This time, UNAD was honored to host technical personnel and the leadership of national associations of the deaf from Malawi, Tanzania and Ethiopia in May 2015.
The idea behind the visit stems from the vast experience and achievements UNAD has scored in the areas of programme planning and management, networking and advocacy, lobbying and the need to share these experiences with other national associations of the deaf (NADs).
During their week-long working visit, key areas were identified and the sessions facilitated by UNAD executive director, Mr. Ambrose Murangira, UNAD chairperson Hon. Alex Ndeezi, UNAD finance manager Mr. Desmond Kahard, information officer Mr. Eroku Simon and Joseph Mbulamwana who was the lead facilitator and also coordinated the entire activity.
Clear expectations for both the host and visiting organizations were set prior to the visit and participants from both organizations actively took part in the activities and discussions. The focus was not only just sharing information, but also on learning and identifying lessons and ideas to use and adapt after the exchange visit. The knowledge exchange areas included but were not limited to advocacy, lobbying, and legal framework with focus on disability in Uganda, fundraising and resource mobilization, multiprojects financial management, and awareness raising.
The team also visited our partner organisations like Sign Health Uganda, Kyambogo University, the Parliament of Uganda where they interacted with Members of Parliament representing PWDs and held a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament the Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga. They also visited the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), Wakiso Secondary School for the Deaf and Uganda School for the Deaf, Ntinda. In all presentations, emphasis was put on the strategies, successes and challenges – what works and what doesn’t and why from UNAD’s experience.
At Parliament of Uganda, the MPs representing PWDs led by Hon Alex Ndeezi gave a presentation on how to use Parliament to enact deaffriendly laws. They advised the teams to work in partnership with other persons with disabilities in their respective countries in order to push their issues through the legal system. The team later met briefly with the Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, The Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, who also is the current chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Hon Kadaga urged the visitors to use the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Uganda’s disability model of representation as a yardstick for lobbying for representation in their respective countries.
"It would be belittling its benefit if I am to name it," said Mr. Ayalew Amare, the deputy director of Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf (ENAD) while at the airport bidding farewell. "I have traversed the world, met people in the area of deafness but I am totally humbled by Ugandans’ case. You have it all in one (the capacity, dedication, teamwork, commitment and above all knowledge in the field. I am confident you will keep UNAD flames burning for decades. We need your support as Africans, not only in ENAD but I say Africans, many of us are still far below the level of Uganda."
UNAD is grateful to the Finnish Association of the Deaf (FAD) for the trust in hosting this wonderful training. We are still open to other such opportunities near and far.
"You have to make your voice heard first; in Uganda we are not rich, but we value PWDs because they are experts in the field of disability, that is why they are represented at all levels, you should emulate the same," said Rt. Hon Kadaga.