The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has asked the Parliamentary Health Committe chairperson Mathews Ngwale to mobilise paliamentarians to lobby for increased funding for disability programmes.
CHRR’s Strengthening Community Engagement and Access to Relevant Covid-19 Information in Malawi project coordinator Tamara Mutyavaviri made the call in Lilongwe on Monday during dissemination of the project results.
She said the project found that persons with disabilities were sidelined in Covid-19 intervention programmes especially on access to information.
Said Mutyavaviri: “What we found was that information materials were not user friendly to persons with disabilities as such many of them were very ignorant about the pandemic so they were still believing in myths before the project.”
She said the project, which was implemented in two traditional authoritoes each in Lilongwe and Salima districts with funding from the Commonealth Foundation, held meetings with communities and produced disability-friendly information materials which were distributed in the project areas.
On his part, Ngwale promised to take up the matter to the parliamentary committee.
“It’s true, there is need for increased funding but the challenge is our economy which is limited. To this effect, I would suggest that apart from relying on government alone, we should be thinking about other means of raising funds,” he said.
The Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi executive director Simon Munde said persons with disabilities are left out in many issues including at policy formulation level.
“We are left out in many programmes. Just imagine, we didn’t have any representation in the Presidential Task force on Covid-19 to push for our consideration. No wonder, the Covid-19 preventive measures that were formulated were not conducive for us,” he said.
Lessons from the year-long project, according to Mutyavaviri, have shown that the project needs to be scaled up nationwide to reach out to more persons with disabilities.