Over the past decade, the government of Tanzania has made several serious commitments to improving the lives of people with disabilities. The National Policy on Disability, 2004 (NPD) and Tanzania’s ratification of theUnited Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) form a promising policy framework to improve the lives of people with disabilites.
The aspirations of the National Policy on Disability include:
- encouraging the development of people with disabilities
- empowering families of people with disabilities
- reviewing and amending legislations that are not disability friendly
- improving service delivery
- enabling participation of people with disabilities and their families in decision making and implementation of important activities and disability activities in society.
However, as is so often the case in developing countries, these encouraging policies have been hindered by economic and social factors.
The real challenge is to find ways to turn Tanzania’s disability policy aspirations into concrete action. Various CAPDA projects, focused on practical and sustainable development, aim to assist local services and groups to meet this challenge by:
- offering training for the professional carers, volunteers and family members who care for children with disabilities
- developing assistive technologies and related services for people with disabilities
- improving material standards of daily care provided by disability services
- improving access to information, early intervention services, technical aids and participation in decision making
- developing networks with disability groups and service organisations.