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Shahid commented on Linking Persons With Disabilities with Opportunities

I am Shahid working as Program Manager in Concern Worldwide, Pakistan and have closely worked with SDO. I know Mr. Shair Hussain Shinwari since 2010 and I am familiar with his work and his organization’s engagement for assisting poor and destitute since then.
Khyber Agency which is part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan is highly neglected, marginalized and poor Agency. Since 2008, the Agency experienced increased levels of internal conflicts and has been hugely impacted by the on-going struggle against terrorism in the region. Due to governments operations against non-state armed groups, there is significant population movement since 2008. Returns to areas declared safe occurred between June 2009 and late 2010; however, continued military operations in FATA caused additional displacement throughout 2011/12/13.
The Agency is characterized by low income, low education; lack of health facilities, clean drinking water and sanitation and lack of appropriate livelihood options especially for women and persons with disabilities (PWDs). There is overall lack of awareness about the rights and special needs of PWDs among general masses at communal as well as government level. Due to these reasons the needs and requirements of PWDs are always ignored at government as well as communal level in various schemes including health, education and infrastructures.
The proposed IDEA is practicable and desirable since it will create general awareness among the population as well relevant government department and will benefit the most vulnerable and poor people in the target areas. By this IDEA, SDO will be able to address the special needs of people with disabilities through awareness about constructing steps/ramps with the latrines. People will be informed about site selection for latrines and taking suitable measures for safety/security, ease and safety of access to water, sanitation and other social services. SDO will prioritize women, elderly- and children-headed households with PWDs at their homes.
SDO will sensitize the target communities to design separate and easily accessible latrines for women with disabilities with availability of lights and water; proper and easy seating arrangements and proper doors in the latrines. Target household will be educated to maintain and regularly clean the latrines for PWDs at their homes. The school level awareness session about needs and rights of PWDs and arranging special facilities like ramps to classrooms, libraries, laboratories and latrines will help students with disabilities to access education with ease and dignity. The provision of wheel chairs will further assist the target population with increased awareness among general masses about addressing special needs of PWDs.
Tailoring is among the most suitable, dignified and easily adoptable livelihood option for PWDs in Khyber Agency. SDO through this IDEA will select PWDs among men and women for this skill and will train them in tailoring.
Few Suggestions:
1. SDO needs to define proper criteria for the selection of beneficiaries / PWDs for this intervention in order to help the most needy, poor and vulnerable households/ PWDs
2. SDO should develop coordination with relevant government departments including Social Welfare Women Development , Education and Health Departments at Agency level and liaise with local representatives and elders to transparently identify beneficiaries and implement the project.
3. Alongside wheel chairs, SDO needs to provide sewing machines and sewing kit including essential items like Scissors, measuring tap etc. to the beneficiaries of tailoring training to enable them to quickly start their business at communal level.
4. Proper monitoring, data collection and reporting be ensured during the project.
5. An end verification and impact assessment should be done after the completion of the project to assess the relevance, effectiveness and appropriateness of the project.