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2016-08_dc

D+C  e-Paper  August 2016 37 school, work, training centres and public buildings is very difficult for people with impaired vision or mobility, for example if they depend on wheelchairs. GIZ can help make Namibia’s public infrastructure more accessible, particu­ larly in regard to lifts, barrier-free build­ ings and suitable pavements. Moreover, the acquisition of kneeling buses, which lower the floor at bus stops so it becomes easier to board them, is now close at hand in Namibia. It is always cheaper to ensure accessibility features when a new facility is built than to retrofit existing buildings with ramps and lifts. The study also recommends: ■ ■ awareness-raising and education in order to stop discriminatory behav­ iour on the part of bus and taxi drivers towards people with disabilities, ■ ■ awareness-raising and information for GIZ decision-makers and partners in transportation on the topic of inclusion and building standards (national stand­ ards should incorporate requirements for accessible infrastructure), ■ ■ making the principles of accessible con­ struction a mandatory part of the engi­ neering curriculum (for future civil engi­ neers/city planners) and ■ ■ the systematic inclusion of this topic into the bachelor and master’s civil engi­ neering programmes at the University of Namibia. Some of these recommendations have been implemented in the meantime. GIZ will hire someone to address crosscut­ ting issues, and that person will also be in charge of disability issues. Kneeling buses will be acquired as soon as possible, and sensitivity training for drivers will take place. Inclusive measures, moreover, are being enacted in vocational education. Instructors are receiving training on how to deal with people with disabilities, and schools are becoming properly equipped to meet the needs of disabled students. Inclusion matters in terms of eco­ nomic development and poverty reduc­ tion, both of which are central to GIZ’s efforts in Namibia. The new manual pro­ vides a great deal of information on strat­ egies and methods geared to make GIZ’s programmes inclusive. The manual includes a tool to sys­ tematically test exactly how inclusive an organisation is. If it is not inclusive at all, the authors show what tangible steps serve to improve matters fast. The rec­ ommendations touch on issues ranging from the design of work places to organi­ sational and institutional barriers. A core message is that costs of excluding people with disabilities and ignoring them exceed those of inclusion. Disability mainstream­ ing is not simply about charity and moral conviction, it is primarily about fully tap­ ping the considerable potential of people with disabilities. It makes sense to build facilities with­ out barriers, since retrofitting is more expensive. In a similar sense, it is impor­ tant to consider disabilities early on in developmental programmes and pro­ jects. Small things often have the greatest impact, and people with disabilities tend to be the best experts on what should be prioritised. Involving them and their rep­ resentatives in the planning stages of a programme is the most effective way to ensure that their needs and expertise are taken into account. The manual’s title is “Inclusion grows”. Inclusion is indeed seen as a process, becausegoalsarenotachievableovernight. Good planning and joint efforts of a range of committed actors are what it takes to ensure that rights of people with disabilities are respected over the long term. The manual does not raise demands, but makes recommendations. It is itself a living project. The authors expect the book to be expanded and modified depend­ ing on users’ feedback. GIZ will distribute the manual in selected partner countries so it can be edited based on users’ “reality check”. Links Kieck, B., Ayeh, D., Beitzer, P., Gerdes, N., Günther, P., Wiemers, B., 2015: Inclusion grows. Toolkit on disability mainstreaming for the German Development Cooperation. http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/series/sle/265-2/PDF/265-2.pdf Kieck, B., Ayeh, D., Beitzer, P., Gerdes, N., Günther, P., Wiemers, B., 2016: Developing a manual on disability mainstreaming for the German Development Cooperation – case study Namibia. http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/series/sle/265/PDF/265.pdf Bettina Kieck has worked as a consultant on the inclusion of people with disabilities for 10 years. In 2015, she led the SLE team from Humboldt University Berlin mentioned in her essay. [email protected] The situation of people with disabilities in Namibia According to estimates by the WHO, around 15 % of people in developing countries live with some form of disability. Namibia is no different, though specific numbers are not available. Namibia is also facing many problems that affect sub- Saharan Africa as a whole, including high unemployment and unequal income dis- tribution. The quality of education remains inadequate despite far-reaching reforms. Nevertheless, in contrast to most devel- oping countries, initial efforts have been made to improve inclusion, and there has been notable success. In 2015, a ministry was established to address the needs of people with disabilities. Inclusion is thus on the agenda. Aware- ness-raising campaigns are underway to change people’s negative attitudes towards the disabled. Research shows that people with disabili- ties still tend to be poorer than people without disabilities in Namibia, for instance because they are excluded from the education system. Rates of illiteracy are high among the people concerned, and fewer of them get formal training in vocational schools. These facts show that, so far, the Namibian government can dem- onstrate little in terms of practical success. The will is there, but problems arise due to lack of expertise and funding. Equipping vocational schools with adequate technol- ogy and barrier-free instructional materials is currently the greatest challenge. Fur- thermore, the schools need admission procedures that people can deal with in sign language. They must even provide opportunities to applicants who cannot take a written test.

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