Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The network of journalists for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa-Ghana chapter (Promoafrica), has presented its finding on “exposure of human rights violations against persons with disabilities [pwds] in upper east and Volta regions (phase 1) presented to the Ghana federation of the disabled (gfd) at a colourful ceremony in Accra. The report was presented by the president of the network Mr. Amoah kwaku Addi and received by the vice president of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled. Below is the full text of the report;

Executive summary
The Network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa-Ghana Chapter (PromoAfrica), made up of journalists with the interest in championing the cause of persons with disabilities (PWDs), received support from the Ghana Federation of the Disabled’s (GFD’s) Flex-fund under the DANIDA Project to implement the project entitled “Exposure of the Human Rights violation against Persons with Disabilities in Upper East and Volta Regions Phase 1”.

The purpose was to investigate human right violations against PWDs in the two regions with the view to bringing them to light. In all twenty one (21) journalists were deployed and nine (9) communities were visited. Three (3) in the upper East Region, five (5) in the Volta region and one (1) in Greater Accra Region.
We are very grateful to GFD to this opportunity

Background - PROMOAFRICA Ghana Chapter
PROMOAFRICA Ghana Chapter has a membership of one hundred and five (105) media personnel working in 100 media houses across the regions in both the print and electronics, aimed at advocating for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Network was formed by the Africa Decade Secretariat of Persons with Disabilities in Dakar on April 24, 2008 by journalists attending a training workshop on “UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the New Terminology Guide”.

Locally it was launched on the 23rd June 2008 and has since then worked closely with stakeholders in the disability sector to promote the rights of PWDs. It is registered, and is recognized by the African Decade Secretariat of Persons with Disabilities, the National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
Purpose and specific objectives
As professional communicators, we are in a unique position to shape the public image of persons with disabilities.
Media initiatives and individual journalists can help people feel less isolated, while at the same time challenge negative stereotype in communities.

This is our core objective and for one thing, we can help persons with disabilities in Ghana that are often discriminated and excluded from school, work opportunities and health services, to become more visible in society.
We have the vivid believe that as long as these large of groups of people are invisible, the inequalities experienced by them will remain largely unknown to the general public if we don’t act swiftly as journalists.
Project implementation
For successful implementation of the project two regional executive committees were formed with five members each to tour the areas that the human rights of PWDs were suspected being violated as a forerunner to the visit of the national team to carry out investigations.

16th-21st May 2010, UER: The Upper East team led by Osei Kwame Junior, the local Joy FM correspondent visited Chiana and Srigu where the phenomenon of the “spirit child” syndrome (the believe that children with disabilities are evil and curses from the gods/ancestors) abounds.

19th-24th May 2010, VR: Mr. Patrice Selorm, a freelance journalist led the Volta regional team to pay a two-day working visit to the Nkwanta South district. They visited Kecheibi, Tutukpene, (where onchosichiaeses abounds), Ashiabre, Krontang and Tsieso.

26th May-5th June 2010, tour by National Executives

A seven member team led by the President of PromoAfrica, Seth Amoah Addi, left Accra to the Upper East and the Volta Region. The team’s first visit was to Srigu and Chaina in the Kasina Nankan District of the Upper East region where it met with the local Assemblyman, community leaders, victims in school and some local NGOs already working in the area notable among them, Afrikids.
Findings on spirit child syndrome:
“Phenomenon of the spirit child syndrome” where the locals believe that children with disabilities are evil and curse from the gods/ancestors therefore they must be killed.

At Sirigu and Chaina in the Kasina Nankan district, there is a widespread belief that children born with physical deformities or with complex medical conditions are “kinkirogo” or spirit child who have been sent to bring harm or calamity to their families and are not meant for this world.

The locals, as soon as they identify a “kinkirogo” or spirit child, contact a spiritualist and a concoction is given to the baby to drink. If the baby dies after drinking the concoction then it confirms that the baby is a “kinkirogo” sent to bring calamity to the parents.

Due to the activeness of some grassroots NGOs these rituals though persisting have gone down. They are now conducted in quiet secretly as the “Kinkirogo” belief is a long term tradition which the people will not trade for anything.

