World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC programmes / Unity, mission, evangelism and spirituality / Just and inclusive communities / People with disabilities / Reports / Disability and globalization, Johannesburg, South Africa

Disability and globalization, Johannesburg, South Africa

06 November 2004

Report of the EDAN disability and globalization consultation

2-6 November 2004
Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa




The churches are in no doubt that the ethics of economic globalisation are ethics of competition and domination, which favours individualism and fosters consumerism at the expense of social cohesion and sustainability of the community of life. The Christian vision of oikoumene that of unity of mankind is a vision of compassion for the weak and the marginalized. It is a vision of cooperation with all people of goodwill in defense of creation. It is a violation of solidarity with those forced to survive the tidal waves of injustice sweeping across the globe. It is this realization that has brought about a spirited campaign for economic justice by the World Council of Churches, its member churches and cooperating ecumenical development agencies. In the last few years this campaign has largely been directed on the negative effects of globalization and especially the unfair trade practices that come with it.

Whereas a lot is being done by the World Council of Churches, member churches, ecumenical development agencies, Regional Ecumenical Organisations and National Councils in this regard, very little has been done to include persons with disabilities in these debates. The mission of these church and church related agencies is to address the plight of the poor and marginalized in the society. There is no doubt that persons with disabilities are the poorest of the poor. Failure to include them either in this debate or in the entire agenda for economic justice has meant that the church is living out a significant portion of itself. It cannot be the church for all until and unless this portion is integrated in all its life and mission. It is in the light of this, that Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network and the Economic Justice Programme of the Justice, Peace and Creation team organized this workshop on globalization and disability with the following foci:

  1. Globalization, international debt burdens and impact on people with disabilities especially in developing countries.

  2. Nexus between globalization and poverty and its effect on people with disabilities.

  3. Structural Adjustment Programs - Commodification of Health, Rehabilitation and Education and the shrinking public sector inputs.

  4. Women with disabilities and the effect of globalization on them.

  5. The impact of globalization on young people with disabilities and the shaping of their futures.

  6. Lowering legislative controls on social and environmental standards and impacts on persons with disabilities

  7. Globalization's positive impact - Technology and information revolution

    • New Assistive Devices

    • Creation of jobs that need no muscle power

    • Potential for investment in the human capital including persons with disabilities for success in the new ‘knowledge-based' global economy?

  8. Exploiting opportunities in emerging trade blocs.

Twenty persons with disabilities who are themselves, economists, social planners, women and young people attended the consultation, while three of them represented the Southern Africa National Councils of churches.



The participants convened at the meeting hall at Kempton Park Conference at 8.30am. Rev. Dr. Abraham Berinyuu who led the morning devotions, started the meeting with thanksgiving prayers before reading Isaiah 48:12-16 about the story of Jacob and Israel. He related the story to a court scene at which the plaintiff is putting his case to the judge while not being aware that they are doing so. It is as if God is engaging Israel and reminding them that despite all they have gone through, God has been with them.

He further emphasized that God himself is bringing people into awareness as the people were so oppressed that they thought they were still in exile suffering as they had become used to oppression yet they had forgotten that God had been part of their history and had not left them at all. God had always wanted to engage their whole life in History to make His love and protection visible.

In ourselves, we see the story of our lives and histories. Our lives are a witness and the acts of history are a realization of that goal. God has called us to a point of deliverance and is asking if we can see that, both in private and public.

In that project, God is our source of strength and source of our resources. We are liberated by God in Grace.


Mr. Samuel Kabue who was chairing the meeting, asked the participants to introduce themselves after which he informed the meeting that the official hosts were the South Africa Conference of Churches and the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa.

Mr.Kabue shared on the history and interventions of the WCC on disabilities and spelt out the Workshop agenda. He explained that the WCC efforts on disability issues could be traced as far back as 1971, eventually culminating in the formation of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) in 1999.

The first formal EDAN Consultation was held soon after the 8th WCC General Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe where ten persons with disabilities from different parts of the world had been invited to participate as advisors to the Assembly on disability issues. The ten, took this opportunity to hold their own consultations on how best to influence Churches to recognize and incorporate PWDs in their witness and service program. Determined to carry the disability agenda forward, the advisors decided to form EDAN as the vehicle through which members would further disability issues in their respective Regions.

The 1999 meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya marked a new page in the calendar of WCC work on persons with disabilities as it was then that EDAN was formally incepted. Following recommendations of the Nairobi meeting EDAN was institutionalized and located within the Justice, Peace and Creation (JPC) Team of the Council, with the sole mandate of advocating for inclusion, participation and observation of the rights of PWDs through networks allied to the WCC structures. The decision by WCC to locate disability work and EDAN in particular within JPC is by itself a bold acknowledgement by the Council that disability concerns are indeed justice issues.

Henceforth, WCC has continued to support EDAN through such measures as:

  • Collaboration with various WCC Programs;
  • Decentralization of the EDAN work and operations and seeking to empower Regional Coordinators
  • The development of the Interim Theological Statement, which is the primary reference document in the WCC disability work.

EDAN is part of the Justice Peace and Creation Team thus recognizing disability as a Justice issue. Mr. Kabue explained that the aim of the consultation was to see how disability is intertwined with globalisation. Thus the purpose of the meeting was to generate recommendations on disability and globalisation that can be used by Ecumenical bodies as address economic justice. The other aim was to equip disabled people to make impacts towards major conferences on economic globalisation.

By Dr. Rogate Mshana

The speaker began by expressing how excited he is to have this meeting that they have been planning together with EDAN for a long time. The issue of economic justice and the involvement of WCC emerged in 1910 when Churches (largely European and North America churches at that time) manifested a gradual awareness of the importance of socio-economic issues for social ethics. In 1937 more churches including those in developing countries took charge of raising economic issues. A number of WCC Assemblies read the sign of times and produced critique and clarity on the need for economic justice. The WCC General Assembly held in Harare - Zimbabwe in 1998 raised this major question: "How do we live our faith in the context of Globalisation?"

The Harare Assembly recommended that globalisation has to be challenged by an alternative view of life in community and diversity. Christians and churches should reflect on the challenge of globalisation from a faith perspective and resist the unilateral domination of economic systems by some institutions. Global powers are challenged to embrace new ethics and values particularly at the operational level. It has been realized that even though there is recognition that the present growth model and the market are flawed, the main players of globalisation continue to push the globalisation project along. Ironically they too use the language of economic justice but their methodology is still entrenched in the hands of those with economic power and interest.

Globalisation is a process of human evolution from the stone age to the present stage of human existence. Travel, communication, science, technology and knowledge enhance it. None challenges this process. For conceptual understanding, however, as mentioned by the UN process on Social Development, it is necessary to differentiate between economic globalisation and globalisation. Economic globalisation (neo-liberal way of doing trade and finance with a view to liberalize and privatize economies worldwide) is an aspect of globalization that is dangerous. Powerful global corporations, rich countries and institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO drive this type of globalization. It is a system that favors the most powerful actors. The system has created few winners and a huge number of losers. It has widened the gap between the rich and the poor and absolute poverty in the world and within nations (3 billion people leaving less than 2 dollars a day and 1.2 billion on less than 1 dollar a day. Inequality is vivid with 5% of the rich earning 144 times than the poor 5%. 20% of the world population owns more than 80% of the global wealth. In Africa, 65% of the inhabitants live on less than 1 dollar a day and as many as 87% on less than 2 dollars a day. Often in many countries such as DRC, Bangladesh, India or other developing countries do with less than 0.30 a day. Due to poverty, about 24,000 people die daily. If we take a ratio of 1 person with disability per every 10 people, it means about 2,400 people with disability die daily as well due to poverty and hunger related diseases.

