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close this bookSustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)
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View the documentForeword
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Open this folder and view contentsSection I: Understanding and perception
Open this folder and view contentsSection II: Building economic self-reliance
Open this folder and view contentsSection III: Lobbying, networking and building alliances
Open this folder and view contentsNotes and references


This publication is the result of discussions held at a workshop in Entebbe, Uganda in August 1994. The meeting brought together persons with disabilities from fifteen African countries that had either been funded by the African Development Foundation or were sponsored by the International Labour Office. Participants represented both the grassroots community groups and intermediary non-governmental organizations involved in a variety of development projects.

These included among others, people involved in horticulture, tailoring, furniture making, book binding, leadership and vocational training. Other organizations focusing on the re-integration of former psychiatric patients into the community through appropriate agricultural training were also in attendance. The focus of the week long meeting was on issues and strategies for sustainable development that these groups of persons with disabilities are experiencing as they try to enter the mainstream economy through self-help, income generation activities. The intent of the meeting was also to promote and encourage the transitional process of persons with disabilities moving from a charity to an empowerment mode, being visible and vocal actors in the development of their communities and country.

With participants coming from various corners of Africa, many leaving home for the first time, communication as well as accessibility issues for those in wheelchairs or with crutches were the main challenges to be overcome. Aside from simultaneous translation into French, English, Congolese and Zambian sign language throughout the week, participants were encouraged to use their first language if they felt more comfortable doing so. Braillers were also available. Some 25 different African languages were represented amongst the participants. You Will see as you read this publication, that these potential logistical obstacles did not dampen the energy and enthusiasm of the participants.

The intent of this publication goes far beyond the usual set of proceedings from a workshop/conference. It is intended not only to capture the essence of the deliberations that took place amongst persons with disabilities themselves, but also to serve as a guide to a variety of audiences within the development community. It is hoped that it will influence decision-making and policy-setting for those who are currently involved in the disability field or, for those who have not yet taken that first step, to consider and include persons with disabilities in their development planning.

Christine S. Fowles
Director of Programs and Field Operations
East, Central and Southern Africa
African Development Foundation