UEW Scholars Engage NCPD on Removal of Barriers for Disability-Inclusive Transport System
Five Scholars from the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), undertaking a research project titled "Removing Barriers to Disability-Inclusive Transport System (Policies and Regulations) in Accra and Nairobi", have had an interaction with officials of the National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) for their input.
The research project, dubbed SITUATE-2, seeks to find viable solutions to the barriers the UEW researchers identified in SITUATE-1, which focused on a policy and practice agenda for a disability-inclusive urban transport system in Accra and Nairobi.
The project lead, Prof. Enoch F. Sam, revealed his team's plan to provide navigational aids for persons with disability, hold an education seminar for transport operators on the 18th of August 2023 at some transport terminals and take experiences from some stakeholders.
"We will look at parking arrangements as part of the training for transport operators. We are also looking at the introduction of signage for cars. We will look at what the law says involving reserving seats for persons with disability, and we will move in with some indicators. Education for traders will also be looked at. We shall look at media advocacy and sustainability related to public sensitisation and education.
"Currently, plans are underway to enact a documentary on the mobility challenges of persons with disability. Intervention seven looks at promoting disability-user-friendly car features such as the reservation of priority seats and the installation of push bells," he affirmed.
Prof. Sam indicated his team's resolve to advocate for reintroducing the "Ayalolo" bus since it is more disability-friendly. He emphasised the project team's determination to develop instruments to measure the impact of the planned interventions on the mobility of persons with disability.
A member of the project and lecturer at the Department of Geography Education, Dr. Prince Kwame Odame, who highlighted the key findings in SITUATE-1, underscored the necessity to engage the NCPD in sharing ideas to help the team implement the findings of SITUATE-1 to SITUATE-2.
He pointed out that the research team's motivation to complete the project came from realising how city authorities and policymakers had paid little attention to the transportation needs and mobility concerns of persons with disability and from the team's desire to do its part to address those needs.
"Key things that came out include the fact that our public transportation services did not offer any indication of inclusiveness. The key issues that came up from the study focused on issues related to entry and exit of the buses, internal mobility, and navigation within the bus and at the terminal. For our friends at the Ghana Association of the Deaf, theirs were more inclined towards communication. They were more interested in how transport operators could desist from using hand signals, in particular," he disclosed.
A Professor of Special Education at UEW and a team member, Prof. Samuel K. Hayford, applauded the Council for its immense support for the research team to diligently discharge its mandate towards the success of SITUATE-1.
"Today's meeting is now to officially inform you about the outcome of that research project and also to present to you a copy of the report so that you will have some records to reference whenever you want to talk about transportation and persons with disability in the country," he stated.
The Executive Secretary of NCPD, Esther Akua Gyamfi, Esq., expressed happiness for the successful completion of SITUATE-1.
"We are very happy with the research that you have done. We really stretched ourselves to give you all the support, no matter how short the invitation was. We put all other things aside because we realised that it is our work that you are supporting us. Per the Persons with Disability Act, we need to encourage academia to do more research on disability. We are still holding hands to go together because, in academia, we really appreciate your input, we appreciate your work, and we still want to walk every mile with you," she professed.
Other members of the research project are Prof. (Mrs.) Esther Yeboah Danso-Wiredu and Dr. Adams Osman.