UNDP warns that this will affect the implementation of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) because poverty will not be halved in 2015 but till 2147. In this context of Africa, primary education will be delivered not in 2015 but in 2130. That is 115 years late. The elimination of avoidable infant deaths not by 2015 but by 2165. That is 150 years late. Here again PWDs are affected even more as chances for their survival and resources for preventive disability diminish with time.

Disability limits access to education and employment and leads to economic and social exclusion. Poor people with disabilities are caught in a vicious cycle of poverty and disability, each being both a cause and a consequence of the other. Militarisation and war for oil propel economic globalisation as well. As war rages on in many parts of the world, more people with disabilities are produced. As the environment is destroyed we experience global warming, hurricanes, typhoons, floods and desertification result in many PWDs emerging and as indebtedness increases, resources are not in place to enable PWDs to lead decent lives in which they can sustain their livelihoods. Liberalization policies for instance lead ti killing small businesses owned by PWDs. These people are the first to lose their livelihoods and jobs. Cutting social services affects more the PWDs. Economic globalisation policies lead to poverty, which causes disability and in turn poverty. This is a vicious cycle that needs drastic solutions by PWDs themselves as policy makers.

A large proportion of disability is preventable. It is estimated that only 2% of people with disabilities in developing countries have access to rehabilitation and appropriate basic services. Poor nutrition, dangerous working and living conditions limited access to vaccination programs and to health and maternity care, poor hygiene, bad sanitation, inadequate information about the causes of impairments, war and conflict and natural disasters all cause disability. WHO estimates that as many as 20 million women a year suffer disability and long term complications as a result of pregnancy and child birth. The most common causes of motor disability are injuries from accidents on the road, at home, or the workplace; war and violence, including landmines, birth trauma and infectious diseases such as polio and leprosy. Children are often disabled as a result of malnutrition.

Critique and Alternative globalization

Much has been written about the problem of economic globalization and how it creates losers, winners and environmental destruction. The winners have solutions, which do not threaten their methods of winning. The losers however have solutions to reform the means and methods of winning in such a way that all win and not only a few corporations.

The expansionist economies are based on the erroneous historical isolation of the subject from other parts of life to the reduction of human beings to comodifying everything on earth and relationships. They enhance the market logic, the logic of accumulation and exchange reinforcing the instincts of greed and individualism. These instincts are also responsible in building walls against persons with disabilities.

In economics of economics of enough, society must be willing to accept that growth without limits is unsustainable to both people and ecology. Such economies will center on researching the means and methods of enhancing qualitative growth and equity governed by the following alternative economies:

  • Recognition of scales: human claims should not go far as to cause damage (this rules the idea of continuous economic growth.)
  • An economic system must not grow beyond a certain point. There must be a limit to human needs and desires.
  • Both individuals and society as a whole should be able to declare a certain level of wealth as sufficient.
  • Instead of maximizing production and consumption, the economy must be guided by values such as sufficiency, simplicity, care and solidarity.
  • There must be a distinction between material luxury desires from legitimate economic needs of people today and future generations.
  • It gives priority to meeting the needs of the poor, human community and ecology.
  • It should distribute economic power and monitor concentration of power and dominance of few economic players.
  • Governments should be driven and dominated by any economic power group.

The above should be debated and enforced through dialogue and solidarity. This is due to the fact that we are challenged by the question of responsible, just and fair governance both within nations and between nations, which can enhance the new values if the people wish to promote them.

Globalizing new alternatives

Many groups and social movements are dissatisfied with the current trends in trade finance and corporate globalisation. We need to intensify our research on alternatives while we provide good critique and clarify on economics of enough and sharing. This has challenged WCC to come up with Alternative Globalisation Addressing Peoples and Earth (AGAPE).

Agape is the Greek word used in the Bible to signify God's love as well as our love of God and of the neighbor. AGAPE therefore summarises the reason for Christian engagement with economy and politics and the faith base of our vision for alternatives in only one word.

AGAPE affirms that there should be Economics of compassion, not economics that looks at Accidents as creating wealth as markets cant and shouldn't be the place to solve issues of poverty eradication. In the current scenario, the International Financial Institutions believe that with increase of productions, poverty levels will be reduced. But with the globalisation of capital, all this production only leads to migration of capital to the North.

Many groups and social movements are dissatisfied with the current trends in neo-liberal greed; unjust trade and unjust financial institutions thus the need to globalising new alternatives.

The churches have been so much on the forefront of disability work from the charity point of view but not on empowerment. Capacity of the church to advocate needs proactive people and this means that the church needs to build their capacity through exposure programmes and exchange visits.

It is now becoming very evident that the church is not very serious about the participation of persons with disabilities as participation is part and parcel of empowerment and should not be treated differently. The church is called upon to allocate funds for programmes of PWDs. The churches must lead in this fight but not be compromised as the church should remain faithful to its call.

It is time the churches start engaging our multinational corporations and transnationals on the harmful effects of IMF and World Bank on these policies towards poor people.

But the answer is in the implementation of the poverty reduction programmes. The UN and the corporate sector are called upon to follow justice and human rights' angle in their programmes.

It was discovered that even though the current process of globalization is generating unbalanced outcomes, both between and within countries. Wealth is being created, but too many countries and people are not sharing in its benefits. They also have little or no voice in shaping the process. There is a lot of power in coalitions as was evident in Cancun, therefore DPOs are called upon to be united and form winning coalitions to advocate for an economic justice that is favourable to disabled persons. Networking is very important, we need to join other coalitions on debtors and say no to injustices.

All of these effects of globalization turn out to be so immense for disabled people since one aspect of globalization is competition for market forces, technology and skills, labour market that demand high qualified personnel. The disabled, who are viewed in the market economy as not being able to give any input in the economy and therefore are worthless. For disabled people who have missed out these opportunities of acquiring sustainable professional capacities and economical power are definitely going to be losers in the struggle.

Globalisation has set in motion a process of far-reaching change that is affecting everyone. New technology supported by more open policies, has created a world more interconnected that ever before. This spans not only growing interdependence in economic relations, trade, investment, finance and the organization of production globally, but also social and political interaction among organizations and individuals across the world. Globalisation has led to the increased material production, open more markets, employment, all of which are very essential component in the poverty reduction.

Question: What are the good things coming from communities that can be considered alternatives?

Answer: disability issues need to be incorporated to these areas from the very beginning to improve the participation and contribution of PWD. Though the global power is pushing the system, but we find the community using subsidiarity as a way of doing things and governments should be called upon to protect this small initiatives and say no to global institutions which are only interested in taking money from the South to North.

By Dr. Elly Macha

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the measurements set by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nation to determine the level of achievement attained by the international community in an attempt to suppress different human catastrophes cause by the incident of uneven sharing of the fruits of globalisation and social injustice prevalent in the developing world. In the United Nation Millenium Declaration, endorsed in 2000, 189 countries, both rich and poor, agreed to an unprecedented pledge to eradicate human poverty, promote development and support sustainable development. The Millennium Declaration sets eight MDGs to be achieved by 2015. These concern basic needs and rights of all people: to educate a family, put food on the table, earn a decent living, prevent and treat diseases and illness. These components for determination were defined in 2000 regarding the benchmark of 1990.

The Eight MDGs are:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development.

In the UN Millennium Summit of 2000, the progress in the implementation of these goals was evaluated with the view of singling out challenges that face international community in the cause of execution of the whole strategic plan.

Experience shows that most of African countries tend to ignore the issues of disability. The concept of disability is not yet being considered as a crosscutting and developmental one by most of the African political leaders. This is why in most of the local and international development policies programmes the specific concerns of disabled people are not accorded reasonable attention.