Some innocent children has been killed simply because they were born with physical deformities or with complex medical conditions and this goes contrary to article 13 (1) of the 1992 constitution of the republic of Ghana “no person shall be deprived of his life intentionally except in the exercise of the execution of a sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana of which he has been convicted” and 29(1) ”disabled persons have the right to live with their family or with foster parents and to participate in social, creative or recreational activities”


Recognizing that the child occupies a unique and privileged position in the African society and that for the full harmonious development of his personality, body and mind, the child should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,
Acknowledging that children require particular care with regard to health, physical, mental, moral and social development, and need legal protection in conditions of freedom, dignity and security
Considering the virtue of historical tradition and values of African civilization which should inspire and characterize reflections of human and peoples’ rights,
Recognizing again that fundamental human rights stem from the attributes of human beings which justify their national and international protection and that respect of people’s rights should necessarily guarantee human rights,
We strongly recommend the following to the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and its allies

(1) GFD should increase its advocacy work and awareness on the human rights of children with disabilities (CWDs) regarding harmful practices through information, education and outreach programmes in the Kasina Nankana district especially communities in and around Sirigu.

(2) GFD should strengthens and increase its presence in the district to enable it protect children with disability who are at risk of being subjected to harmful practices or all other forms of violence, abuse and intolerance.

(3) GFD should work closely with AFRIKIDS, a grassroots NGO in the district with vast knowledge and experience on the “Kinkirogo” phenomenon in the provision of necessary support to victims of harmful practices through basic services such as health services, legal and judicial support, emotional and psychological counselling as well as vocational training to make them self supporting.

(4) GFD should advocate the establishment of a school for children with disabilities to be sited in the district or the regional capital Bolgatanga. (As most of the indigenes has not seen children with disabilities living and working independently).

(5) GFD should work intimately with the District Assembly and the NCPD to adopt appropriate measures to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices affecting welfare, dignity, normal growth and development of children born with disabilities and in particular; those customs and practices prejudicial to the health or life of children with disability which are discriminatory to the child on the grounds of health status.
(6) For GFD’s advocacy and campaign on the above subject, we recommend the usage of article 7 &8 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and optional protocol as a strong tool.

Findings on Nkwanta South District

The team also visited the Nkwanta south district, which is one of the most deprived districts in the Volta region. It abounds with guinea worm infestation and onchosichiaeses - diseases that lead to severe disabilities. Indeed the ddistrict was chosen by the network because it is Ghana’s second endemic area for guinea worms according to the 2004, 2005 -2007 Ghana Health Service report.

Black flies that infect human with the onchosichiaeses disease that leads to permanent blindness, abounds at Tutukpene a village 40 kilometres from Nkwanta, the district capital. Ghana Association of the Blind and Sight Savers International are visible in the area.

Kecheibi, Ashiabre, Odumasi, and Krontang also have a high level of guinea worm infestation. Most children infected are often rendered physically deformed or paralysed.

Due to economic hardship and lack of awareness children with disabilities are mostly denied education. Over 15 children with disabilities of school going age interviewed mentioned that they do not go to school at all or have become school dropouts because of their disabilities.
Recommendation on Nkwanta District

The Ghanaian youth including those with disabilities sets a benchmark for the practice to assist government and other stakeholders in fulfilling its commitment as spelt out in the national constitution to involve the youth in decision-making regarding the development of policy, programs and services, and as the agents of change and partners, with the opportunity to change the status quo for a better today and tomorrow, and to inject into them a sense of participation in national development, education is key to them

One of the main reasons that children in Ghana do not attend school is that their parents simply cannot afford to pay the levies charged by the schools. Despite government’s policy of fee-free tuition in basic school, some children with disabilities in the Nkwanta South district were left out of basic education not because their parents cannot pay but were being let-out by their parents because of their disabilities.

To ensure that children with disabilities are not excluded from the fee-free and compulsory education on the basis of their disabilities, we recommend the following to GFD

(1) GFD should put up an awareness creation on the importance of education for parents/guardians of children with disabilities in communities in the Nkwanta South districts.
(2) GFD should work closely with the Nkwanta South District Assembly, Ghana Health Service, Sight Savers International and traditional/opinion leaders to work out modalities on how to totally eradicate the onchosichiaeses and guinea worms disease from the area.
(3) GFD should strengthen and increase its presence in the district; especially to empower the district office of the Ghana Blind Union (GABU) to enable it spearheads its advocacy work in the district.
Findings on persons of Short Stature (Dwarfs)

Persons of short stature or midgets have medical condition that results in the underdevelopment of their bodies. It is a developmental anomaly, of nutritional or hormone deficiencies, or of other diseases. Those who reach adulthood do not suffer any lessening of their mental or sexual abilities and may have unusual muscular strength

A person of short stature in adulthood may be as small as two and half feet tall. The proportions of body to head and limbs may be normal or abnormal. They may also be deformed and may suffer from mental retardation, physical challenge, or blindness depending on the cause of the condition.

