International Week of the Deaf (IWD) is celebrated annually by the Deaf communities around the world during the last week of September. The project countries were not left out.
Under the theme of the year: “Reaffirming the human rights of deaf people”, it was for the deaf communities’ members to encourage the stakeholders to come together to support the need to guarantee and promote the human rights of deaf people. This was a great opportunity to officially address the entire social body and particularly state authorities, a plea in favor of strong commitments for a policy of promoting the human rights of deaf people through sign language, in accordance with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The authorities in the WCARS project countries were encouraged to support the use of sign language in schools, hospitals, airports, churches, police stations, etc. to allow people who are not deaf to be able to communicate easily with deaf people. Just as English, German and Spanish / Portuguese are taught in schools, it is desirable that sign language should also be for a good diversification of languages in the project countries. Thanks to the support of the WCARS project, the project countries celebrated the International Week in the following ways:
In Ivory Coast, members of the deaf community celebrated the international week with a press conference to sensitize the medias and national government officials on the importance of Sign Language and the problems faced by deaf people in their daily lives They also advocated the political and administrative authorities, national institutions, and communities through a round table for the consideration of Sign Language in basic public and social services. A video report recommended by the World Federation of the Deaf on the Challenge of Leaders for the Promotion of Sign Language was organized.
In Mali, it was a press conference on the deaf education and an advocacy meeting with the Prime Minister on the needs of deaf people that were organized in the presence of the medias.
In Togo: advertising spot on the deaf rights and potential of the Deaf, television debates and radio program on Deaf issues.
On the sidelines of these activities, the leaders of the deaf community organized International Sign Language Day by carrying out advocacy actions with:
- Ministry of Communication for the translation of all televised information into sign language to ensure accessibility for deaf people to national and world news
- Ministry of Social Action, the Promotion of Women and Literacy to sensitize on the sign language interpretation services.
- Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training for equitable access for deaf people to technical education and vocational training through sign language.
Deaf community members in Niger emphasized sign language as a critical condition and introduced the public to Deaf culture by organizing both training and awareness raising for traffic police officers on sign language. They also carried out an advocacy workshop on sign language.
Hopefully the various advocacy activities carried out by the project associations will surely bear fruit for the benefit of the deaf community and their countries in general.