The Disability Protection Association (DPA) works to empower people with disabilities in Somalia to maximize their potential and improve their standard of living.
People with disabilities face problems accessing health services due to several reasons including inaccessible buildings, long distance to the health unites, lack of communication especially the deaf, negative attitude, of health workers and the high cost for medical services. The health component of DPA's work aims at increasing access of to health services. It involves accessibility to health and disability information through a community resource centre. It also involves disability assessments and screening by specialists, provision of specialized medical and surgical treatment and home based care. DPA would like to venture into establishing health units that will provide accessible health services which can be used by the community, hence, a source of income the organization.
Many disabled adults miss formal education and lack functional/employable skills that would enable them engage in development activity. Currently, DPA supports people undertaking vocational skills training in such courses as tailoring, carpentry and joinery, salon, computer and secretarial work, electronic, shoe-making and catering at technical institutes of Somaliland.
The training also involves life and business skills to enable people with disabilities to cope with challenges of disability, create own employment and sustain themselves when they go back to their communities. The programme provides toolkits on completion of the training to ensure they put to use the skills learnt.
Despite the government policy of education, most children with disabilities do not attend school and those who endeavor to attend experience high levels of school dropout. In order to address the educational challenges of children with special needs, DPA is planning to support training of special needs teachers, construct and establish a fully fledged primary school to cater for children with special needs and children of disabled parents and provide scholarship to university level.
DPA believes that one of the most effective means of realizing its vision is by supporting development of a vibrant and representative disability movement that is actively promoting the rights of all disabled people in Somaliland. The human rights and policy advocacy component therefore aims to facilitate the growth of disability movement in the country so as to bring about lasting social change. DPA supports organizations in their campaign for rightful inclusion of disabled adults and children in the society. The program targets policy makers at regional and district levels, undertakes research into political, economic, social and cultural trends of people with disabilities and writing positive papers.
In eastern parts of Somaliland, there was political conflict between minority clans loyal to the federal government of Somalia and majority loyal to the self-declared state of Somaliland. This conflict has been existed in the two biggest regions of Somaliland. Apart from this political conflict, there are many conflicts between those clans based on national resources utilization and management such as grazing land and water. This conflict is sometimes turned to civil war in which many civilians are killed, wounded and displaced. All people in those areas are equipped with light guns to defend their assets from others. To reduce this conflict, DPA has been working in conflict resolution and peacebuilding for the last 4 years in working with grassroots communities, government institutions and other funding partners.
- DPA has successfully improved physical access to many buildings including schools, water sources, public offices, hospitals and other places. This improved accessibility has increased access of persons with disabilities to the benefits and services of schools, water points, offices and hospitals in Somaliland.
- DPA has increased participation of persons with disabilities in mainstream education and vocational skills training institutes in Somaliland which enabled many of them to access to employment and income generating opportunities. This reduced poverty among persons with disabilities in the country.
- DPA has reduced outbreak of conflicts between clans in different political views after strengthening public awareness on the importance of peace, and capacity building of grassroots communities in conflict resolution, conflict mitigation and peacebuilding.