|Sustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)|
|Section II: Building economic self-reliance|
|Chapter 6: Income generating project planning|
A. For Persons with Disability
· Planning, we must repeat, is a necessary first step to any project. This cannot be overemphasised.
· It is not such a difficult exercise as it appears. Sometimes, scared with the prospect of planning, some people rush into a project hoping to solve problems as they appear. That is very dangerous. We must never rush into projects - even if we are tempted with donor funding.
· PWDs may consult "experts" if necessary. But they must not let experts run their lives, make decisions for them.
· PWDs must first carry out a proper "market study' of the product or service they want to make or market. Make a list of all the necessary information they would need, and then systematically carry out research to find answers to those questions. Again, they may use an "expert" if really necessary.
· A lot of information is "public". It is easily accessible, especially in big towns and cities. In villages, information can be obtained by asking questions around to the likely users of the product or service the PWDs hope to market.
· If they are satisfied there is a market, the next step is to carry out a feasibility, practicality study of the project. Again, they must make a list of all the items that should go into production and/or sale of the product or service and do research on them. They may seek outside help if necessary.
· They must decide on their options. Is it going to be a large project or small one? Is it going to be labour-intensive or capital-intensive? What are the costs involved, and what kind of finances would be needed? etc. etc.
· If a work place or a building is necessary, is it disability-friendly, both geographically and architecturally?
· Finally, how are the PWDs going to benefit in terms of service, employment and dividends?
B. For IGOs and NGOs working with PWDs
· Donors are sometimes responsible for forcing decisions. They need to spend the money before the financial year is out. That is highly irresponsible.
· They must insist on a market and a feasibility study before giving out money. If necessary, they must finance such studies before the project is launched.
· Planning, however, must be participatory. The donors, or the experts they hire, must not make decisions for the PWDs.
· It is better to give loans for the projects rather than outright grants.
· Similarly, it is better to provide facilities for training the project holders rather than "technical assistance."
· Don't abandon the projects once they are financed; keep monitoring their progress.
Some Areas for Further Discussion
Why is planning a "concrete" exercise? Why not make planning rules that apply to all situations?
Planning for an individual project would obviously be different from planning for a co-operative. In what ways?
In what kinds of situations would there be a need to seek the help
of "professionals" or