|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|
· In any project, the human relationships are often more important than the technical and managerial issues, such as, for example, those dealing with:
· the question of power, or
· the process of decision-making.
· One question that always comes up is the involvement of women in decision-making and sharing out of the profits. Often a project is begun by women (e.g. a water project for domestic use) and ends up being in control of men (who might want to use the water to irrigate their farm).
· At the community level, people tend to elect "prominent" leaders to the management (executive) committees - people who are rich or "politically influential," those who speak English, and those who "know." This is a process by which people dis-empower themselves.
· The disabled people (and this applies generally to all marginalised people) often disempower themselves through lack of self-confidence. Sometimes development "experts" undermine their self-confidence. People allow themselves to be spoon-fed, and let outsiders decide things for them.
· Often projects initiated by PWDs end up being controlled by service organisations or professionals, especially where complicated technical inputs and production processes are involved. People cease to regard such projects as "theirs," and refer to them as "donors' projects." They contribute labour to the project, and may even benefit from them, but they are not in control of them.
· Often human rights issues are separated from issues of development. "Business is business," people say, "you cannot mix politics with it." They forget, however, that development itself is a human right. PWDs based in rural areas should involve human rights activists to fight for the repossession of their lands, and to secure their title deeds, and they should also get help on issues of land development, housing, schooling, clinics, etc.
· Often the elite among the PWDs dominate the projects and overwhelm the more disadvantaged among them.