Saturday, November 12, 2016

IDRAC Speaker Spotlight: Professor Theresa Lorenzo and Siphokazi Sompeta

Creating Inclusive Communities: The Role of Community Disability Practitioners in Africa

Persons with disabilities and their families still experience stigma and a high degree of social exclusion especially in rural communities, which are often poorly resourced and serviced. Disability-inclusive development requires a workforce equipped with skills to work intersectorally and in a transdisciplinary manner in order to that will promote delivery of services in remote and rural areas. The IDRAC session on Friday at 9:30am Pacific will discuss research on these topics.

Professor Theresa Lorenzo is an occupational therapist and PhD Programme Convenor in the Division of Disability Studies, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). She has extensive experience in engaged scholarship focused on developing a transdisciplinary community-based workforce to facilitate the implementation and monitoring of disability-inclusive development in Africa, with a focus on youth and women. Her Second Life name is Fish Eagle.

Siphokazi Sompeta (née Gcaza) is also an occupational therapist in the Division of Disability Studies, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town. She was the former chair of the Community-based Rehabilitation Africa Network that has advocated for the implementation of inclusive development programmes with a particularly focus on rural communities. Her research has explored chronic poverty of disabled persons in rural areas and the training of community rehabilitation workers. Her second life name is Vulithongo, which means Dream Opener in Isi-Xhosa, her mother tongue.

Together they will present an academic paper that explores the local experiences and practices of community-based disability workers (CDWs) in resource-limited rural communities in Botswana, Malawi and South Africa. It explores CDWs’ activities and strategies to contribute to improving the lives and increasing the levels of social, economic and political inclusion of people with disabilities, their families and communities. They argue that these competencies should be consolidated and strengthened in curricula, training and policy.

Three main themes emerged demonstrating the competencies of CDWs. First, integrated management of health conditions and impairments within a family focus. Second, negotiating for disability-inclusive community development. Third, coordinated and efficient intersectoral management systems.

Be sure to join us for this very informative presentation at the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) on Friday, the 18th of November, 9:30 AM Pacific Standard Time.

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