FADECO, Kagera Region, Tanzania

Sensitisation Programmes for People with Disabilities: Giving Voice to People with Disabilities in Tanzania

Title: Sensitisation Programmes for People with Disabilities: Giving Voice to People with Disabilities in Tanzania

Partner Organisation: Address: FADECO Community Radio, Plot 281/283 Kagera Street, P.O. Box 223, Karagwe-Kagera Region, Tanzania. E-Mail: fadeco@satconet.net Director: Mr. Joseph Sekiku

Project Duration: February 2012 - December 2013

FADECO is the abbreviation of the local NGO Family Alliance for Development and Cooperation. FADECOs mission is "working for sustainable development of the grassroots communities to alleviate poverty and improve standards of living". FADECO Community Radio (FRC 100.8 FM) is located in Karagwe/Kagera Region (North-Western Tanzania), and became operational in 2007. FADECO Community Radio is intended to be used by the community in Karagwe, to effect sustainable rural socio-economic development. The station reaches about six million listeners. 

Preliminary Partnership with Stem van Afrika
In 2009/2010, Stem van Afrika supported FADECO with EUR 10,000 for a project targeting Albinos in the Kagera Region. Under this project all 180 people with skin disabilities (Albinos) in Kagera region were identified and assisted to register under the Albino Society of Tanzania, Kagera Branch. Fifteen Albino children have been supported to attend school, and direct material assistance (for the purchase of sun glasses, sun lotion, hats, etc.) was granted.
Some of the results achieved (according to FADECO): The number of killings and assaults against Albinos has decreased, and security organs (police) agreed to grant additional security measures to Albinos in the region and beyond. By December 2007, a total of 50 Albinos had been killed and the number rose to 60 in 2010. In 2011, no reports were received of any killing, although one child was assaulted in Geita, North-Western Tanzania. Furthermore, the government of Tanzania has elected an Albino person as Member of Parliament, to represent the interests and concerns of persons living with Albinism.

Project Objective
The project region is characterised by poverty and the prevalence of witchcraft and superstition. Disabilities are still seen as "a curse from the Gods, or misfortune" and disabled or handicapped people (and their families) are often discriminated, marginalised and excluded from social community life and services, such as clean water and medical facilities. The project therefore seeks to address the problem of stigmatisation and social exclusion, especially of children with (physical) disabilities, through mass education and awareness raising in eight districts of the Kagera region, via radio. The main outcome the project intends to achieve is "behaviour/attitude change, a conducive policy framework towards disability, and increased community support towards people with disabilities".

Actions and Schedule
The following activities have been implemented:

  • Preparation of a register of individual handicapped people and existing interventions in six districts of the region. An inventory has been prepared (by six researchers) which results in the finding that 6.000 people with disabilities live in the region.
  • Some office equipment has been purchased: one desktop PC and printer, one digital camera, and three digital audio recorders.
  • Lobbying and advocacy meetings: Three meetings have been organised. One at local level, one at regional level (with regional umbrella organisations in Bukoba) and one on a rather national level.
  • Training workshops have been organised. CAMECO attended in June 2012 a combined stakeholder meeting plus one-day training session for journalists. In total about 30 persons attended the event. Representatives of regional as well as national organisations working with disabled people were present (such as the CCBRT Disability Hospital in Dar es Salaaam), a number of disabled men and women and local journalists/reporters including representatives from other radio stations such as Radio Kwizera and Karagwe FM (the latter group was present especially for the training part on how to report on people with disabilities which was facilitated by the local BBC Media Action collaborator). In total, presenters and journalists of five community oriented radio stations were trained and at different times trainers/mentors have been received from BBC Media Action, the Tanzania Media Fund, the Media Council of Tanzania and UNESCO. 
  • In 2013, four stakeholder meetings were organised (in June, September, October and November). Participants included representatives of associations of people with disabilities and the local governments, the CCBRT Disability Hospital in Dar es Salaaam, NGOs supporting vulnerable older people and orphans, the Tanzania Albino Society, etc. 
  • One training workshop (6 days) on income generation was organised for people with disabilities. The workshop trained people with disabilities on soap making and small scale food processing. It also covered topics like savings and credit schemes (SACCOS), basic book keeping and how to make a business plan. 
  • Production and broadcast of radio programmes.
    Eleven radio programmes and/or panel discussions (about 30 minutes each) were produced on skin disabilities (Albinism).
    Fifty two radio programmes were produced on physical disabilities, whereby one programme per week was produced by disabled people themselves.
    Twenty radio programmes and two spot messages on female genital tract fistulae were produced (in cooperation with CCBRT).
    Five radio programmes and four telephone feedback sessions were aired on GOITRE [GOITRE is a swelling of the neck or larynx resulting from enlargement of the thyroid gland (thyromegaly), associated with a thyroid gland that is not functioning properly].
    Four radio programmes and one spot were produced on visual disabilities. 
  • Public awareness campaigns at International World Days of People with Disabilities and Obstetric Fistula. 
  • A road show has been organised and the film "Under the Same Sun" (Under the Same Sun (UTSS) is a Canadian Christian Charity) was shown in public. 
  • Establishment of four listeners' clubs using Frontline SMS: FADECO collaborates with twenty reporters in the region. Those reporters are supposed to promote the establishment of local listener clubs. Each reporter was given ten wind up radios for the listener groups. (The 200 wind up radios were donated by UNESCO). Besides, they are equipped to use the Freedom Fone technology. At average, about ten SMS are received as feedback from listeners after each programme. 
  • The collected data of people with disabilities (telephone contacts) are entered into a Frontline SMS address book and used to send out bulk SMS.

Results and Achievements : 
Through the programming on Albinism and disabilities the problem of female genital tract fistulae was discovered as an unintended side effect. FADECO took over the issue (FADECO staff accompanies patients to Bukoba from where they can take a bus to Dar-es-Salaam) and in cooperation with the CCBRT between April and June 2012, fifty women could be treated in Dar es Salaam. So far, over 120 women benefitted from the support and it is planned that the cooperation with CCBRT continues. Furthermore, it is planned to expand the project to other districts in the region. Besides women with fistula, persons with cleft lips, goitre, sight problems and artificial limbs were assisted. 

For the first time various stakeholders were brought together (in 2013) and organised jointly the World Day for people with sight disabilities (White Cane Day) and the International Day of People with Disability on 3rd December 2013. In cooperation with CCBRT, FADECO marked (for the first time in Tanzania) the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.

Furthermore, there are some achievements to which FADECO Radio might have contributed: 

  • The police have been active in providing education on traffic rules and roads safety (road signs for people with disabilities), while local governments are slowly starting to introduce building policies which take into consideration needs of people with disabilities.
  • All local governments in Kagera region have appointed coordination offices for people with disabilities and also set aside budgets to support activities of people with disabilities. 
  • The Department for Community development provided small grants to associations of people with disabilities for economic and income generating activities. 
  • FADECO Radio has worked with local artists (musicians, poets) to produce music (songs, poems) highlighting rights and the freedom of people with disability which are broadcast on the local media. 
  • At least three person with disabilities have been trained to package content and produce radio programmes themselves.


 (PS: 22.08.2014)