The annual Disability Conference provides a platform for vigorous and intellectually stimulating discourse from advocates, policymakers, and academics from various disciplines including healthcare practice, law, psychology, business and ICT. This year, the central focus was to consider ways to make Ghana an enabling environment for Persons with Disability, their families and their caregivers. The Chairperson was Mrs Nana Oye Lithur, former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Plenary Speaker was Mr Kwame Dadzie-Denis, representing Madam Otiko Djaba, the Honourable Minister, Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The theme for this year's conference was Disability and Development: Perspectives from the Family. This theme recognises the integral nature of the family in any relevant societal discourse and sought to foster critical engagement with the place of the family in issues relating to PWDs and in particular, explore how a focus on the family can assist in tackling the disability issues that we face as a society.
In previous years, a number of special guests have attended and/chaired this event including Ms. Bruce-Lyle, a member of the Ghana Federation on Disability, Prof Henrietta J.A.N Mensa-Bonsu, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the UN Mission in Liberia and Mr Ivor Greenstreet, 2016 Presidential candidate for the Convention People’s Party. Other important personalities who have chaired or spoken at the Conference are Father Campbell of the Christ the King Parish, and Prof Angela Ofori-Atta, former deputy Minister, Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment.
This conference is led by one of Lancaster University Ghana’s law lecturers, Maame Yaa A. Barnes. When asked for her motivations and thoughts on the conference Maame Yaa said,
‘We want to encourage a rigorous academic discourse on disability. It is extremely important that the Conference is multidisciplinary. I wanted to push the idea of disability being something that affects everyone in society, and not just a section thereof. While more obvious in some areas than in others, I believe that Disability overlaps and intersects with every field – law, medical sciences, engineering and related sciences, architecture, education, economics, religion, sports.…It would be difficult to find a field that is completely un-impacted by Disability, yet a lot of the time, we act like only a small section of people are affected. If we all are affected, one way or another, by disability, then the solutions to the problems faced by those most closely-affected: PWDS and their families, must come from all of us; it is a conversation in which we ALL must participate.’
Several papers were presented at this conference. Each touched on a key thematic area including: Social and Cultural Perspectives on Disability; Disability, Family and the Role of Law; Disability, the Family, and Marriage.
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In aid of the bid to make Ghana an enabling environment for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to lead dignified and meaningful lives, Lancaster University Ghana organises an annual conference on disability. The 2018 Multidisciplinary Conference on Disability and Development took place on Friday 16th of March, 2018 at the LUG A&C Square campus.
….It would be difficult to find a field that is completely un-impacted by Disability, yet a lot of the time, we act like only a small section of people are affected. If we all are affected, one way or another, by disability, then the solutions to the problems faced by those most closely-affected: