Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has called on developers, designers and other persons involved in the construction industry to help create accessible environment for all.
She said the Ghana Standards Accessibility Designs document launched recently by the Gender Ministry through the National Council for Persons with Disability Unit provide guidelines for the development of necessary facilities and services that would make public spaces very accessible to persons with disabilities.
She therefore, urged all stakeholders to get involved in providing free movement of spaces for all such persons.
Speaking at a forum on “Ensuring inclusive Governance in Ghana”, organised by Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in Accra on Wednesday, Ms Djaba said government was also committed to implementing a National Social Protection Policy aim to deliver a well-coordinated intersectorial social protection system to enable people to live dignified lives.
She said the Policy would seek to promote the wellbeing of Ghanaians through an integrated platform of effective social assistance, social and protective inclusion, social insurance and financial access to social services.
“It aspires to mitigate and reduce vulnerabilities for and in all, close the inequality gap and ensure total inclusion for all Ghanaians” Ms Djaba said.
The MFWA in partnership with Abantu for Development and the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations organised the forum that provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss the crucial nature of inclusive governance.
The forum was also to aid the newly elected government on how to demonstrate commitment to creating an enabling governance environment that was responsive to the needs and interests of the most disadvantaged and marginalized as well as willing to provide remedies to these groups’ challenges.
Ms Djaba said the forum was an important platform that had engaged key stakeholders on the responsibility of government in meeting
the needs of the people. She said the new government was committed to continue to implement and expand the various social intervention programmes including Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), school feeding programme, and capitation grant to alleviate the sufferings of the marginalised in society.
“Together we can create a more inclusive society where we focus on ability and not disability to create equal opportunities for all persons.A society, where the rights and welfare of all vulnerable persons especially women and children are respected. This is the vision of the government and we will work hard to achieve it”, Ms Djaba said.
Ms Abigail Larbi, Representative of the MFWA said the Foundation recognised that inclusive, accountable, and democratic governance was critical for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies that respond to the needs of all people by securing their equal participation and engagement in national processes.
She said the failure to promote inclusiveness in governance could give rise to destructive tendencies that could affect the stimulation of real development.
She stated that the issues raised at the forum would be captured in a document to be presented to policy makers and government.
Ms Susan Aryeetey, a Member of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) said it was important to create a free society where women would be given all opportunities to explore their potentials and contribute their quota to national development.
She explained that their participation in decision making in Ghana was still low, making it difficult for them to be appointed into critical political offices.
She called for a just and free society where women could get maximum participation.
Mr Alexander William, a member of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisation said a 2011 World Bank report showed that about 15 per cent of Ghana’s population were people with disability and yet their representation in decision making was very minimal.
He called on stakeholders to make information on disabled accessible for decision makers to include them.
Ms Joyce Larnyoh, the Executive Director of International Child Development Programme said the youth were crucial partners in development and should be given the support, attention and mentorship to contribute to national development.