Surveys on food security and access to electoral processes for persons with disabilities are being done to fuel evidence-based advocacy in addressing challenges and barriers faced by this community
The Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD) has been conducting surveys on persons living with disabilities across Guyana in an effort to gather data to be used to inform future projects and advocacy strategies to benefit the community of persons with disabilities.
Ganesh Singh, Programme Coordinator at the GCOPD says 170 respondents took part in the survey assessing food security among persons with disabilities, with more than 100 respondents being food insecure i.e., they experience a lack of access to enough food to live an active, healthy life.
“Over 60% of the respondents, they are vulnerable as it relates to the food security so its not secure. Many of them only eat one or two meals per day. And we all know this is the reality because of the impoverished circumstance of persons with disabilities.”
Another survey is also currently ongoing to assess the experiences of persons with Disabilities with interacting with the polling process during National and Regional Elections (N&RE) and Local Government Elections (LGE).
As of 2020 there were approximately 30,000 persons with disabilities in Guyana eligible to vote.
Singh says this survey will assess barriers and challenges faced by persons with physical and/or sensory impairment disabilities as well as intellectual disabilities across different regions based on their past experiences within the electoral process.
“The results from the surveys will be used for evidence-based advocacy. And this will help to inform that process. We plan to have discussions with GECOM and other stakeholders to make the electoral more inclusive and acceptable to persons with disabilities.”
The Representation of the People’s Act mandates the right to vote by proxy for persons who are unable to vote due to blindness or physical disabilities. However, the GCOPD has been advocating for years for accommodations that will allow persons with disabilities to vote independently.
The GCOPD is a non-governmental organisation formed to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and to highlight the work of the organisation in the fields of education and skills development.