Two factors are though to be the reason behind this trend of an oversight.

Firstly, in the world cultural background, when human society was in primitive stage and the level of science and technology was still very low, an individual contribution in the production and reproduction process was highly appreciated. An individual could only be respected depending on the extent of participation in productive activities.

Disabled people due to their impairments and the harsh environmental conditions of the past world, could not effectively engage in productivity like their non-disabled peers. Under these circumstances, disabled people could not be accorded the same respect, which their counterparts non-disabled used enjoy in the communal societies. Consequently, they suffered a lot of trauma due to the social stigma harboured by the communal family members towards them. For instance, some tribes in Africa and even some parts of Europe when a child is born with impairment was either killed so as to rid the society with the case or kept indoors for the rest of his/her life for fear of shame in the society.

When science advancement which is a cornerstone of MDGs is used in a way that millions of dollars are being invested in genetic research that has the goal of preventing the birth of disabled children, one wonders what this reflects upon disability and the MDGs themselves.

Generally the omission of the disability component found in the Millennium Development Goals will eventually cause a lot of harm to disabled people. Disabled people who are already in the blink of negative attitudes, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and killer diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, in the absence of any global strategy their current poor status will excarcebate it. This oversight should also be recognized as a typical violation of human rights. If there is no intervention that seriously intends to include disability in all developmental agendas, the destiny of disabled people in Africa will never be realized.

African countries are poor, highly dependent upon international community and Breton wood institutions for economic support, they are highly indebted in such a way that they might assume such situation as a pretext for fail to adequately provide for disadvantaged citizens. Therefore, the industrial world in partnership with the least developed countries must give more resources to such countries in order to foster development of disabled people and promote their human rights status.

The significance of mainstreaming disability in Millenium Development Goals

Apart from all the issues that influence attention in Africa such as hunger, poverty, peace and security, HIV/AIDS, the issue of disability would always and still remain paramount in the agenda. Let alone the issue of poverty which is one of the source of disability, there are issues of civil wars going on in some African countries whose consequences is a creation of more and more disabled people, also the presence of landmines which are scattered across Africa brings in hundreds and thousands of disabled people.

Therefore failure to include disability component in the Millennium Development Goals is neglecting the truth which if is acted upon, a suitable ground for change would be created. This population of disabled people which is left unchecked is full with mental and physical capacities which if harnessed will play an integral part in promoting development and economic sustainability in the developing world. Inspite of the fact that disabled people are 10% of any given population and 20% of the world's poorest, the society must understand that they are in irreplaceable part of 100%. No one is prevented from being disabled, it is a misfortune that might befall any human being who is physically fit; so when the policy makers design programmes and activities which are expedient for disabled people, they actually create the environment that might positively benefit them in the future.

Disability is a cross cutting issue and policy makers should always avoid blanket statements because there are certain marginalized groups in the society which due to the nature of their biological, physiological, geographical settings, e.t.c might always be given less attention when it comes to the issue of resources and services sharing.

To make the Millennium Development Goals realistic with the view to address the problems facing disabled people in Africa, there must be a close link between such goals and the African Decade of Disabled People. All of the initiatives by the United Nations must reflect these two programmes.

The African Decade is about change. Change in the way disabled people perceive themselves and their capabilities; change in what we expect from governments, donors, countries, civil society and the corporate sector; change in the way we relate to each other. That kind of change calls for dialogue and sustained engagement. Therefore, the challenge is to have the political will to commit the necessary resources for implementation of the Decade programme and human rights instruments and for effective communication with disabled people in Africa. However, Millennium Development Goals can only be achieved if disabled people are recognized as being among the poorest of the poor and if development, from birth onwards and at all levels is based on human rights.

The entire population of disabled people is expecting a world in which they can take their rightful place as proud and participating citizens. They want that world today: tomorrow is too late. Many people tell say that disability is too specialist an issue, that services for the disabled people are too costly, for disability to represent what they would call a realistic component of today's development programme. If disability is a human rights and developmental issue, the fact that there should be no choice for the United Nations and donor community but to include disabled people in its development programmes is true of each and every one of us in the African continent.

What is needed is a process of globalization with a strong social dimension based on universally shared values and respect for human rights and individual dignity; one that is fair, inclusive, democratically governed and provides opportunities and tangible benefits for all countries and people. A vibrant civil society empowered by freedom of association and expression, that reflects and voice the full diversity of views and interests. Organizations representing public interests, the poor and other disadvantaged groups are also essential for ensuring participatory and socially just governance.

See full text of Dr Elly Macha's paper

Issues raised

  • Disability is not at all reflected in the MDGs thus negating the gains that have been made.
  • A 9th Millennium goal should be added specifically to deal with the issue of disability.
  • Disability is a cross cutting issue but this mirginalisation in MDGs is an omission not commission
  • PWDS demands economic justice and where their issues can be addressed.
  • What criteria should be in place to ensure that disability is included and addressed? This should be an ongoing discussion among churches and DPOs.


  1. Where is cultural globalization? Is it a useful issue worth being discussed? How about globalization of ideas?
  2. Globalization has also become another form of marginalization of PWDs. It excercebates poverty as can be seen through the programmes that are being encouraged among the vocational rehabilitation centres such as switchboard operators vis-à-vis new technologies.
  3. In the 1975 UN Declaration on development, PWDs as were mentioned as a special category and yet the MDGs have ignored it altogether. Is it a contradiction
  4. There is no tracking, monitoring mechanisms or commitment on the governments and a clear statement of intent should be made to the relevant bodies.
  5. The issue of globalization and impact on PWDs seems more of an omission than commission.
  6. There is still a lot that can be done in this field through the Commission for Africa that has been launched by Great Britain government to speedy the attainment of this goals and PWDs are called upon to be part of these discussions which will include debt cancellation, access to trade, increase in investment and increase in aid.


Structural Adjustment Programmes popularly known as SAPs is a policy that was made popular by Bretton Woods Institutions. The speaker confirmed that even though all economies have to at one time, structurally adjust, this particular However the ideology that informs these micro-economic structures to influence Education, Health and Rehabilitation is flawed as it it is being propagated by the IMF and WB who insist on structuring it in their own ways.

Home grown economics should be left to adjust in order to address these distortions and the historical anomalies associated to it instead of universalizing the dysfunctionalities and using a common solution as these are driven by culture, geographical locations and history.

Issues that arised from the paper include:

- How do we address economic dysfunctionalities with specific regard to PWDs yet this is not a homogenious group?

- SAPs are seen as a continuation of a take over of other countries to further these countries' dependence as it is a process that takes away the sovereignity of the people

- Are SAPS a panacea to addressing economic dysfunctionalities? Are they homegrown solutions or are they imposed universal solutions generalized to fit all? Some look at it as an extension of the power relations by a big brother telling you what to do, how to do it and when.

- One size fits all solutions have been set because if it worked in Ghana, it must also work in Kigali, thus the problem is the universalisation.

- The continuation of financial takeover of other weaker economies and loss of sovereignty of other states.

- The promotion of a particular worldview questioning the way to deal with freedom, life, identity, destiny and basically the whole being of a person.

- The private sector is always seen better than the public sector. The economic/private sector is popularized more than the state/public sector. Thus narrowing and limiting the role of the state.

- Any good goods or products come with a price and therefore everything is costed and comes with a value attached to it.


  • Internal instability leads to greater irregularities good. Governments can't play their roles thus creating more poor people as safety nets for the poor people are removed thus creating a wider gap between the rich and the poor.
  • Limited accountability by governments as Ministers of finance are not responsible to the people but to the bretton woods institutions.
  • Commodifying of public goods and social values
  • Worsening the question of poverty. The reversal of gains that had been met in health, education and rehabilitation
  • Fiscal discipline. Governments must control spending and retrenchment.


