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Burkina Faso advances in the development of the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Disability Strategy

workshop participants working in groups

From 22 to 26 September, a workshop was held in Ouagadougou to prepare the draft Action Plan 2021-2023 for the implementation of Burkina Faso’s National Strategy for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The activity was organised by Bridging the Gap, project implemented in Burkina Faso by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), and the Burkina Faso National Multisectoral Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COMUD/H), under the direction of the Ministry of Women, National Solidarity, the Family and Humanitarian Action.

The event took place at the “Maison de la Femme” and brought together 65 people from institutions, civil society and organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) to review and discuss the objectives, actions and activities of the Action Plan as proposed by different national agencies and ministries, OPDs and Non-Governmental Organisations. Over five days they were able to exchange their views and reflect on the current status of inclusion and look to the engagements ahead for the implementation of the National Disability Strategy, which was technically validated on 27 February 2020, but needs to be associated to an Action Plan to be adopted.

This exercise is the result of a long process, which began in July 2018 when Bridging the Gap and COMUD/H organised the first training on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for COMUD/H members. This training was enriched by the presence of Italian experts with personal experience in disability who shared their views with the participants. The year 2019 was then dedicated to the review and update of the 2012 National Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which had never entered into force.

The 2020 revised Strategy is based on the CRPD, is aligned to the National Plan of Economic and Social Development (PNDES) and reflects the 2030 Agenda and the Agenda 2063 (The Africa we want). It is structured around 5 axes: access to social services and social and legal protection; economic empowerment of persons with disabilities; communication and strengthening of stakeholder’s capacities in the field of protection and promotion of rights of persons with disabilities; citizen participation and inclusive development; and coordination of the intervention of the different stakeholders active in the field of protection and promotion of rights of persons with disabilities. Each axis, in turn, is declined in strategic objectives, actions and, subsequently, in activities.

In order to ensure maximum efficiency with limited resources and to guarantee the harmonization of all policies, strategies and plans, the national law 034/2018 sets the duration of strategies to 5 years and of action plans to 3 years. Therefore, the National Strategy on Disability will run from 2021 to 2025, while the Action Plan from 2021 to 2023.

This activity meant a great exercise in participation and exchange between the representatives of the many institutions attending the workshops, led by the Project managers of the Ministry of Women and National Solidarity and the representatives of the OPDs. The latter highlighted the importance of holding workshops such as this one, in which persons with disabilities are at the centre of the action, and how only through participation will it be possible to build a common vision of inclusive development.

The process will continue in the coming days and will lead to the validation workshop expected to take place in early November, still with the support of Bridging the Gap. The activity will also avail of UNICEF‘s support.