HOIMA – People With Disabilities (PWDs) in Hoima and Kikuube districts say they have been competing with everyone else for Emyooga cash grants and have always been outcompeted because they are poorer and marginalized.
Frustrated, they have appealed to the government to give their applications for Emyooga funds less stringent scrutiny.
Though the presidential initiative is meant to help poor people create jobs and wealth, leaders of PWDs, claim the Emyooga programme won’t help poor persons living with disability because of the tough conditions attached.
Speaking during a dialogue to review the progress on efforts to promote inclusion of PWDs in livelihood programmes in Hoima and Kikuube districts, Edith Barungi, the deputy chairperson of Hoima District Union of Persons with Disabilities and PWDs councilor for Kikuube district, said PWDs groups are finding it difficult to access Emyooga funds.
The engagement held at Hoima Resort Hotel was organized by Bunyoro Albertine Petroleum Network on Environmental Conservation (BAPENECO) with support from Hoima Union of Disabled Persons (HUDIP).
She noted that the requirement for applicants to have 30% of the funds they apply for deposited on their account before accessing the Emyooga funds has disqualified most of the PWD groups in the two districts.
According to her, the government should give some special consideration for PWDs other than letting them compete with everyone else.
According to her, many people with disabilities have no income generating activities and therefore can’t readily save 30% of whatever money they apply for.
“It was a hustle to open up accounts but even after that we found it difficult to save 30%, due to lack of money by PWDS.” she said.
“We need to benefit from these funds but because of the conditions, many of our members cannot access this money,” Barungi said.
She argued that when people living with disabilities compete with other persons, they are always out-competed based on cultural attitudes about them.
Robert Kasangaki, the chairman of Hoima District Union of Persons Living With Disability, called on the government to increase the special grant support to PWDs in order to intensify their development projects.
He said PWDs are facing a challenge of inadequate funding and called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to lobby for more support towards the development and wellbeing of PWDs.
Joyce Kabatalya, Hoima District Senior Community Development Officer and focal person Emyooga programme, said that the condition of saving 30% is a requirement for all beneficiaries.
She noted that there is no way the government can do away with this condition.
Dickens Amanya, the coordinator for BAPENECO, said the government should allow PWDs to access this money without conditions.
“There must be affirmative action for PWDs if the government needs PWDs to benefit from this program, the 30% requirement is not favorable for them,” he said.
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