- The churches are called upon to remind the governments their vocation.

- In the North, the private and the public are balanced and therefore privatizing services might have a minimum impact but in the south, we are being asked to thin our governments yet the private sector is not able to handle all the privatization yet.

- Disability movement is called upon to initiate an auditing mechanism of international instruments and what they say about disability.

- European Union and World Bank have country guidelines on disability and DPOs could use this as benchmarks to audit their activities.

By Mrs. Grace Ramatsui

The speaker started by apologizing that due to the time limit when she was told to prepare the paper, she only focused on Botswana.

The most visible sign of negative globalisation in Botswana is unemployment and poverty. Unemployment has affected all categories professionals alike. People with disabilities particularly women are more affected due to lack of skills. In 2002, it was estimated that 30% of the total population lived in poverty. The population of Botswana is 1.6 million people and that is a sizeable number.

The government of Botswana does not discriminate on the basis of colour, creed, gender or disability. In this regard people with disabilities are involved to participate in decision making at all levels but still have the liberty to form their own associations as well. Government has put in place through legislation, various micro-financial assistance schemes to promote creation of jobs. Women have an added advantage in one of the Financial Assistance Programmes(FAP_ whereby they are awarded 13% less in interest charges.

See full text of Grace Ramatsui's paper

By Phitalis Were Masakhwe

The presenter started by emphasizing that as the world shrinks into what is popularly refered to as the global village, it's becoming increasingly important to establish just where Persons with Disabilities fit into all this. This question is vital especially for persons with disabilities in the southern Hemisphere. More critical, though, it is just how they can benefit from globalisation. Sadly, the answers are not clear for Africans with Disabilities especially the youth. To benefit, is not enough for the climate to be right. It is imparative that they have access to the appropriate attire for various whether conditions the global arena presents.

Disabled youth, especially women with disabilities are lowly ranked in educational opportunities. Statistics from UNESCO states that only 6% of women have access to education and what kind of education and training opportunities are available to youth with disabilities? Mainly secluded, under funded and many times very poor quality education. What of skills development? In developing countries especially Africa, few youths have the previledge of accessing quality and high level training opportunities. They are trained in less obscure, less regarded trades like shoe cobbling, manual tailoring and leather works, while non-disabled youths are training in computer engineering and nuclear physics. How can the world watch and allow this to happen in this age and era of information superhighway?

Disabled youth also drop out of schools and colleges because of hostile social environment, inaccessible infrastructure and facilities. What does all this have to do with Persons with Disabilities and especially the youths position vis-avis globalization? We must understand where youth with disabilities stand in their own society before we can fathom their condition in the wider global society. In other words, if the youth with disabilities have to contend with so many problems in their country, they can only be expected to fair worse out there where they have to cope with numerious factors.

For the African youth with disabilities, the global village seems to be a mirage or an elusive spring of water. The rural youth lacks, not only the tools, but also the necessary training to take advantage of the spring. An unfortunate situation presents itself with regard to the poor urban youth with disabilities. In most cases, they are uneducated, semi-skilled or unskilled, constantly in search of means of survival for themselves, their children and even their families. Owing to lack of jobs, many of them have ended up as beggars or being used as beggars and peddlers of drugs and other illicit activities. Hence have become commodities and lost the human face that would enable them access the global market as human beings.

Africans with disabilities, especially the youth are generally handicapped when it comes to accessing the international market as business people. To engage in business at this level, one needs a significant outlay of money as capital.

For decades now, the global labour market has been recruiting, noty omn the basis of citizenshiop but on qualifications, competence and suitability to the particular job. In this particular market, youth with disabilities are victims of disability-related discrimination but more importantly, due to lack of quality and relevant education, type and nature of trainings accessible to them.

The other critical question to observe is the issue of exposure to opportunities available in this global maze. Many disabled persons do not have access to simple transistor radios, leave alone a TV, computer or email addresses. And even wher information is available, in what format? Is it accessible for all persons with various communication needs? And at what cost? So where does this leave him/her in terms of information and the critical linkages to the global super highway? Of course owing to history, upbringing and economic standing, many disabled persons are highly traveled and exposed to have a deeper insight into the intricacies of globalization and attendant opportunities.

It will appear that the disabled persons especially youth with disabilities cannot afford to take globalization for granted. Though the global village is fertile with opportunities, which could help uplift them from contemporary socio-economic challenges, there are numerous problems for them to overcome before they can gain access. We need pragmatic programmes such as Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR).

CBR works to eliminate community and societal stigma towards persons with disabilities and empowers parents and Disabled Persons' Organizations for self advocacy; but more importantly, engages governments, civil society organizations and development partners, the private sector and media to create a level playing ground and field for disability mainstreaming and empowerment of those with disabilities. It works to minimize social, institutional, policy and legal barriers that hamper and impede faster socio-economic political growth and development of those with disabilities.

See full text of Phitalis Were Masakhwe's paper

Governments and the private sector are called upon to ensure that legal aid for women with disabilities is made available to them when they face discrimination on the basis of disability to join other women groups.

Reproductive rights should be equal to all women, whether with a disability or not.

Governments are called upon to offer social relief and Churches are called upon to provide grants or soft loans to parents of children with severe disabilities who become full-time care givers to them thus putting them in a position of and this can slide them into poverty

Globalisation should be looked at as an opportunity and shouldn't impede the development of the youth. Measures should be put through education to sensitize early childhood education providers to realize that these children are special and as youths, expose them to the benefits of areas such as Information Technology. However, there is also the danger of exposure to crime, war and indecent behaviour that can be picked up from the internet.

Research is needed to curb the issue of invisibility. The issues of youth with disabilities are not known as they lack a voice in the DPOs which are the preserve of adults with disabilities.

Having a Government appoint a Ministry for Youth is very important as it would give the youth who in Africa compose 60% of the population a chance to express their views.



Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowans led the morning devotions by reading John 10:4-10 of which he stressed that Jesus is the true shepherd and the backbone of our life.

By Hon. Moses Masimine

Hon. Masimine is a Minister for Justice and Human Rights in Lesotho and a Senator in the upper house. He started by tracing the a historical development of disability from charity to human rights and development. The essence of disability rights development and change of perception can only be understood in the perspective of market economy in the colonial era whereby Africa was the source of raw materials yet not benefiting from them. This he emphasized, affected everybody, bringing on board the emergence of the civil movement which highlighted more on the issues of systematic discrimination and mirginalisation. This brought with it the issues of Human rights.

Laws must be formulated to redress all the past imbalances. Therefore PWDs must be given support services to equalize this equilibrium that empowers and builds them for equalization. Churches should be sensitized to remove barriers such as staircases and to also carry out public awareness and advocacy on disability issues as human rights issues.

PWDs must voice and vocalize their issues. This can only happen if there is representation in the government. In countries where quotas are not created by the government, disabled people should lobby their constituents and campaign to be members of parliament.

Align with winning political parties and unite together and eliminate in fights. All the laws must integrate PWDs including allocating quotas where possible. Developing partnerships must make a …. And concerns of PWDs a pre-condition for bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

The African Union is called upon to implement the African Decade for Persons with Disabilities and this partnership must be forged for it to make an impact.

All conventions must ensure that they have clauses on PWDs and they should empower their organizations to monitor that. NEPAD must be sensitized through parliamentarians, ministers and heads of states.

