On 27th April – 1st May 2015 the Disability Desk under the Division of Community Development, in collaboration with the Disability Management Committee and the West New Britain Provincial Disabled Persons Organisation, staged the West New Britain Province Disability Inclusive Development Forum.
People with a disability (PWD) are one of the most vulnerable groups in Papua New Guinea and tend to be subjected to exclusion from social and economic participation in their community. This exclusion often leads to poverty, and limits accessibility of education and health services.
During the official opening remarks, Honourable Sasindrahn Muthuvel, the Governor of West New Britain Province stated that those living with disabilities will no longer called “disabled” but should be called “differently abled persons”. He also requested data on PWD, so that funding and programs can be tailored to those most in need of support services.
During this forum Live & Learn PNG were able to learn some concrete information about people currently living with disabilities in PNG and increase staff capacity in incorporating social inclusion aspects into projects. L&L PNG staff were also able to share with other attendees the concept of sanitation marketing and how enterprises can ensure inclusive WASH services. Staff from L&L PNG now plan to take sign language classes provided by the Callan Institute so that it can be used when conducting hygiene education in communities and schools.
At the conclusion of this event a three-page resolution of the Forum was developed, signed and presented to the Provincial Government by the Differently Abled People’s Organisation and the members of the partner organisations, government divisions, CBO’s, churches and the general public. This contained three important clauses to be reviewed by the Provincial Executive Council.
During the Forum, differently abled persons shared their testimonials and asked to be included in support and empowerment programs in their community.