Giving Voice to the Voiceless

Giving Voice to People with Disabilities in Tanzania

Project Description

The project region is characterised by poverty and the prevalence of witchcraft and superstition. Disabilities are still seen as “a curse from the Gods, or misfortune” and disabled or handicapped people (and their families) are often discriminated, marginalised and excluded from social community life and services, such as clean water and medical facilities. The project therefore aimed at addressing the problem of stigmatisation and social exclusion, especially of children with (physical) disabilities, through mass education and awareness raising in eight districts of the Kagera region, via radio. The main outcome the project was to achieve “behaviour/attitude change, a conducive policy framework towards disability, and increased community support towards people with disabilities”.

Through the programming on Albinism and disabilities the problem of female genital tract fistulae was discovered as an unintended side effect. FADECO took over the issue (FADECO staff accompanies patients to Bukoba from where they can take a bus to Dar-es-Salaam) and in cooperation with the CCBRT between April and June 2012, fifty women could be treated in Dar es Salaam. So far, over 120 women benefitted from the support and it is planned that the cooperation with CCBRT continues. Furthermore, it is planned to expand the project to other districts in the region. Besides women with fistula, persons with cleft lips, goitre, sight problems and artificial limbs were assisted.

For the first time various stakeholders were brought together (in 2013) and organised jointly the World Day for people with sight disabilities (White Cane Day) and the International Day of People with Disability on 3rd December 2013. In cooperation with CCBRT, FADECO marked (for the first time in Tanzania) the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

Furthermore, there are some achievements to which FADECO Radio might have contributed:

  • The police have been active in providing education on traffic rules and roads safety (road signs for people with disabilities), while local governments are slowly starting to introduce building policies which take into consideration needs of people with disabilities.
  • All local governments in Kagera region have appointed coordination offices for people with disabilities and also set aside budgets to support activities of people with disabilities.
  • The Department for Community development provided small grants to associations of people with disabilities for economic and income generating activities.
  • FADECO Radio has worked with local artists (musicians, poets) to produce music (songs, poems) highlighting rights and the freedom of people with disability which are broadcast on the local media.
  • At least three person with disabilities have been trained to package content and produce radio programmes themselves.

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