreciated was: the Daily Monitor, the Observer and the New Vision in the daily press category. Radio stations included: Mama FM, Radio Simba, KFM, Capital FM, and CBS FM. Television stations included: UBC TV, Delta, Record, NTV Bukedde, BBS, and Kingdom TV. These are not exhaustive lists of all those awarded.

Angela Kamugasa Nsimbi of Vision Group receives her award from UCC's Med Kaggwa Ssebaggala.

All Smiles: Angela Kamugasa Nsimbi of Vision Group receives her award from UCC’s Med Kaggwa Ssebaggala.

Scooping big were individual journalists whose work was known to have been exceptional and created impact in shaping the space for media inclusion of persons with disabilities since 2000. Emmanuel Ssemigga (UBC), David Namunyala (Vision Group), Shawn Makumbi (an independent photographer), Joshua Kyalimpa (previously at Radio Simba), and Richard Kavuma (previously at Daily Monitor) were recognized for the period 2000 – 2012. David Mafabi (PML Daily), Angela Nsimbi (Vision Group), Abdalla Tiff Mukasa (Record TV), Pat Robert Larubi (BBS Terefayina), Sarah Oringa (Delta TV), Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi (Daily Monitor), Ssenoga Patrick (MAMA FM) and Joanita Mbabazi (Kingdom TV) were recognized for the period since 2013 to 2018.

David Mafabi of PML Daily receiving his award from NCD Executive Secretary Beatrice Guzu.

David Mafabi of PML Daily receiving his award from NCD Executive Secretary Beatrice Guzu.

 

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05 Nov
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Nomination for Outstanding Journalists and Media Houses on Disability Coverage is Now Open!

As part of the upcoming Symposium on Media and Disability, EA-CDLP will be awarding and recognizing journalists and media houses that have over the years exceptionally covered, included, and positively portrayed persons with disabilities in their reports. Nominations are now welcome until Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 8am.

Click here to nominate Individual Journalists.

Click here to nominate Media Houses.

The Symposium will be held on Friday, November 9, 2018 at Hotel Africana, starting at 3pm.

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05 Nov
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Nomination Form for Outstanding Media Houses on Disability Coverage

Please select a valid form

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04 Nov
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Nomination Form for Journalists with Exceptional and Outstanding Coverage of Disability

Please select a valid form

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29 Oct
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1st Annual Symposium on Disability and the Media

East Africa Center for Disability Law and Policy (EA-CDLP) has for over the last 18 months worked towards addressing the scant coverage of disability issues in the mainstream and alternative media, the negative portrayal of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the media; and lack of a concerted and coordinated approach to media engagement by disabled people’s organizations (DPOs). This process started with a baseline survey that sought to establish the state of media coverage on disability issues in Uganda, and was subsequently followed by virtual trainings for journalists and persons with disabilities to address the capacity gaps identified during the survey.

With the establishment of the Uganda Media Caucus on Disability (UMCD), EA-CDLP has currently set a framework for information flow from DPOs to the public through the media; and a platform to monitor and evaluate developments in the media related to disability issues. This development has seen the number of stories in the press for a period of 5 months exceed those that were published in 2016 & 2017 combined. EA-CDLP notes the increased interest and appreciation to identify and include disability issues in news broadcasts, publishing and daily programming by individual journalists and media houses as well.

To sustain this momentum, EA-CDLP seeks to hold the 1st Symposium on Disability and Media in Uganda; which will bring together stakeholders to discuss the factors influencing the position of the media on disability in the country. These will include disability rights advocates and representatives of disabled people’ organizations; individual journalists and media practitioners; editors, media house owners and station managers; the academia, policy makers and implementers; and the general public. Being the first of the kind, the Symposium will focus on highlighting the challenges faced that remain outstanding on both ends; response actions taken by different stakeholders; and the future prospects and opportunities.

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04 Oct
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New Survey to Examine Extent of Employment of Persons with Disabilities in Uganda’s Public Sector

East Africa Center for Disability Law and Policy (EA-CDLP) is spearheading a survey intended to establish baselines on the employment situation of persons with disabilities in the public sector in Uganda. Together with National Council for Disability (NCD) and Disability Employment Rights Initiative (DERI), a data collection tool has been developed, and is currently being piloted. This survey will among other objectives, seek to: measure the extent to which responsible government institutions have utilized their mandate to protect and promote employment rights of persons with disabilities; determine levels of inclusion in recruitment and employment practices by government institutions; and, explore opportunities for inter-agency collaboration to promote employment of persons with disabilities.

The three institutions are seeking to make a case for the enforcement of the implementation of Section 13 of the 2006 Persons with Disabilities Act. The Section requires the Minister responsible for labour to determine a quota of persons with disabilities to be employed in the public sector. It is however, worthy to note that this part of the law has never been effected since 2006. This is coupled with the failure to effectively implement quotas in the private sector created by Section 17 of the same legislation.

This survey is partially premised on lessons learned by EA-CDLP’s Hassan Waddimba, while attending the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Disability Employment (PFP-IDE) at the University of Oklahoma in spring, this year. The PFP-IDE is an elite, highly selective international exchange program that trains emerging leaders from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda on how to advance equitable economic development by planning inclusive employment projects for their home countries. Fellows in this program learned about approaches that inform their efforts to strengthen access to employment for persons with disabilities. The PFP-IDE is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is implemented by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the Institute for Community Inclusion-UMass Boston, and Humanity & Inclusion.

The early processes of this work are to benefit from the vast experience of Dr. Megan Peters, the Training Director for the Oklahoma Interdisciplinary Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program; and the Director of Training and Education for the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics section of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). Dr. Peters mentored Hassan during the PFP-IDE.

Overall, this work is expected to initiate and promote mechanisms for regular collection, management and dissemination of data and information on the employment situation of persons with disabilities in the country.

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