ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF PWDs

PREAMBLE

Empowerment is the final component of the community-based rehabilitation (CBR) matrix and is a cross-cutting theme. While the first four components of the matrix relate to key development sectors 

  •        Health
  •        Education
  •        Livelihood

-social sectors

the empowerment component focuses on the importance of empowering people with disabilities, their family members and communities to facilitate the mainstreaming of disability across each sector and to ensure that everybody is able to access their rights and entitlements.

ADVOCACY AND COMMUNICATION

Self-advocacy is an important part of empowerment. Many people with disabilities spend much of their lives not being listened to and being told what to do. Decisions are usually made for them by others. By learning self-advocacy skills, people with disabilities can learn to assert their rights, take control of their lives, and make the best decisions for themselves. Self-advocacy can be as simple as people with disabilities making choices about what to eat and what to wear, or at another level, it may mean that they speak out publicly about issues which are important to them such as commenting about a service they have used.

OUR GOAL :People with disabilities are able to speak out for themselves.

PROVIDE SUPPORT TO DEVELOP COMMUNICATION SKILLS

CBR personnel will need to work closely with people with disabilities and their families to ensure that they are able to develop communication skills. Support will be based on individual needs and circumstances and may be provided directly by CBR personnel or by others. Again resources, such as Let’s communicate, will provide many helpful suggestions. Following the identification of people with communication impairments, CBR personnel may: 

  • facilitate referrals to specialist services where they exist, e.g. speech and language therapy;
  • ensure families are aware that speech may not be possible for some people and provide information about other forms of communication, e.g. sign language, communication boards;
  • ensure access to assistive communication devices where required; this may involve showing families how to make devices (see Health component: Assistive devices); 
  • ensure that people who require hearing aids are provided with appropriate information about availability, fitting, care and use; 
  • teach sign language or provide information about where to access sign language instruction;
  • encourage inclusion of people with communication difficulties in everyday activities and experiences (e.g. visits to the market, cleaning, fetching water) and teach simple words, phrases and gestures that can be used in the community; 
  • link people to groups/clubs which provide opportunities for social interactions, e.g. deaf clubs, stroke clubs, sports clubs for people with disabilities, inclusive playgroups.

POLITICAL  PARTICIPATION

OUR GOAL: People with disabilities participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others.

POWER  ANDDECISION-MAKING

 Power is the ability to make informed choices and the freedom to take action. Decisions are made by people with power, and in all societies there are some people who are more powerful than others because of factors, such as age, gender role, ethnicity, political affiliation, economic situation. Power is present at every level of society, from the family through to government level – understanding who has the power to make decisions and why they have this power is an important first step in political participation. Barriers to political participation The barriers to political participation that people may face are similar to the barriers mentioned in other components of our programs . In summary they include the following. 

Poverty – poor people are mostly focused on survival activities; their basic needs often need to be met first before they can participate, so they may have limited time or interest. 

  • Education – without information and knowledge, meaningful participation in politics can be difficult. 
  • Social isolation – there is a limited network to support and encourage political participation. 
  • Personal factors – people may have limited confidence or motivation to participate. 
  • Stigma and discrimination – majority groups may have prejudices, fears and discomfort towards people with disabilities and therefore may not support their participation. 
  • Lack of disability-friendly processes – access barriers can make it difficult for people with disabilities to participate, e.g. inaccessible voting booths. 
  • Lack of role models – in many countries or communities there are few examples of people with disabilities in high profile political positions.
  • Legal barriers – in many countries people with disabilities are not permitted to vote, e.g. people with mental health problems.

SELF-HELP GROUPS

Vision Center of  the Disabled  Kenya helps to group them into disease-related groups and train them for entrepreneurship and empowerment through in-depth training and to find sponsors based on what they can do.

OUR GOAL :People with disabilities and their family members participate in groups to resolve common problems, enhance their individual strengths, and improve their quality of life.

Key concepts

Characteristics

Vision Center of the Disabled Kenya has experience and knowledge in the field of work, we have improved the performance of our management structures, we hired experts, come to the side of the goals we have including ,we are going to building strong unity and building organizations, training them to create jobs and find solutions for their own themselves.

characteristics of self-help groups that are associated with programmers include their:

  • voluntary nature – they are run by and for group members, have regular meetings, and are open to new members 
  • generally being formed in response to a particular issue, e.g. no access to education for children with disabilities, limited income-generating opportunities;
  • clear goals, which originate from the needs of group members and are known and shared by all members 
  • informal structure and basic rules, regulations and guidelines to show members how to work effectively together
  • participatory nature – involving getting help, sharing knowledge and experience, giving help, and learning to help oneself 
  • shared responsibility among group members – each member has a clear role and contributes his/her share of resources to the group; 
  • democratic decision-making; 
  • governance by members, using an external facilitator only if necessary in the formation of the group 
  • evolution over time to address a broader range of issues;
  • possibility of joining together to form a federation of groups across a wider area to build capacity and promote strong foundations on disabilities related agenda