By Hon. James Mwandha (Uganda)

The Speaker started by reiterating that during the late 2980s and early 1990s, many African countries initiated drastic structural adjustments to their economic systems promoted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These "Structural Adjustment" programs throughout Africa in the name of liberalisatiuon meant a shift to "free market" stance, created hospitable environments for foreign business people and for the movement of goods across national boundaries. "Free Market" agreements usually preceded these programmes, locking in new liberal policies and further facilitating the flow of goods and services while opening new sectors to foreign business people. These policies fostered the continued and systematic plunder of natural and human resources in many countries. Governments as regulators of the economies and re-distributors of wealth have been disempowered. State enterprises and functions have been privatized and deregulated. Wages have been kept low and interest rates high.

Globalisation process creates effective new international institutions to shape the market system in order to give rise to more equal opportunities and outcomes and to preserve the space for progressive social policies at a national level, which however, are working against improvement of welfare of the majority. For instance, more business people and corporations are attracted to places and countries with low wages, low taxes and low legislated social and environmental standards, thus creating untold inequality and confining the poorest including the disabled people to an even a peripheral national income and wealth. Besides, at the heart of this globalism lies the same idea of private capital that encourages full scope to puyrsue own interests, nationally and ionternationally. Globalisation can be seen to be creating new challenges, either in the shape of opportunities or new barriers to growth and progress in the world economy.

These programs have paved way to the globalization era, thuis reversing long held social policies, eliminating progressive institutions and reforming laws defending public ownership of resources. African countries both in their national development plans and in international commitments have generally subscribed to the goals of universal social services and equal opportunities for all. While stability and sustainability are characterized by the participation of all members of society, inspiration of economic growth, income distribution in African countries has worsened during this era. The pie is bigger, but fewer mirginalised people such as the disabled can access it. In light of this, the United Nations recognized the need for increased action to improve the lives of the poor segments in the world and has made some commitments. For the disabled people in the world, the UN has made some commitments which among others include covenants, conventions and declarations.

Unregulated globalisation and liberalization have been seen to reinforce social marginalization and exclusion of disable people from the development process and inaccessibility to services and resources. The Universal declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which recognized the freedom of individuals as well as their right to equality, is a milestone in this are but disabled people were not specifically covered by this important international declaration yet disabled people constitute 10% of the world's population. The declaration did not include the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of disability.

Disabled people are excluded from services enjoyment and access to property, housing, credit, good education, health Services, enjoyment of their own culture and a clean environment, social exculition has thus, in turn led to a disruption of social cohesion. This has resulted into denial of opportunities in different spheres of life, discrimination on the ground of disability and their social and cultural isolation, let alone inadequate mobilization and sensitization about their potential and rights to development. This full participation of disabled people in community and national development, thereby condemning them to abject poverty and to peripheral living in society.

The process of globalisation excercebates defferences in gender, race, culture and ethnicity, disability, age and sexuality. This explains the current poor quality of life among disabled people in African countries as they are comparative by the competition of the free market, thus undermining their rights, equality and dignity.

Proponents of free market argue that globalisation creates jobs and prosperity by increasing business opportunities. On the contrary internationally set employment rights world over, have had a negative impact on the excersise of the right of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike. In fact the working people in many countries world over have seen a tremendous loss of long-term, secure employment, which has been replaced by short-term insecure jobs with fewer benefits and lower pay. The creation of and emphasis of the modern sector has resulted into few jobs and promoted the expansion of informal sector employment, in which workers are excluded from benefits such as health plans, job protection and social security because their jobs are neither unionized nor registered with their governments. This has disadvantaged the disabled people the more. Even the very few who happen to get work are disproportionately represented in the lowest-paid jobs with the worst working conditions.

Thus disabled people are caught between the desire of eaning a living and the xenophobia of host firms to hire cheap labour serivec as they are the last to be hire and the first to be fired. Governments are forget their obligation to guarantee full social rights to workers, in accordance with international conventions and to promote balances social and economic development, which would reduce suffering of disabled people in the first place as a special category of workers.

Globalisation has led to exclusive expansion and increased mobility and flexibility of capital. This has unduly created exploutation of natural resources and detracted the need to preserve them for the benefit of current and future generations. This restricts the ability of governments.

The following recommendations were made by the speaker:

  • Markets must serve human rights and not vice versa. Towards this, it is time for African governments to recognize their obligation to defend social and environmental standards ahead of the rights of business people.
  • Governments should conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of any new or existing market agreements before making them to asses their impact on mirginalised communities, development, democracy, the environment, health, human rights, labour rights and the rights of persons with disabilities among others.
  • Governments should enhance disabled people, their stakeholders and activists to start lobbying for inclusion, implementation of legislations on the rights and measures, but also allotting of affirmative action.
  • Development partners should carry their commitment according to the UN declarations, treaties conventions and other charters established, by providing the necessary support for their implementation.

See full text of Hon. James Mwandha's paper

Lobbying for National Policies on Disabilities, Disability Act and National Council on Disability should be a key agenda of DPOs in their various countries. Churches can help build the capacity of these DPOs to be able to do so.

DPOs are challenged to develop leaders who are resourceful to be advocates. Younger people should be natured through the movement to take over the running and advocacy part of DPOs when the current leadership is no more.

In the African Union Parliament, recognition was given to women's participation and a lot can be leant from the women movement to gain this level of status in all the regional bodies.

Governments are urged to make provisions for PWDs to be part of the government delegations to the discussions on the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities.

Ms. Sebenzile Matsebula

Information and Technology is everything. It is that which makes the world go round as Information is power.

Africans however have a poor access to information. Technology is also about power and the fact that Africa has a poor access to information and technology in itself is very serious indeed. Partnerships and alliances need to be developed by the church towards this achievement.

PWDs use Assistive devices that add value to their lives though accessing them is a big problem as they are very expensive thus not able to benefit from these gadgets which are meant to improve the quality of their lives. Mobility therefore becomes a major challenge for people with physical impairment or visual impairment.

The tricky situation is moving from the charity/handouts to human rights, as access to information is also tied to networking and partnership especially at the AU level through ARI which is called upon to ensure that technology for PWDs is at the forefront.

There is a need for continued support of the power base of DPO organizations towards development of DPOs.

Plans are currently underway in South Africa towards access of information by persons with disabilities through computers. The project is through the Presidential Commission on ICT and is through the OSPD and it will soon be introduced countrywide.

ARI is moribund and there is a need to revitalize it to ensure that disability agenda is visible in AU.

Speaking form the perspective of deaf people, Lupi lamented that the deaf people are always last group to be thought of when new technologies are coming to place. Information is mostly inaccessible especially for the profound deaf.

Even though with the advent of technology, the people using hearing aids have benefited a lot due to the manufacturing of better hearing aids, those who are profoundly deaf and have to depend on interpreters don't seem to benefit from this.

The biggest problem however in Africa is the fact that many deaf people are either illiterate or have poor training thus denying them access to technology as they cannot afford the cost due to their lowly jobs.

In some places, the deaf have their own TV stations but this is segregative and therefore governments are called upon to have captioning mandatory especially on national TV stations.

Speaking from a perspective of Visually Impaired Persons, Elly stressed that even though computer software specially for the blind is available, is very expensive. However, a lot of development in this field that has led to access to information and independence for blind persons unlike the days when there was no ‘secrecy' as everything had to be read aloud.

There are Braille note takers that are compatible with personal computers, Braille embossers, screen reading softwares, colour detectors and navigation gadgets which are currently retailing at over $1,000 are very expensive not only to afford, but to access too.

The question to be asked is how PWDs control technology and the advances in the various programmes used by them. The need for PWDs and DPOs to liaise with their National Science and Technology Commissions or Ministries of Technology for subsidies.

