The Gambia National Paralympic Committee
Wheelchair Production and Repair workshop
Project report January 2014
Assembling and repairing
After the supplying of wheelchairs to the basketball team and tennis. A disabled girl benefited in the Training of Wheelchair Tennis Session conducted in one of the region first time in her life
Lower River Region (LRR)
Mobility challenges face by disabled in One of the sustainable Build chairs in the Gambia
The Gambia is located in West Africa, and has a surface area of 10,690 Square kilometers. If forms a narrow enclave into the Republic of Senegal, with the Atlantic Ocean forming its Western Boundary. The country is divided into 5 Administrative Regions: (West Coast Region, Lower River Region, North Bank Region, Central River Region and Upper River Region) and 2 Municipalities: (Banjul and Kanifing.)
The Gambia’s population is 1.9 million (2013 population and housing census preliminary report), of which 50.5% were female and 49.5% male. The population growth rate is 2.74%, with a crude birth rate of 46/1000 population and a total fertility rate of 5.4 births per woman. Nearly 44% of the population is below 15years and 19% is between the ages of 15 -24. The youth fullness of the population (63% below 24 years) has profound implications for the nature of health, disability and other services to be provided. Average life expectancy at birth is 64 years overall. The Gambia is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with 135 persons per square kilometer, 26% of who lives in urban areas.
The Gambia is a small Least Developed Country that is a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of US$320 (2005). Although 80% of the total population is involved in the agricultural sector, services are the biggest contributor to the GDP, at 60%. Whilst the Gambia’s ranking on the UNDP’s Human Development Index improved to 165 out of 186 countries (2013 estimate), the 2003 national household survey estimated that 61.2% of the population is classified as “poor”. This high poverty rate implies a high level of disease vulnerability and disability on the population and has some other serious implications.
DISABILITY IN THE GAMBIA
The national prevalence rate of disability in The Gambia according to 2003 population housing census is 2.4 Per cent compared to 1.6 Per cent of the 1998 National Disability Survey. The prevalence rate of disability is important to guide, inform the planning processes and interventions addressing the needs of Persons with Disabilities including sports and recreation.
Disability is relatively more prevalent in the rural than urban areas at the rates of 3.0 Per cent and 2.6 Per cent respectively. Of the disability population 53.5 Per cent are rural based whilst 46.5 Per cent are in urban areas.
Disability prevalence rates for age – groups seem to have direct relationship with current population trends. The disability prevalence rate increases as age increases.
Of the reported disabilities, Seeing, Physical and Hearing in all, formed 75 Per cent of disabilities, making up 37.5 Per cent, 21.6 Per cent and 15.4 Per cent of disabilities respectively. This is followed by Speaking and Behavioral problems of 0.2 Per cent each, whilst Fits and Learning Difficulty registered 0.1 Per cent each. The other categories of disabilities showed 0.3 Per cent prevalence rate amongst the lot.
Person with Disabilities in developing countries are highly represented among the poorest people. They have been largely overlooked in the development agenda, but the recent focus on poverty reduction strategies is a unique chance to rethink and rewrite that agenda. The Gambia in particular has begun to emphasize and recommended poverty reduction as a key strategy in policies and services on disability through Vision 2020, the MDGs-based PRSP II and the recently-launched Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) components recommended poverty reduction as a key strategy in policies and services.
Persons with Disabilities are likely to become poorer because impairment or disability places heavy demand on limited resources and reduces access to opportunities for health, education and livelihood skills.
Notwithstanding the difficult terrain that PWDs issues had to traverse, some significant milestones have been registered. The country has just ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The challenge now is its domestication in ensuring its incorporation into national policies, legal instruments and development agenda.
In addition to that, section 31 of the Constitution of The Gambia as the basic law of the country has adequately provided for Persons with Disabilities.
Other sector policies, legal instruments, strategies and program have to some extent catered for concerns and needs of the disabled although the major challenge has to be with implementation.
