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Cabinet in 2013 declared 03 November – 03 December as Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM).

Disability Rights Awareness Month 2019 (DRAM2019) is observed in the midst of a number of important events and announcements, inclusive of:

  • The outcomes of the 25 Year of Review call for accelerated action to meaningfully change the lives of persons with disabilities and their families, as gains since 1994 have been lagging behind other sectors;
  • The Concluding Observations from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities released in September 2018, assist with prioritization to strengthen measures that will promote, protect and uphold the rights of persons with disabilities in South Africa;
  • The Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for the period 2019-2024 provides renewed opportunity for government to mainstream disability across all programmes and services, and to put measures in place which will strengthen equal opportunities for all persons with disabilities;
  • The approval of the Khawuleza District-Based Coordination Model for integrated planning and service delivery, provides an opportunity for focused interventions that will meaningfully change the lives of persons with disabilities;
  • The country’s escalated focus on pervasive and escalating levels of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), inclusive of the launch of Emergency Action which will be implemented over the next 6 months; and
  • The revival of the Presidential Working Group on Disability as a strategic platform for engagement between the Executive and the disability sector.

The focus and approach to DRAM2019 was developed through consultation with all three spheres of government and organisations of and for persons with disabilities.

THEME AND SUB-THEMES

The theme for #DRAM2019 is 25 Years of Democracy: Together we must prioritise building a Disability Inclusive and Safe South Africa

DRAM2019 will focus on the disability inclusion commitments contained in the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), due for final Cabinet approval before the end of October 2019.

  • Week 1 (03-09 Nov) –

Priorities 2-3: Education, Skills, Health & Social Wage

Sub-Theme: Children and young people with disabilities empowered to chart their own destiny

  • Week 2 (10-16 Nov) –

Priority 4: Spatial Integration, Human Settlements and Local Government

Sub-Theme: Persons with disabilities living independently in the community

  • Week 3 (17-23 Nov) –

Priority 1: Economic Transformation & Job Creation

Sub-Theme: Persons with disabilities as owners of the economy

  • Week 4 (24-30 Nov) –

Priority 5: Social Cohesion and Safe Communities

Sub-Theme: Children and women with disabilities – feeling and being safe as equal citizens in their communities

  • Week 5 (01-03 Dec) –

Priority 5: Social Cohesion and Safe Communities

Sub-Theme: Growing a Disability Inclusive and Safe South Africa together 

COORDINATION

DRAM2019 is led by the Ministry in The Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD), working closely with Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS), other government departments and civil society.

At provincial level, the Offices on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (OSDPs) coordinate the campaign in collaboration with municipalities and civil society.

Municipalities working with their provincial SALGA Disability Rights Focal Points, will coordinate and support participation of persons with disabilities and their families in municipal, provincial and national events.

OBJECTIVES

  • To unite South Africans with and without disabilities, including children, women, youth, men and gender non-conforming persons in pursuit of the goals of building a disability inclusive barrier free South Africa where persons with disabilities can contribute actively to the development of their communities.
  • To mobilise active and patriotic citizenry and forge sustainable social compacts to rejuvenate society’s efforts to promote a national identity that celebrates its cultural diversity which is inclusive of persons with disabilities
  • To inspire hope and confidence in the ability of the South African Government, working in partnership with civil society, to address the common challenges facing persons with disabilities and society in general;
  • To advocate for accelerated implementation of White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • To communicate disability inclusion commitments contained in the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework as well as national and provincial programmes of action.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

  • Increased levels of awareness, as well as actioning of measures required to remove attitudinal, physical, cultural and information barriers experienced by persons with disabilities, leading to behavioural change within schools; education campuses; work places; places of worship and community activities;
  • Increased involvement of all South Africans, with and without disabilities, working as partners in building a sustainable and disability inclusive future.

