NW Journalists called to mainstream issues of disabilities

Media  men and women at the workshop

Media men and women at the workshop

Over 40 journalists drawn from various media organs across the Northwest region have rounded up a one day workshop at the Baptist Centre Bamenda, with a called on them to mainstream issues of disabilities and persons with disabilities in their daily activities as a means of bettering the conditions and empowering this group of persons.

The workshop was organized by the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD), an arm of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) which aims at meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in the Northwest Region.

“We have a mandate in the SEEPD program to ensure that people with disabilities are effectively included in the general community action in terms of development…the media has the power, the potential to generate a lot of change” Mr. Ezekiel Benuh, program director of SEEPD said.

The media men and women are expected to use their role in society to help the more than 15% of persons with disabilities (PWD) that are often discriminated against and excluded from schools, work and health services to become more visible, inform them of available services and opportunities, portray and project their abilities and capabilities, demystify myths and stereotypes and change societal perceptions of PWDs, create awareness about PWDs, advocate and lobby for them amongst others.

The media in the long run as a whole is expected to promote altitudes that are more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to PWDs, put the person at the centre stage, not the disability, use appropriate language, project PWDs as active participants in the society, give them a voice and in topical issues, and integrate them in the mainstream.

Ashiyo Tina SEEPD communication deparment facilitating

Ashiyo Tina SEEPD communication deparment facilitating

Ezekiel Benuh SEEPD program Director speaking to the press

Ezekiel Benuh SEEPD program Director speaking to the press

“I think my station will need to take a step forward henceforth on issues of disabilities, fully integrate them into our mainstream activities, look at them as active participants rather than an underprivileged group” said Tangwa Lawrence, station manager and proprietor of City FM Kumbo.

“This is a welcomed intervention by SEEPD, there are so many issues of disabilities that I have picked here as a person and as a media practitioner. I absolute need to transform what I learned here into action” confirmed Tebong Christain of Stone FM Ndop.

The media men and women agreed to network and create a social platform to exchange ideas, programs and experiences on issues of disabilities.

Professor Tih Puis, Director of CBCHS closed the workshop with a call on participants to become advocates for PWDs, and urge them to do something in one way or the other to better the plight of PWD.

The SEEPD program is implemented with assistance from Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

By Abongwa Fozo

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