However there is a lot that needs to be done especially to the youth and the people living in the rural areas. Education is very crucial to build the capacity of PWDs in the area of information and technology in Africa. The debate on Intellectual Property rights is robbing other people from reaping the benefits of technology and information.

PWDS, DPOs and the church should move to form linkages to lobby to foundations such as Bill Gates towards sourcing of funds to enable PWDs access and afford software on information technology.

PWDs need empowerment for them to be able to work, just like a sweeper employed in an office is not asked to bring a broom along. Assistive devises should be tools provided by governments to make the work easier.

A regional taskforce should be appointed by ARI to do research to know what is available in technology and how to access it. This information should be disseminated to PWDs to enable them lobby for fair prices. This information can also be used to lobby for government subsidies.

Due to the stress for prices being determined by markets, more people need to be aware of what products are in the market and be equipped to use them as this will push the demand high and thereby making the prices go lower.

Utility technology should be encouraged. Low-level technological inventions should be encouraged in our institutions of learning as this will provide alternatives to the expensive high level technology products.

By Phillip Thompson

The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

The speaker started by highlighting the origin of Universal Design as a move driven due to the issues around accessibility, older people living longer due to better standard of living and the advent of disability rights thus creating a new status quo.

Universal Design concept came from a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers who collaborated to establish Principles of Universal Design to guide a wide range of design disciplines including environments, products, and communications. These seven principles may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments.

PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

1a. Provide the same means of use for all users: identical whenever possible; equivalent when not.
1b. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users.
1c. Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users.
1d. Make the design appealing to all users.

PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

2a. Provide choice in methods of use.
2b. Accommodate right- or left-handed access and use.
2c. Facilitate the user's accuracy and precision.
2d. Provide adaptability to the user's pace.

PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.

3a. Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
3b. Be consistent with user expectations and intuition.
3c. Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.
3d. Arrange information consistent with its importance.
3e. Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.

PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.

4a. Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
4b. Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
4c. Maximize "legibility" of essential information.
4d. Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (i.e., make it easy to give instructions or directions).
4e. Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

5a. Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated, isolated, or shielded.
5b. Provide warnings of hazards and errors.
5c. Provide fail safe features.
5d. Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.

PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.

6a. Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
6b. Use reasonable operating forces.
6c. Minimize repetitive actions.
6d. Minimize sustained physical effort.

PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility.

7a. Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
7b. Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
7c. Accommodate variations in hand and grip size.
7d. Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.

Please note that the Principles of Universal Design address only universally usable design, while the practice of design involves more than consideration for usability. Designers must also incorporate other considerations such as economic, engineering, cultural, gender, and environmental concerns in their design processes. These Principles offer designers guidance to better integrate features that meet the needs of as many users as possible.

Identification of allies in this field is important and get the private sector to support this concept too.

The issue of state subsidies on assistive devises should take into board, the needs for the severely disabled and the need for partnership between governments and industries towards a bareer free environment. But for the devices which are not specialized such as a normal wheelchairs could be mainstreamed and sold in shops as this will bring the price lower.

There is a need to train architectures and construction engineers on Universal Design and the special needs of PWDs. Caution is also made to not specialize it but tell it to everybody to understand diversity and promote a notion of access for all.


  1. Africa's performance in the area of disability be subjected to the African Peer review mechanism under NEPAD
  2. take an audit of what ARI has been doing in the area of PWDs and what can be done to make it more effective
  3. The churches through EDAN should intensify disability awareness and stimulate discussions on various ways of improving the education and skills development of persons with disabilities.
  4. Representation of PWDs at all levels of development especially at policy and implementation level in the AU and the regional blocs.
  5. Increase resources for poverty alleviation schemes among PWDs and to help mitigate PWDs against the effects of poverty.
  6. inclusion of disability dimension on PRSPs with special reference to youth with disabilities
  7. Monitor and influence the implementation of MDGs with special focus on PWDs.
  8. Mainstreaming of disability in HIV/AIDS and reproductive health programmes
  9. faith based organizations, development partners should be encouraged to support the creation of a network of researchers on disability issues for the purpose of critiquing development policies and programmes of WCC
  10. Support EDAN to compile a data base of church activities on disability for the purpose of advocacy and sharing
  11. Urge governments to keep current and upto date information on PWDs
  12. Urge academic institutions and research centres to include and be involved in PWDs' agenda.
  13. Urge development partners to establish policies that are friendly to disabled people and also to appoint disability advisors to help fast track disability mainstreaming and empower persons with disabilities.



Rev. Dr. Abraham Berinyuu led the morning devotions by reading John 10:7-10 which talks about the story of the thief. Jesus talks about a thief who comes to steal yet he comes to give us eternal life.

There are many at times when we encounter incidences or systems which come purpoting that they are the ‘saviour' yet only after embracing them, do we realize that their aim is not necessary to give us ‘abundant life.' The challenge is to know when doors are being opened for us to take a step of faith towards abundant life.

By Benny Phadime

The speaker started by emphasizing that the that for NEPAD to be operationalised, regional groupings such as SADC and EAC where various governments bring in their foreign affairs ministers, should be first and foremost sensitized on disability for them to be able to participate in the NEPAD peer reviews, lobby for the support of a United Nations Convention for Persons with Disabilities.

African Union needs to have a charter on the rights of persons with disabilities. NGO participation should be allowed in the AU parliament as most DPOs are registered as NGOs this will help them in lobbying and advocacy for more effective implementation of policies and laws.

Create a wider base of disability advocacy as they can serve in different capacities for effectiveness.

We must localize MDGs

By Litha Musyimi-Ogana, Advisor on Gender and Civil Society (CSOs)

The presenter started by highlighting what NEPAD is:

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is a VISION and STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR AFRICA's RENEWAL

The NEPAD strategic framework document arises from a mandate given to the five initiating Heads of State (Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa) by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to develop an integrated socio-economic development framework for Africa. The 37th Summit of the OAU in July 2001 formally adopted the strategic framework document.

NEPAD is designed to address the current challenges facing the African continent. Issues such as the escalating poverty levels, underdevelopment and the continued marginalization of Africa needed a new radical intervention, spearheaded by African leaders, to develop a new Vision that would guarantee Africa's Renewal.

a) To eradicate poverty;
b) To place African countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development;
c) To halt the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process and enhance its full and beneficial integration into the global economy;
d) To accelerate the empowerment of women

• Good governance as a basic requirement for peace, security and sustainable political and socio-economic development
• African ownership and leadership, as well as broad and deep participation by all sectors of society;
• Anchoring the development of Africa on its resources and resourcefulness of its people;
• Partnership between and amongst African peoples;
• Acceleration of regional and continental integration;
• Building the competitiveness of African countries and the continent;
• Forging a new international partnership that changes the unequal relationship between Africa and the developed world; and
• Ensuring that all Partnerships with NEPAD are linked to the Millennium Development Goals and other agreed development goals and targets.

The NEPAD Programme of Action is a holistic, comprehensive and integrated sustainable development initiative for the revival of Africa, guided by the aforementioned objectives, principles and strategic focus.

a. Establishing the Conditions for Sustainable Development by ensuring

• Peace and security;
• Democracy and good, political, economic and corporate governance;
• Regional co-operation and integration;
• Capacity building.

b. Policy reforms and increased investment in the following priority sectors-

• Agriculture;
• Human development with a focus on health, education, science and technology and skills development;
• Building and improving infrastructure, including Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Energy, Transport, Water and Sanitation;
• Promoting diversification of production and exports, particularly with respect to agro-industries, manufacturing, mining, mineral beneficiation and tourism;
• Accelerating intra-African trade and improving access to markets of developed countries;
• The environment.

c. Mobilizing Resources by -

• Increasing domestic savings and investments;
• Improving management of public revenue and expenditure;
• Improving Africa's share in global trade;
• Attracting foreign direct investment; and
• Increasing capital flows through further debt reduction and increase ODA flows.

