Assessment of the relationship between the level of awareness of the legislation and participation of persons with disabilities in national development: A case study of Bushenyi District
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Until the second half of the 20th century, it was rare that society recognized that disabled people have the same abilities, needs, and interests as the rest of the population. This study investigated the extent to which people with disabilities are knowledgeable about legislation pertaining to their rights of participation in national development. Specifically, the study sought to examine the relationship between the level of awareness of the legislation regarding PWDs and their participation in education, employment, politics and economic activities. The primary data were collected using questionnaires, in depth interviews and focus group discussions. A cross sectional survey design was conducted and a total sample of 105 respondents including PWDs, political and opinion leaders in Sheema, Ruhinda and Igara counties in Bushenyi District, Uganda were consulted. Data collected was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS). Descriptive statistics were used in presentation of findings. Research findings indicate that majority of the respondents were aware of their rights of participation in national development as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. Despite this however, participation of PWDs in education was still low; implying that there were other factors that hindered increased participation of PWDs in education. Regarding employment, the majority of the respondents were self employed due to inability to perform certain tasks that require physical fitness, low education and skills as well as the negative attitude of some employers towards working with PWDs. The participation of PWDs’ in politics was low due to factors like lack of funds for campaigns, inferiority complex, low levels of education, lack of sufficient information and lack of mobility devices. Likewise, lack of start-up capital, market for products and the negative attitude of PWDs towards work affected their participation in economic activities. In order to increase awareness and participation of PWDs in national development, the study recommended intensification of sensitization and counseling of PWDs on the importance of education, reforming the existing education to incorporate the needs of PWDs, formulating specific laws to prohibit discrimination of PWDs in employment and introduction of different forms of incentives and compensation to employers of PWDs.