Among the many ongoing and new crises, persons with disabilities suffer the most when they cannot escape or access services, creating a crisis within a crisis. This is why CBM intervention is urgently needed.
It is a good time to take stock of what CBM has achieved for persons with disabilities in developing countries in the first half of the year.
While 2022 promised to settle down, new challenges have emerged that have shaken the global world order as much as Covid 19. The war in Ukraine has caused terrible suffering, thousands of people have been killed and injured, and a quarter of Ukrainians have had to flee: almost 10 million people according to the UN. The eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano in DR Congo, the earthquake in Afghanistan, and the drought in the Horn of Africa.
Among the many ongoing and new crises, persons with disabilities suffer the most when they cannot flee or have no access to services, creating a crisis within a crisis. This is why CBM's intervention is urgently needed.
CBM does much more than the projects described below, but these examples give a good idea of the broad range of our activities.
In April, CBM launched a four-year project aimed at reducing preventable visual impairment and blindness in Kenya. Targeting ten counties, the Vision Impact Project (VIP) will provide comprehensive quality eye health services. To reach millions of people at risk of visual impairment, this project focuses on strengthening health systems, including at primary health centres in communities. The focus on community-based health centres ensures that once the project is completed, communities will continue to receive the services they need at equipped health centres near them and will only be referred to specialised eye clinics when needed. Learn more about Emmanuel's turning point here.
Still in Kenya, CBM's humanitarian aid team has saved millions of people from starvation in the Turkana region. Extreme drought has hit the Eastern African country and its neighbours in the Horn of Africa. Entire populations have been driven out of their homes in search of water for their families and livestock. People are in great danger of starving and dying of thirst. CBM, through its partner AICHM (Africa Inland Church Health Ministries), is supporting children, women and men with food, water aid and school feeding. Read more here.
On the occasion of International Albinism Awareness Day, CBM called for raising awareness of Albinism by highlighting the plight of four-year-old Aisha. Little Aisha from Uganda is cut off from participating in the life around her. Throughout the day, she sits in the shade and watches other children play. Only after sunset can the girl move freely outdoors. Aisha has albinism. She is the child of parents with black skin. Therefore, it was a surprise for them when Aisha was born with white skin. With the support of CBM's partner hospital, the Mengo Eye Clinic, Aisha has received medical and rehabilitative help. Soon she will be going to school and learning. Watch Aisha's story here and read about our call to action here.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
CBM strengthened its focus on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in DR Congo with the training of surgeons and implementation of a surgical treatment campaign for trachoma trichiasis (TT) in Sud Ubangi province, DRC. Trachoma is a disease caused by a bacterial infection of the eye that leads to scarring on the inside of the eyelid. The eyelashes reverse and begin to rub on the cornea, causing blurred vision and eventually blindness.
Currently, CBM's Inclusive Eye Health and NTDs team and partners are working with the government on 10 NTD projects in nine provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, treating about 20 million people annually. Read more here
CBM, in partnership with GOAL Honduras and the Association of Honduran Miskito Divers with Disabilities (AMHBLI), will support treatment, physiotherapy, and provide medical aids for divers with disabilities in Honduras. In the indigenous Miskito communities of Honduras and Nicaragua, diving for lobsters, sea cucumbers and shellfish provides a livelihood for thousands of people. Unfortunately, the multi-million dollar industry also leads to paralysis and physical disabilities among divers due to decompression sickness. CBM, GOAL Honduras and AMHBLI will improve rehabilitation services by supporting the Puerto Lempira Hospital Rehabilitation Centre where divers can receive treatment and physiotherapy. More here
CBM provided 4.3 million euros in humanitarian aid through the European Disability Forum (EDF) to support the people in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. With this, CBM aims to improve the situation of persons with disabilities, displaced persons and refugees affected by this crisis.
The focus of CBM's assistance to the EDF is on:
- Supporting persons with disabilities in collaboration with Organisations of Persons with Disabilities to identify their needs and link them to available services. This includes evacuation transport, accessible shelters, food, medical support, hygiene items and equipment such as wheelchairs.
- Advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the broader humanitarian response in Ukraine and European Union countries as people flee the war.
- Ensuring the recovery of persons with disabilities and building the capacity of the disability movement in the long term. More about our intervention.
We capped off the first half of the year with the launch of the Forum on Advocacy for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Togo. The Forum will advocate for the full participation of persons with disabilities in various discussions, decisions and actions that will help the country achieve inclusive development. The Togolese government has pledged its support and recognised the need for inclusion as a social responsibility of the country.
The forum brings together stakeholders involved in the implementation of disability inclusive development in Togo, as well as local authorities, international associations, organisations of persons with disabilities and the media. More here
CBM's Vietnam project was awarded the 2022 Zero Project Award for promoting accessibility for persons with disabilities. The award recognised our Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) work, which reduces the impact of disasters on affected communities. We aim to ensure that persons with disabilities, older people, pregnant women, children and other at-risk groups are not left behind when disasters strike. The winning approach converted village cultural houses into accessible shelters for persons with disabilities during floods and landslides. Learn more about it here.
CBID Report 2022
Our work on Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) is summed up in our CBID Report 2022. Along with the continuing impact of the pandemic, we have seen the communities we work with struggle with the consequences of climate change and the effects of the war in Ukraine, such as rising food prices and inflation. These crises have severe consequences on the most vulnerable populations, so the CBID approach of putting communities in charge and persons with disabilities at the centre has never been more important.