• Africa becomes more effective in conflict prevention and the establishment of enduring peace on the continent;
• Africa adopts and implements principles of democracy and good political economic and corporate governance, and the protection of human rights becomes further entrenched in every African country;
• Africa develops and implements effective poverty eradication programmes and accelerates the pace of achieving set African development goals, particularly human development;
• Africa achieves increased levels of domestic savings, as well as investments, both domestic and foreign;
• Increased levels of ODA to the continent are achieved and its effective utilization maximized;
• Africa achieves desired capacity for policy development, coordination and negotiation in the international arena, to ensure its beneficial engagement in the global economy, especially on trade and market access issues
• Regional integration is further accelerated and higher levels of sustainable economic growth in Africa is achieved;
• Genuine partnerships are established between Africa and the developed countries based on mutual respect and accountability.

• Operationalising the African Peer Review Mechanism
• Facilitating and supporting implementation of the short-term regional infrastructure programmes covering Transport Energy, ICT, Water and Sanitation.
• Facilitating implementation of the food security and agricultural development program in all sub-regions
• Facilitating the preparation of a coordinated African position on Market Access, debt relief and ODA reforms
• Monitoring and intervening as appropriate to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals in the areas of health and education are met.

NEPAD is a programme of the African Union designed to meet its development objectives. The highest authority of the NEPAD implementation process is the Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union, formerly known as the OAU.

The Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSIC) comprises 3 states per AU region as mandated by the OAU Summit of July 2001 and ratified by the AU Summit of July 2002. The HSIC reports to the AU Summit on an annual basis.

The Steering Committee of NEPAD comprises the Personal Representatives of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government. This Committee oversees projects and programme development.

The NEPAD Secretariat coordinates implementation of projects and programmes approved by the HSIC.

The speaker then dwelt on what in NEPAD is understood by CSOs:

  • registered Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Community based organizations
  • Trade Unions
  • Professional/academics organizations
  • Legitimate networks
  • Faith based organizations
  • Legitimate groups representing the youth groups, people living with disabilities and marginalized persons
  • Supportive social movements

The NEPAD CSO engagements started immediately the NEPAD foundation was officially released and can be describes as extremely healthy, challenging, thought provoking and to some extent academic.

The NEPAD/CSO Maputo meeting ushered in a new chapter in the engagement of CSO and NEPAD Secretariat. At the end of that consultation the following challenges were identified at the sub-regional level

  • managing the participation of CSOs at sub-regional level, coordination of understanding nature, operations and role of different regional economic regimes
  • CSO participation in communication and advocacy on NEPAD and the need to build CSO capacity to understand the NEPAD process itself, support and participate in its implementation.
  • The nature, operations and role of different Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and mechanism of engaging with them at the sub-regional level.
  • Strengthening the understanding of integration process of different sub-regional economic regimes and how they can deliver a Visa free Africa
  • Setting up of sub-regional mechanism for the coordination of CSO/NEPAD
  • Popularizing NEPAD and improving relationships between CSOs, governments and the private sector
  • Capacity development within CSOs to effectively participate in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of NEPAD.
  • Processing and stepping down knowledge on new ideas rolling out of the NEPAD Secretariat action plans such as Peer Review Mechanisms to national level.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Mechanism for continuous consultations between NEPAD and CSOs at all levels.

In the post Maputo Summit the NEPAD Secretariat taken major steps in

  • Streamlining its engagement with CSOs eg practicing an open door policy
  • Putting an institutional mechanism in place within NEPAD organizational structure
  • Ensuring a systematic and programmatic response to the challenges at hand such as engendering the APRM reviewed guidelines and the SADC basic education strategy.

So far the NEPAD Secretariat has:

  • Created the office of a CSO and Gender Advisor at the Secretariat
  • Resourced for this unit
  • Is now in the process of operationalising the CSO and Gender unit
  • The Unit has already developed a one year work plan.

The mandate of CSO and Gender Unit will be twin fold:

  • On the gender side it will gender mainstream all new documents rolling out of the NEPAD secretariat and the implementation process through working with the gender workforce.
  • On the CSO side it will coordinate, mobilize and enlist effective participation and involvement of CSO in the implementation of the NEPAD, within the context of ongoing ECOSOC consultations which NEPAD has been participating in.

Activities that have already been prioritized for the first one year include:

  • Operationalizing the CSO and Gender Unit at the NEPAD Secretariat
  • Providing on-going gender expertise at the NEPAD Secretariat
  • Development of a Gender policy for NEPAD Secretariat
  • Development of a gender and CSO strategy for NEPAD Secretariat.
  • Identifying, inventorizing and creating a CSO database
  • Identifying key CSO stakeholders with thematic expertise in priority sectors in NEPAD
  • Operationalize thematic NEPAD/CSO focal points at sub-regional level.

See full text of Litha Musyimi-Ogana's paper

Responses :
Since the implementation of NEPAD, show that many agreements have been signed.

Representation of PWDs in the different structures of NEPAD to have an internal influence

Through ministries of Foreign affairs or heads of states only can disability be included within NEPAD and through to the AU parliament. Lobbying in the various countries therefore is very crucial to ensure that NEPAD brings people with disabilities as a distinct group as is the case with women who have now been given a Gender Commission.

NEPAD through the CSO is aiming at bringing together the underrepresented groups on board such as the youth, women and disabled people.



Twenty two (22) participants from 11 African countries and the Caribbean gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2 to 6 November 2004 at a consultation on Disability and Globalization jointly organized by the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) and the Economic Justice program of the Justice, Peace and Creation Team of the World Council of Churches. By way of paper presentations, plenary and group discussions participants deliberated on how to mitigate the negative impact of Economic Globalization on the PWDs. Participants present the Johannesburg Declaration to the All Africa Conference of Churches, EDAN, the WCC, the African Union and the United Nations.

Recognizing the fundamental values and principles of the African Union and the United Nations Charters that all human beings are equal in rights and dignity and equally entitled to civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights;

Observing the limitations of Economic Globalization and its negative impact on People with Disabilities (PWDs) especially on women and youth and the obstacles it creates to full and effective participation of PWDs resulting in persistent poverty, social exclusion and marginalization which impede the exercise of fundamental rights;

Noting that Structural Adjustment Programs and concomitant cuts in social spending particularly on education, rehabilitation and health in various countries have had most severe effects on PWDs to the extent of limiting opportunities for employment, exacerbated by structural, environmental and attitudinal factors;

Bearing in mind that the lowering of legislative control on social and Environmental Standards Impact on PWDs, further noting that the NEPAD and the Millennium Development Goals are uncharacteristically silent on the plight and concerns of PWDs and further considering the increased disadvantage to PWD of persisting conflicts and wars and;

Recognizing the global revolution in Information Technology and the many opportunities for PWDs in networking, capacity building, solidarity, employment and independent living though possessing the potential to marginalize the poor especially PWDs, in particular women, youth and intellectually challenged. Noting that the digital divide including inaccessibility to infrastructure of ICT, Internet and the ICT skills is acute for PWDs and that the multi media environment creates barriers for PWDs.


Reaffirms its commitment to engage churches in the process of awareness building and sensitization on the issue of disability and further commits itself to

  • Initiating inter-faith dialogue on disability issues
  • Establish closer working relationships with Disabled Peoples Organizations at national and international levels to enhance opportunities for capacity building support and sharing.
  • Collaborate with academic institutions and research organizations in the promotion of research studies into disability issues.
  • Approach transnational ICT corporations and their foundations with a view to soliciting support for ICT initiatives for Persons with Disabilities.
  • Establishing a data base for the coordination and dissemination of qualitative and quantitative data on persons with disabilities and their competences, research issues, statistics and model projects,
  • Explore links with the Secretariat of African Decade for Persons with Disability.
  • Continue monitoring and support of the process towards the promulgation of the UN Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights and Dignity of People with Disabilities worldwide.

