REGISTRATION INTO THE NEW GOVERNMENT SYSTEM EXCITES PWDS, AS EXERCISE KICKS OFF IN LOWARENG’A, LAKE ZONE WARD

REGISTRATION INTO THE NEW GOVERNMENT SYSTEM EXCITES PWDS, AS EXERCISE KICKS OFF IN LOWARENG’A, LAKE ZONE WARD

A local resident in Lowareng’ak village, Susan Atiir Kachoi, (54), is among the 164 People with Disabilities (PwD) that have been excited to be identified, assessed medically and registered with the National Council for Persons with Disability (NCPWD) today, in Lake zone Ward, Turkana North.

In a first time registration exercise in Turkana North, conducted by the County Government with support from World Food Programme (WFP), Kachoi, could not hide her happiness after, for the first time, was recruited into the new government system, describing it as effort geared towards PWDs inclusivity, meant to access government services like other people across the Country.

“I am overwhelmingly relieved that I am now in government records and this means I will be entitled to inclusive, equal and enjoy full rights, just like other members of the society. This, has before, slowed empowerment efforts for persons with disability,” she enthusiastically stated.

The 10-day exercise in Lake zone, is aimed at Identifying and medically assessing persons with disability, as well as registering PwDs through the e-citizen platform by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities.

The team leader, who is also the Deputy Director of Social Protection, Hebrews Idoka said “my long time desire to register PwDs across Turkana County has finally born fruits, thanks to the collaboration effort between the County Government and WFP. This is a priority activity in the County PWD Act, 2017.”

Targeting 500 PwDs in Lakezone, he further said, after registering PWDs, they will be issued with certificates, identifying them as persons with disabilities, exempted from tax, benefit from various government programs like cash transfers, grants, Local Purchase Order (LPO) financing, access AGPO, get 5% employment opportunities among other benefits.

Moving forward, Idoka revealed, the County will roll out the phase two of the registration exercise to other Wards that have never been targeted, in July, 2024.

Evidence from  Development Pathways  Report (2018), recommends improving social protection for PwD by improving access to data on PWDs. This involves strengthening the pre-existing mechanisms of data collection, increasing investments in social security, improving disability assessment/inclusion criteria, strengthening linkages between social services, and mainstreaming disability governance arrangements to improve accessibility and rural awareness of programmes.

Idoka, however, disclosed that 10% of the population in Turkana is disabled. He argues, through research findings that 33.3% of the disabled population is employed, while 40.4% of the total population in the county is employed, 67% of the disabled population lives in poverty, as 52% of the total population lives in poverty. And 19% of the disabled population is receiving a secondary education, 49.9% of the total population in is receiving secondary education.

It was against this backdrop of research findings, he said, prevailing situation, and existing data on PwDs that the Directorate of Social Protection seeks to closely work with the NaCPWD, together with Ministry of Health, to undertake critical activities that would see PwDs registered and enjoy various government services, including cash transfers, assistive devices, and food rations.

Those facilitating the exercise included; Josephat Ekeno (Assistant Director, Social Protection), Gabriel IPas (Ward Admin, Lakezone), Alex Marangach (Chief Social Protection Officer), James Ekai (Senior Social Officer), Benson Ebei (County Coordinator, Disability Services NCPWD, Concepta Longole (Rehabilitative Services), James Lokiyoto (Chair, Organization of Persons with Disabilities,Turkana North) and Medical Specialties in various disability areas.

TOBONGU LORE

13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024