SITUATE Research Team Hosts Dissemination Workshop

A group of lecturers from the Department of Geography Education, University of Education, Winneba (UEW), has held a dissemination workshop at the North Campus Mini-Conference Room to present the findings of their research project, “Towards a disability-inclusive urban transport system in Accra and Nairobi: a policy practice agenda (SITUATE),” to key stakeholders.

The study established that of the various forms of transportation available in Accra, "trotro" services were the most popular among commuters with disabilities, owing to their inexpensive fares and accessibility. It, however, revealed a steep disparity between existing transport services and knowledge of Ghana’s Disability Act, 2006 Act 715. Contrary to sections 23 to 30 of the Act, none of the buses examined had a ramp, audio-visual technology, signage, dedicated seat(s), or priority space for commuters with disabilities.

 

Scenes of the ordeals special needs persons encounter when boarding "trotro" buses

 

Wheelchair users were the most affected, as the high floor heights of buses required a constant request for assistance in joining or disembarking from buses. For visually impaired commuters, the absence of wayfinding aids also translated into a constant request for assistance from conductors in ascertaining their location or making a trip projection.

In this context, the study sought to ascertain the level of knowledge of "trotro" operators regarding Ghana's Disability Act. Even though the Disability Act has been in effect for the past 15 years, none of the "trotro" operators with a minimum driving experience of 21 years engaged in the study had any knowledge of it. The investigation discovered that "trotro" operators' objection to modernising their buses to cater for People with Disabilities (PWDs) was not an act of defiance to the law, but rather a financial decision, as such replacement would increase their operational costs.

In line with the findings, the team, therefore, recommends an educational outreach programme on disability and Ghana’s Disability Act among “trotro” operators to help appreciate the realities of PWDs as valuable members of the community as well as the legislative provision for PWDs when it comes to transport delivery services.

 

Prof. Lucy Effeh Attom

 

The Dean, Faculty of Social Science Education, Prof. Lucy Effeh Attom, who chaired the seminar, underscored the importance of academics in researching topics that affect the most vulnerable in society. She praised the SITUATE researchers for focusing on the mobility and transportation issues that PWDs face.

She hoped that the project’s findings will inform and shape people’s perceptions of PWDs, giving them insight into the challenges PWDs go through in navigating their world.

 

Prof. Emmanuel Obed Acquah

 

The Director of Quality Assurance, Prof. Emmanuel Obed Acquah, speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor of UEW, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, emphasised the premium UEW places on disability studies and PWDs. He said Management had provided the necessary and friendly environment for the training of PWDs to enable them to contribute substantially to national development.

He expressed regret for the countless social injustices perpetrated against PWDs and hoped that the dissemination workshop will aid in addressing all of the pressing policies, priorities, practices, and agenda issues to correct such injustices.

 

Ms. Esther Akua Gyamfi, Esq.

 

The keynote speaker for the workshop and Secretary, National Council of Persons With Disability, Ms. Esther Akua Gyamfi, Esq. stated that the strategies for the achievement of the policy objective would include: developing standards for public transport vehicles in line with international best practices; incorporating pedestrian safety facilities, including those with disabilities, into the planning, design, and construction; and promoting the introduction of appropriate technology and innovations in public transport services.

She affirmed that the findings from the research would not only guard the implementation of the above-stated strategies but would complement the implementation of disability-inclusive policies and operationalise the implementation of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) policy for training and testing drivers with disabilities.

 

From bottom R-L: Dr. Enoch Sam, Dr. Esther Danso-Wiredu, Mr. Kwame Odame and Dr. Adams Osman

 

Members of the research project team are Dr. Enoch F. Sam, Dr. Esther Danso-Wiredu, Prof Samuel Kweku Hayford, Dr. Adams Osman, and Mr. Kwame Odame.

 

 

 

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