By Chris Mbunwe
The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, CBCHS, has launched an award that will recognise municipal Councils that are excelling in inclusive development.
The launching of the edition to kick off in 2022, called CBCHS- SEEPD Programme’s Council Excellence in Inclusion Award (CEIA) took place at the Baptist Centre Nkwen Bamenda on October 29.
The award, according to the CBC Health Servces Director, Prof. Pius Tih, will take place in three phases. He said their partnership with several Councils is aimed at raising awareness on the importance of inclusion of all vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities in community development.
The event was centred on the theme: “Enhancing Capabilities and Participation of Persons with Disabilities: Building Communities for Everyone builds on the gains of the previous programme phases to support local Councils in their efforts to put in place systems to facilitate inclusion of persons with disabilities in Council activities and development plans”
Dwelling on theme, Prof. Tih said the importance placed by Councils in inclusive development is worth recognising. He said the award will focus on supporting Councils to acquire the relevant capacity to achieve inclusive development and put in place systems that ensure the participation of all sections of the community in the development of their Municipalities.
“This reflection aligns with the SDGs, Cameroon’s Vision 2035, and the goals of the decentralisation laws. Therefore, the programme is focused on building capacities in inclusive development and providing Councils with more practical proposals; first, to make sure that Council services opened to the public are accessible, and secondly, that the Councils promote disability equality and inclusion in all their plans and initiatives”.
CBCHS, in partnership with Australian Aid and CBM is also introducing the award in recognition that, despite the contestations that have characterised development in the Northwest Region, Councils are proving to be resilient and even more concerned with the development needs of their people, including those with disabilities.
This, he added, implies that an award is a form of encouragement to municipal leaders for embracing and practising inclusion in diverse ways.
“Today’s launch is the first step of a series of activities building up to the grand award ceremony to take place in November 2022,” he said while encouraging all partner Councils to take this as an opportunity to demonstrate a good sense of community-based inclusive development.
The development that effectively takes actions that bring on board every section of the community, including persons with disabilities in development, planning and decision making.
The Director extended his appreciation to the Regional Authorities, Council supervisory authorities and other decentralisation support structures for working with them and offering an enabling environment for Councils to thrive in this decentralisation era.
“Your support is massive and we say thanks,” Prof Tih stated.
The Organisation of Persons with Disabilities, OPD community, will be instrumental in ensuring the success of this award. He told participants to be, more than ever before, courageous to engage with the municipal leaders and take up the opportunities they will create to exploit their potentials.
He said they should note that inclusion is also about everyone contributing to social change in communities.