President’s award marks two decades of campaigning work


A UK-based development agency has been recognised by an African president for nearly 20 years of campaigning work with disabled people’s organisations in his country.

Action on Disability and Development International (ADDI), which is based in Somerset, received the Chevalier of Merit award from president Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso.

ADDI was one of 20 voluntary organisations to receive the award at the presidential palace, at an event held to mark the 49th anniversary of Burkina Faso’s independence from France.

ADDI is supporting projects in Burkina Faso to strengthen disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and campaign for inclusive education, access to employment and an accessible environment, and to empower disabled women.

ADDI said the country had introduced a series of measures to improve the lives of disabled people, including setting up a department for disability issues, providing new employment rights, and ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Emilienne Sanon, ADDI’s regional director, said the award was a sign that the UN convention was having an impact on disabled people’s lives.

She said: “As a result of ADDI’s awareness-raising campaign on the convention and its support to the advocacy campaigns of networks of DPOs, the convention was ratified by the government of Burkina Faso, which adopted subsequently a domestic law to protect and promote disabled people’s rights.”

But she said there was “still much to be done” to ensure the convention had an impact on people’s lives, so ADDI would support DPOs to lobby the government to introduce the necessary laws.

Sanon added: “This honour rewards the hard work and dedication of our staff, the brave leaders of the disabled people’s organisations we work with and the commitment of the disabled people they represent.”

ADDI works with DPOs in 11 African and Asian countries, supporting and mentoring them in their fight for the right to earn a living and enjoy a family life, and access education and healthcare.

23 December 2009

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