Though the Network application initially did not include investigations on persons of short stature, we deemed it fit to add them after attending the 1st African forum and election of Miss Persons of short stature (Miss personnes de petite taille) at the Malian capital Bamako from 26th July to 1st August 2010 organised by the government of Mali, African Decade Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities regional office, Network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa and the Association Malienne Des Personnes De Petite Taille.

In Ghana, short men and women face challenges in their daily lives. Our interview showed that they have fewer opportunities in education, lack self-esteem, employment, social life, romantic relationships, have fewer children and on average are paid less. Finding adult fashion clothes is very difficult. Short women report that they are not taken serious as their taller peers.

Ninety-eight percent (98%) of persons of short stature interviewed has never attended school or dropped out of school at the initial stages, therefore could not express themselves in English or write it. Therefore there are socioeconomic implications of being short.

They are not well organised in Ghana and therefore does not belong to any association or clubs. A few of them are only visible in the entertainment industry, i.e. dancing and movie making. As a country, there is no proper data/record on persons of short stature.

Recommendation on Persons of Short stature

Short people deserve the same rights, opportunities and privileges as any other member of society. We recommend to GFD the following to make the lives of persons of short stature meaningful

(1) GFD should include issues of Persons of Short Stature in Ghana in all their awareness, advocacy, counselling and research works.

(2) Work closely with PROMOAFRICA to identify, organised and support persons of short stature to form an association that will give them recognition and visibility to enable them fight for their rights and social and economic issues facing them in Ghana.

(3) GFD should develop the right terminology for persons of short stature in Ghana.
The Network of Journalists for the promotion of the Rights of persons with Disabilities in Africa-Ghana Chapter would like to express its appreciation to the following individuals, organisation and PWDs for their assistance and support that enabled successful implementation of the project:

Mrs. Rita Kyerema Kusi (Executive Director of GFD),
Nana Oteng Korankye II (Akuapem Twafohene and Chief of Berekuso-Akuapem), Hon. Gerson Gbediame (Majority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Nkwanta South constituency), Nana Kenkyina II (Chief of Kecheibi-Adele)

Ghana Federation of the Disabled,
Sightsavers international,
Office of the Assemblyman Sirigu,
Rainbow Radio (London)
Asempa FM, (Accra)
Hope FM (Breman Asikuma),
Myjoyonline.com (ACCRA)
Adeshe FM (Bibiani),
Accra Times,
Business Week,
The Daily Searchlight,
The Insight,
The New Crusading Guide and The Daily Democrat.

Persons with Disabilities in the grass root
Parry Perfect Destine-Nkwanta, Boafo Diana-Kecheibi, Appoh Kwajo-Ashiabre, Kwajo Bewel, Yaw Nterm, Akamani Aquah, Clement Awale, Yakubu Kasim, Anto Afua Janet, Nkpoagyator Debora, Benedictor Abasa, Sewura Amida, Melody Ameko, Millicent Nsana, Kuma Docas, Comfort Oduma, Veronica Yaa Ntosu, Nean Meapye, Tenten Sakeybea, Nsana Afua, Adarikwa Kujo and Dikudale Yaa.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Date: 25th July 2010


We, members The Network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa-Ghana Chapter (PROMOAFRICA) at a mini General Assembly held on the 25th July 2010 at the SSINT Guest House in accordance with our constitution, in line with article 6, 7 and 8 has agreed to elect the following officers to steer the affairs of the network until the next general assembly is held.

Media House
Amoah Seth Kwaku Addi
Evening Tribune Newspaper
Jeorge Wilson Kingson
Vice President
Timothy Antwi Otoo
Organizing Secretary
Asempa FM
Nana Yaa Yeboah
Financial Officer
Adeshe FM
Mariam Nyarkoah Amponsah
Executive Secretary
Evening Tribune Newspaper
Jemima Aggrey
Appointed member
Yes FM
Cape Coast
Appointed member
Kyzz FM
Appointed member
Dinpa FM
Appointed member
North Star Radio
Appointed member
Akua Boakyewaa
Appointed member
Hot FM
Appointed member
Eastern FM

SIGNED BY Mariam Nyarkoah Amponsah
Executive secretary