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close this bookSustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment (ADF, 1995, 117 p.)
close this folderSection I: Understanding and perception
close this folderChapter 1: Introduction
View the documentObjectives of this guide
View the documentWho may use the guide
View the documentLanguage and liberation
View the documentDebate and discussion must continue

Who may use the guide

There are several categories of possible readership. As indicated earlier, this book is not strictly a "manual," and yet, there is information, especially on matters related to building economic self-reliance (Section II of the book), that can be useful to the Persons With Disabilities engaged in income generating projects. Wherever relevant, each chapter, therefore, ends with 'Action Guidelines" for Persons with Disability.

However, the book is aimed at a broader audience. The main argument of the book supports a strategy of self-empowerment of the PWDs. But the PWDs cannot advance this strategy without allies and a support base in the families and communities in which they live. Hence, community leaders may also find the book a useful source of information and principles by which to guide their action.

A third category of readership includes the professionals engaged in disability rehabilitation work. The contribution of professionals is recognised, but in general, the guide takes a critical view on isolating professional work from the overall social context, and advocates an approach to their work that is empowering of the PWDs rather than one that disempowers them.

A fourth category of readership may be found within those departments of Government that deal With PWDs. They may be spread among different Ministries of Government, both at the Central and Local levels. Hence, where relevant, the chapters end with "Action Guidelines" which they might find useful. A fifth category of readers are the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) engaged in their various functional interaction with PWDs.

The sixth category of readers who might find the guide useful are organisations within the UN system (such as the ILO, WHO, UNICEF and UNDP) and inter-governmental organisations such as the OAU. And the seventh category of readers who would find some sections of the guide useful (e.g. those dealing with advocacy and networking) are the international NGOs representing or relating with PWDs, such as the Disabled Peoples' International, Rehabilitation International, the World Blind Union and the World Federation of the Deaf

With such a broad audience, obviously not everything in the book is of relevance to everybody. In other words, the book can be read in parts. However, for a certain kind of readership it may be useful to read through the entire document because there is a certain sequential logic that connects chapter one through chapter ten. There is an argument built as the chapters unfold. Indeed, readers must be warned that they might find certain positions in the book controversial, even argumentative. This is deliberate. It is to foster debate. There is no human progress without debate. Past knowledge must be challenged by new ideas, new ways of looking at reality, new visions.

This, and the fact that the guide tries to provide for a broad readership, has inevitably affected the language and "tone" of the book. Clearly, the document could not linguistically be reduced to a "minimum common denominator" to the level of the most marginalised among the PWDs. The Entebbe Workshop participants came from varied backgrounds, but as Nelson Isiko was to point out, the very poor were not there. The language of discourse was, at times, conceptually very high. This guide has tried to simplify some of these concepts, but it has retained the conceptual richness of the discussion. Concepts are important tools for debate, and the PWDs would find some of the language used in the book a useful means of dialogue when discussing matters of concern to them with those who make and administer government and inter-governmental policies.