National Council for Disabled launches strategic plan 2019-2023 | 29 February 2020
The National Council for the Disabled (NCFD) launched its strategic plan yesterday at the Avani Hotel, Barbarons.
This strategic document is a bold framework signalling the need to change our perceptions and take concrete actions in the disability sector is Seychelles.
It provides an insight into the challenges that the council faces in delivering better outcomes for persons with disabilities.
The Minister for Family Affairs, Mitcy Larue, the chairman of the NCFD board, Marcus Simeon and the Attorney General Frank Ally were among the attendees.
Through this document, stakeholders are being asked to commit to the inclusion of persons with disabilities within the mainstream for the empowerment of individuals, for the advancement of persons living with disabilities and their families and for the sake of sustainability.
Having made significant strides in the human rights arena Seychelles cannot be left behind in the area of disability. We must lift the barriers and allow everyone to participate within the parameters of their capabilities.
In her opening speech, Minister Larue noted that “the objective of this plan is to promote a society that is more inclusive where our people living with a disability can accomplish their dreams. This brings a change in our mindset where we have to shift from a model that was protective towards a model that promotes empowerment of our people. We always have at heart the welfare of the people living with a disability and this was translated by all the actions we undertook to make Seychelles an inclusive society. We will continue on the same path”.
The minister also talked on the various efforts made towards the employment of disabled people.
“This plan promotes a more dynamic council with targeted services in order to promote more connection with the disabled people.
Mr Simeon gave a broad vision of where we are right now in Seychelles in regards with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Chapter III of the Constitution guarantees different rights, where article 36 of this chapter covers rights specific to (People With Disabilities) PWD’s : “The State recognises the right of the aged and the disabled to special protection and with a view to ensuring the effective exercise of this right undertakes: To make reasonable provision for improving the quality of life of and for the welfare and maintenance of the aged and disabled; This charter also guarantees 24 other rights which mirror the rights enshrined in the Convention.”
“We have key policies in place that promotes the equal participation of PWDs in Seychelles Policy on Inclusion and the Action Plan on Inclusive Education and Training guided by the Convention adopted in September 2014, provides children with disabilities with quality education social security benefits - ensures that persons with disabilities do not lose all their benefits when they take up employment efforts to increase the number of persons with disabilities in employment – URS Scheme; ongoing review of the mental health Act, protects rights and removes some derogatory language – rights less; planned review of the Children Act – prohibition of corporal punishment and the growing participation of civil society,” explained Mr Simeon.
He also talked about the delays in implementing a few decisions thus delaying the fact of having a national policy on disability.
Michelle Marguerite, a consultant working on the plan, shared some of the main components of the plan. “The new strategic plan identifies two areas of focus: advocacy and communication; to create better understanding of disability nationwide, needs to be systematic to bring about the change in mindset and education and training; with an approach that recognises that all persons with disabilities have the ability to learn as long as programmes are tailored according to their needs i.e. catering for differential needs respite programme.”
It comprises eight objectives : Strengthened capacity of the Council to be able to expand and diversify its services; Efficient management of finances ; Strengthened partnerships with service areas, national and international private sector and civil society actors ; Increased visibility of the Council and disability issues ; Reduced economic vulnerabilities of persons with disabilities; Increased promotion of a holistic approach to community based rehabilitation; Strengthened monitoring and evaluation capacity of the Council for effective oversight and advocacy; Increased promotion of a holistic approach to community based rehabilitation and Reduce barriers impeding the integration of people with disabilities nationwide.
The National Council for the Disabled came into being through an Act in 1994. Its role is to coordinate the activities of public or private organisations and other persons engaged in the welfare of persons with disabilities. NCD functions under the umbrella of the Ministry of Family Affairs. In 2008 it was given autonomy and has since been governed by a board of 10 members representing key sectors.
On the same day, a copy of the strategic plan was presented to key partners and the signing of the pledge of commitment was signed by the Ministry of Family Affairs, the Attorney General, Ceps, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport.
A new bus to transport the disabled was also launched.