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The World Health Organization approximates that about 40%, or approximately 300 million of Africa’s population consists of people with disabilities. Disability is caused by many factors, including; environmental hazards, traffic and industrial accidents, malnutrition and disease and civil conflict and war.
The vast majority of Africans with disabilities are excluded from schools and opportunities for work, and as many as 70-80% of working age people with disabilities are unemployed. The social stigma associated with having a disability results in marginalization and isolation.
Cameroon: Mr. Gabriel Ondoua Abah
Ethiopia: Mrs. Berhane Daba
Ghana: Mr. Anim Grnat
Kenya: Mr. Peter Bodo Ong’ao
Nigeria: Mr. Ewelike Vitalisnewton
Uganda: Mr. Aniyamuzaala James Rwampigi
Zambia: Mr. Cretus Kapato
Liberia: Mr. Sahr Yillia
South Africa: Ms. Colette Fransolet
Gabriel is the Executive Director of the National Union of Association and Institutions of disabled People of Cameroon ( UNAPHAC ) and the National President of Association of Physically Handicapped People of Cameroon ( AHMAC ). He published a “White Paper” on “THE CONDITION OF DISABLED PERSONS IN CAMEROON.” I was an Appointed Expert by the United Nation for the problems of the People with Disabilities by the United Nations Secretary General in 1990, and Appointed by the United Nations to a committee of leaders in charge of the Coordination and the evaluation of National Committees in charge of the disabled problems.
Berhane has a BA Degree in Information and Communication Technology from Admas University College in Ethiopia. She is one of the founding members of Ethiopian Women with Disability National Association and is the current President of the Association. The Vision of the association is to bring about justice to society to ensure women with disabilities have equal rights and opportunities to full social, political, and economic participation as citizens of Ethiopia. Berhane is also a Board member of Cheshire Foundation Ethiopia and is an African Decade steering committee member.
Mr. Grnat has his Professional Certificate in Building and Civil Engineering from the Institute of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) and Construction Technician Certificate Part I and II(CTCII) of City and Guilds of London(England) Institute. Anim is the Africa Director for the International Vocational Development, Skill Development for Disability Unit under the International Abilympic Federation. He is the Managing Director of Buildex Professional Services Limited (BPSL).BPSL is Building and Civil Engineering Company that has successfully and satisfactory constructed, rehabilitated, renovated with other on-going many government and private, building and civil engineering projects.
Peter has experience in the disability field and human rights at large. He has taken the time to introduce GAATES to key line Government Ministries, major persons with disabilities organizations, other organizations, stakeholders and international links/organizations addressing accessibility and/or disability issues. He is currently working and conducting accessibility audits of hotels, educational institutions and other public utilities in Kisumu City despite a lot of mobility challenges. He has also found that persons with vision and hearing disabilities in Kenya have very limited access to information.
Ewelike has trained as a Journalist and Educator. More recently, he has become active in accessibility and disability, having delivered projects and partnered with people living with disabilities and people affected by disabilities. His focus is on accessibility of ICTs and he has been working on projects related to ensuring ICT access and use for economic and social empowerment, building synergies through Connect a School, Connect a Community, and working on the implementation of the CRPD.
Alpha Boubacar DIOP is a Professor and the Former Director of the National school of the Deaf persons of Guinea. He has carried out several training courses, trips studies and has taken part in many national, regional and international meetings on disability in particular at the Gallaudet University of the Deaf Persons of Washington DC (USA) where he carried out several trainings specialized in education of the Deaf people and in leadership. Since 1998, he has been working at the Ministry of Social Affairs in the Republic of Guinea where he acts as technical adviser for questions on persons with disabilities.
James is a Human Rights Activist, and a person with a disability, who advocates for accessible technologies most especially for Deaf and hard of hearing people in Uganda and world over. He participated in developing the report of the Government of Uganda initial report on the progress of implementation of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This report identifies gaps in accessibility and most especially identifies the lack of accessible assistive technologies in Uganda.
Cretus is a very active wheelchair user and his disability in itself has not been an impediment to his aspirations of working towards an inclusive society of social, economic, political and cultural rights for persons with disabilities.
The National Vocational Rehabilitation Centre, an institution for which he has worked for many years in providing vocational skills to students with varying disabilities, has presented fertile ground for research and addressing students on issues of accessibility and disability laws.
Sahr is a Disability Rights activist with 14 years working experiences in the field of inclusive developments for persons with disabilities. He has participated in several policy reforms and developments processes national and international including the CRPD, CBR, MDGs, etc. Sahr is a founder of the Center for Inclusive Technology and Empowerments (CITE) Liberia and the Youth Partnership for Peace and Development (YPPD) Liberia which all campaign for accessible and inclusive environments for persons with disabilities in all sectors of development.This include campaigns for ratification of the CRPD by the Liberian government, pilot research on accessibility in learning institutions, public places and computer training with adaptive Technologies in Liberia. Sahr was recently selected among 10 Activists globally for a Fellowship program at the York University in the UK in recognition of his contributions towards inclusive developments for persons with disabilities in Liberia.
Colette is an Industrial Design Btech graduate from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), after which she managed the design and production process for an NGO who created business opportunities for people with disabilities in Cape Town. In 2009 she left the NGO sector to freelance in the field of Universal Design. In the subsequent years, her work in Universal Design for IDC Consultants and subsequently UD Africa, started as on a consulting basis but is since 2012 her full profession. Her work and projects includes reviews on all 10 Gautrain Stations, stadium seating counts for the 2010 World Cup, training and training auditing for the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, training facilitation and reporting for the EThekwini Transport Authority, as well as Universal Access reviews and research for the proposed Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network in eThekwini, Ekurhuleni, George Municipality and the City of Johannesburg. Colette has completed her Master’s Degree in Universal Design and the application thereof in the low-cost housing sector.
In order to make an inclusive society a reality, it is necessary to identify and remove barriers to access.