ELEVATING UNDER-REPRESENTED GROUPS 

Within the spirit of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals commitment to ‘Leave No-One Behind’, particular attention must be paid to ensure that commitments are made with a focus on under-represented groups, inclusive of

  • persons with dyslexia,
  • persons with autism,
  • persons who are non-verbal,
  • persons with albinism,
  • adults with intellectual disabilities,
  • persons with psychosocial disabilities, as well as
  • children with disabilities and their families,
  • persons of short stature,
  • and in particular those living in rural and impoverished communities.

NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US

It is important that activists with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, either as designated representatives of disability organisations, or in their capacity as experts and champions,

  • participate in all aspects of conceptualization, planning, implementation and post-event/campaign analysis/evaluation at all levels;
  • be provided with platforms to represent the viewpoints of rights-holders in the media as well as during events.

ENSURING UNIVERSAL/FULL DISABILITY ACCESS TO ALL DRAM2019 ACTIVITIES

Hosts of events must ensure that all persons with all disabilities have full access to all campaign information and all activities during DRAM2019.

Universal/Disability Access, inclusive of the importance of reasonable accommodation support measures must also be a focus of content across all thematic weeks.

This is inclusive of

  1. Physical Access across the value chain

Venue selection must be determined by –

  • Public transport access if participants are expected to get to the venue by themselves
  • Wheelchair access meeting Part S Code 10400 standards (parking, entrance, walkways, all meeting/dining venues, accommodation etc) (https://www.sans10400.co.za/facilities-for-disabled-people/)
  • The quality and versatility of lighting in meeting venues must allow for adjustment and daylight/white lighting (yellow banquet lighting creates barriers)
  • A facility accessibility questionnaire can be requested from DisabilityRights@dsd.gov.za
  1. Communication Access

Communication access is inclusive of:

  • Qualified SASL interpreters for all events/press conferences
  • Ensuring that SASL interpreters as well as closed captioning (for hard-of-hearing persons who cannot hear the sound, but also do not follow SASL) are visible all the time for television broadcasting
  • Ensuring that visuals of participants have someone describing what is happening in the ‘silence’ on the screen for those who cannot follow the visuals
  • Ensuring that all photos/graphics posted on social media have a text descriptor for those unable to see the visuals and who rely on screen readers to read the descriptor text
  • Ensuring that all video’s posted on social media contain at least closed captioning, but preferably both closed captioning and SASL
  • Advocating that there are many ways of reading – “reading with eyes, ears and fingers”.  All printed materials must therefore be available in alternative formats such as audio, braille, e-text and large print.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Being a country campaign, the social media accounts of various departments as well as civil society organisations will string posts together using #DRAM2019. This will be our anchor hashtag, i.e. used in all posts.

A second hashtag #DisabilityInclusiveSA will allow for interpretation and creativity by government and civil society organisations to showcase work, elevate achievements and personalities, and to begin conversations on how South Arica can be disability inclusive in all areas of life.

The hashtags will be popularised through media and government use, as well as GCIS constant messaging.

  • On Twitter, we will use our handle @DWYPD_ZA to raise awareness and distribute messages.
  • We will work hand-in-hand with @Disability_SA and encourage all departments to tag @Disability_SA in their posts.  This handle has a following of disability organisations and persons with disabilities including influencers in the sector which can amplify our messages.
  • Our Facebook Page (@DWYPD_ZA) will also be used to host photos and to host a library of photos after events.
  • Our Instagram Page @dwypdza will be used to upload photos from events as well as our artwork during the month.
  • Content will also be shared on WhatsApp Groups of Journalists, as well as Government Groups.
  • The hashtag #DRAM2019 will be used to cluster posts. Conversations pertaining to #DisabilityInclusiveSA will utilise the second hashtag.

EVENTS CALENDAR

An integrated events calendar will be maintained and made available throughout the month.

Weekly updates will be posted.

Suggestions as well as events to be included on the events calendar, can be submitted to DisabilityRights@dsd.gov.za