People With Disabilities Solomon Islands (PWDSI) has welcomed the launch of the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) policy 2022-2024.
For the first time ever, Solomon Islands has developed a policy that has been translated to braille which the visually impaired are able to read.
Developed by the SIEC with UNDP and DFAT, through the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in the Solomon Islands (SECSIP) Project, the GESI policy aims at building an understanding of issues related to gender equality and social inclusion when administering and conducting elections.
The Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) policy 2022-2024
The policy promotes the participation of everyone during elections and ensures that regardless of gender or ability, everyone has the right to have access to the electoral process.
Speaking to SIBC, Chief Executive Officer of PWDSI, Mr. Casper Fa’asala, said the policy is an achievement for the country.
PWDSI CEO Casper Fa’asala
“I am proud to say that for the first time ever we are able to have a policy which is developed and translated to braille. This is a great achievement for Solomon Islands as when we talk about inclusion, we really mean it by developing and putting it into action.
The same policy can now be read by those who are blind and those who are not. Those who cannot see can read it with their fingers and in this way, they can better understand it themselves.”
Braille is a tactical reading and writing system whereby raised dots are placed on papers, creating something for those who are blind or have low vision to read.
They read by using their fingers to feel the dots.
Copy of the braille translated policy
Mr. Fa’asala also encouraged the government and stakeholders, to reach out to them should they consider translating policies to the Braille system.
“People with disabilities would love to work with government ministries and different statutory bodies in translating their different social inclusive policies to braille. Not only can we help you with braille but with sign language as well as it also has a short form of their own readings.”
“By doing this, people with disabilities can read it, understand it, and translate it according to how they live.”
Meanwhile, Chairlady of the Electoral Commission, Ta’asi Sangi encourages SIEO and its partners to use the policy as a guide when administering their duties.
“I am very happy on behalf of the Solomon Islands electoral commission to launch this policy. This policy was not easy to develop, and it took a while before it was finalized.
I trust that this policy will guide the Electoral Commission and its key partners such as the people with disabilities, organizations who are promoting gender equality and especially social inclusion, when making decisions during election.”
The launching of this policy brings Solomon Islands a step further to its commitments on social inclusion.
The country has been a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2008.
However, it is yet to ratify the convention.
By Eliza Kukutu