The Gambia has enjoyed relative peace and stability since independence in 1965. After a military takeover in 1994, there was a return to democratic rule in 1996. Despite adherence to democratic principles over the years, the status and rights of People with Disabilities in the society has not changed appreciably, although the Government of The Gambia has taken positive steps to include disability in the development agenda. However, stigma and discrimination is in general, a social phenomenon and counterproductive for People with Disabilities to participate fully with equal opportunities in the socioeconomic development of The Gambia. Therefore, there is need to empower people with disabilities and the development of social amenities, to enhance their potentials in order to achieve the full protection and promotion of their rights and dignity.
Recently, there exist a legal framework to challenge the deeply rooted stigma and discrimination experienced by Persons with Disabilities. As some of the most marginalized people in the communities, the challenges associated with lack of access to sports and recreation, education, training and employment has a huge impact on the abilities of Persons with Disabilities, and as a result many of them undertake petty trading or resort to begging on the streets as survival strategy.
— There is limited up to date statistics on disability in the Gambia. However, applying the global estimate that 10-15% of the population in the country are PWDs.
— Approximately 33,000 PWDs in the country
— Prevalence rate of 16/1000 in 1998
— Compared to 24/1000 in the April 2003 census
— Gender difference of male and female was 17.4and 13.9 per thousand respectively
— Urban and rural prevalence rate were 12.5 and 17.6 per 1000
— Main problem being difficulty in speech which constituted 18.4%
— Visual and hard of hearing were not high as speech difficulties
— Physical mobility consist of the highest with prevalence rate of 3.6 per 1000
DPOs WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
Over the years the department of social welfare, education department, VSO and sight savers in collaboration with DPOs have demonstrated workable strategies and programmes to address issues like;
v Mainstream Education
v Capacity building activities
v Empowering Persons With Disabilities
v Institutional building for enhanced service delivery
DPOs are in general resource constrained which limits their capacity to provide adequate services to their members. Hence support from private services and government are crucial to them to meet their obligations.
There is need to clearly increase the visibility of public and private service providers to ensure the potential support needed are available.
v The government has signed and ratified the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol (July 1st, 2013).
v Provision of Section 31 of the Gambia constitution.
v Draft integrated national disability policy (2009-2018).
v Draft national plan of action on the African Decade of PWDs (2010-2019).
v Draft Disability Bill under review before enactment.
The Project Idea, aims and objectives:
The group conceived the idea, based on the increase demand and obstacles faced by PWDs towards their mobility and maintenance of wheelchairs.
1. Build sustainable wheelchairs including training of technicians and services
2. Provide wheelchairs to PDWs for their day today Mobility
3. Provide services and maintenance to wheelchair users
Establishment of the workshop
The assessment of performance and achievement on planned results
In line with the project ideas, aims and objectives
Project volunteer’s staffs and trainees including equipment and materials required
The number of wheelchair users benefiting from the services and maintenance. with a lesser cost than of going to Banjul instead.
Established services with trained technicians funding, equipment and materials
Outreach services to the regions within the country as they face serious challenge s in those areas
Raising of awareness by the President of the organization to institutions both national and international level to develop the workshop with support for sustainability using sports and media
Availability of a database on the service and the trained technicians and locations
Ongoing services and maintenance with mobility free for PWDs in the country
The Start up of this Project was through a charitable organization by the name Healing Hearts base in the United Kingdom. To make a change in the lives of PWDs in the Gambia
Plans are to lobby from the Government, NGOs Donors Agency partners etc for continuation through proposal writing face to face meetings internet / social media donor searching networking etc.
Without funding Equipment and Materials it will be very difficult for us to meet out aims and objectives. As PWDs especially the physically disabled persons are facing a serious challenge in there day today mobility be it electronic, manual, electric and crouches. There are equipment and materials that are not available here in the Gambia only to be purchase abroad. It can be more challenging if nothing is done about it.
The report is compile by the team and written by
Mr. Sulayman Colley
President / Executive Director