We urge,


  • To impress its member churches to offer scholarships for PWDs for higher education, restructure their traditional institutions for PWDs to include innovative empowering programs for PWDs, such as organizational development of PWDs and Advocating Skills.
  • To urge its churches to include PWDs in all decision-making levels of churches and related agencies.
  • To call upon its member churches to put pressure on their governments to support the process towards the UN Convention on disability.
  • To continue its efforts towards identifying alternative approaches to current trends in economic globalization, which reflect an appreciation for the dignity and rights of all human beings including persons with disabilities (AGAPE) and to urgently seek mechanisms for their implementation.
  • To commend to its member churches the strides achieved in the AGAPE dialogue since its 8th Assembly and maintain the focus on globalization issues through its 9th Assembly and beyond
  • To impress upon its member churches to encourage governments to devise programs to mitigate the negative effects of economic globalization on PWDs.
  • To support EDAN in the establishment of teams of experts and researchers to audit major policy formulations to ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed.
  • To encourage the multilateral funding organizations including IFIs and development partners to include PWDs especially women and youth in poverty reductions strategy programs.
  • To include disability issues in its on going dialogues with development partners.
  • To encourage development agencies and multilateral development organizations to include disability issues in all policies and establish desks for persons with disabilities in their organizations.
  • To urge that disability issues be mainstreamed in all HIV\AIDS programs.
  • To urge governments to keep accurate census and survey data and devise disability friendly methodologies of gathering data on PWDs.

And urge,


  • Through its dialogue with the African Union to encourage it to create an African Charter on disability and mechanisms for implementation and monitoring of related policies.
  • Revise and resource African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI) to effectively and efficiently address disability issues.
  • Encourage member countries to incorporate the principle of universal design to facilitate accessibility for all persons with disability.
  • Ensure that enabling policy and legislation become part of the demand for good governance in APRM under NEPAD.
  • Persuade member countries to adopt the principles of international cooperation in development of the UN Convention.

Participants expressed the hope that these recommendations would find resonance in all the channels in which this declaration is communicated and that its recipients would act urgently to safeguards the rights of disabled persons with disabilities the world over who for too long have suffered the disadvantages of the disabling social environment in which they find themselves.



1. Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowans
Knox College
P.O. Box 1735 Spalding
Tel: 987 8015
Home: 987 8080
Phone/fax 987 8045
Email: gcowans (at) or knoxc (at)

2. Rev. Dr. Abraham Adu Berinyuu
Centre for Peace & Sustainable Democratic Culture
P.O. Box 1276 Tamale
Telefax: 233-71-23567
Mobile: 233-24-310 3097
Email: menvolima (at)

3. Mrs. Razaka-Manantenasoa Ralphine
Lot VA 58 Andafiavaratra
Haute Ville 101 Antananarivo
Tel: 261 20 22 344 58
Email: ralphiner (at) or

4. Mr. Kassahun Yebiltal
Ethiopian National Association of the Blind
P.O. Box 30057
Addis Ababa
Tel: 251 1 23 7648 or 251 9 665063
Email: kyibeltal (at)

5. Mrs Catherine Mwandha
P O Box 6504
Tel: + 256 77 492120

6. Dr Rogate R Mshana
Programme Executive Economic Justice
World Council of Churches
150 Route de Ferney
P O Box 2100
CH- 1211 Geneva 2
Tel: +41 22 791 6031
Fax:+41 22 791 6409

7. Mr. Aadama Diakite
BP E 2206 Bamako
Tel: 223 672 1560
Fax: 223 221 3822
Email: diakitefama (at)

8. Hon. James Mwandha
Member of Parliament (PWDS)
P.O. Box 6504 Kampala
Tel: 256 41 345893
Fax: 256 41 259250
Mobile: 256 77 220045 or 256 71 320045
Email: jmwandha (at)

9. Mr. Phitalis Were Masakhwe
Project Manager
Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR)
P.O. Box 30125 Nairobi
Tel: 254 20 602187
Fax: 254 20 606340
Mobile: 07 2089 1777 /07 34 933275
Email: phitalisw (at) or mphitalis (at)

10. Ms. Sebenzile Matsebula
Office on the Satus of Disabled Persons
Union Buildings
Private Bag X1000
Pretoria 0001
Tel: 27 12 300 5480/1
Fax: 27 12 300 5774
Email: sebenzile (at)

11. Mr. Samuel Kabue
P.O. Box 22
00300, Nairobi
Tel: 254 20 4445837
Fax: 254 20 4445835
Email: skabue (at)

12. Ms Anjeline Okola Charles
P.O. Box 22
00300, Nairobi
Tel: 254 20 4445837
Fax: 254 20 4445835
Email: aokola (at)

13. Dr. Elly Macha
House number 345, Kilongawinma
P.O. Box 8801
Tel: 255-22-2647812
Mobile: 255-744-892174
Email: emacha2000 (at)

14. Ms. Lupi Mwaisaka Maswanya
Tanzania Association of the Deaf
P.O Box 21591
Dar es Salaam
Telfax: 255-22-2856829
Mobile: 255-741-403623
Email: mmlupi2002 (at)

15. Mr. Thomas Elias Shayo
Tanzania Association of the Deaf
P.O Box 21591
Dar es Salaam
Telfax: 255-22-2856829

16. Roswetter Alice Mudarikwa
Zimbabwe Association of the Visually Handicapped
Stand Number 1 Hellet Street
Tel: 263-39-63931
Fax: 263-39-64484
Mobile: 263-11-762163
Email: munatsialice (at)

17. Tendai Chikuku
Ecumenical Documentation and Information Centre in Southern Africa (EDICISA)
32 Winson Rd. South, Hatfield
P.O. Box H94, Hatfield
Tel: 263-(0)4-570311,570312
Fax: 263-(0)4-572979
Email: edicisa (at)

18. Mrs. Grace S. Ramatsui
Botswana Christian Council
P.O. Box 355
Tel: 351981/2
Telfax: 3951981
Email: motswedirehab (at)

19. Mr. Seeisa Mokitimi
Poverty Eradication Officer
Christian Council of Lesotho
P.O. Box 547
Maseru - 100
Tel: 09266 22 323 639
Fax:09266 22 310 310
Email: ccl (at)

20. Mzolisi Ka Tono
Disabled People South Africa
No. 705 7th Floor Dumbacton House
1 Church Street
Cape Town
P O Box 3467
Cape Town
Email: mzolisi (at)

21. Ms Matshidiso Elda Seboni
P O Box 79128
Rethabile 0112
Email: sebonim (at)



  • Globalization and disability: Lowering legislative controls on social and environmental standards and impacts on persons with disabilities
    by Hon. James Mwandha (MP), Parliament of Uganda
  • Discussion paper: Persons with disabilities and globalization - the case of youth with disabilities
    by Phitalis Were Masakhwe, project manager, Disability and Rehabilitation, AMREF, Kenya
  • Disability and economic globalization: an oversight of disability in the Millenium Development Goals
    by Dr Elly Macha, Tanzania
  • Motswedi Rehabilitation Centre
    by Grace S. Ramatsui, Botswana Council of Churches
  • Disability and globalization: NEPAD
    by Litha Musyimi-Ogana, adviser, gender and civil society organizations (CSOs) NEPAD