|The Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 provides for a devolved system of governance which facilitates community participation in decision making and development. The National Decentralisation Policy (revised 2013) also emphasises the importance of community participation in the development process. The policy and legal framework prescribe the sub national structures which are intended to formalise the participation of citizens in the development process. At the sub-district level, the Ward Development Committees (WDCs) are established under section 36 of the Local Government Act No. 2 of 2019. The Act provides a legal platform for citizen participation.
A Ward Development Committee is (WDC) is a body comprising of part time members drawn from various sectors of society who must include, marginalised groups, appointed by the Town Clerk or Council Secretary for each ward in an area of a Local Authority.
Before this time, representation of persons with disabilities in WDCs was very low and not even there in some cases. This year district Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) networks mainly inspired by Kitwe network, engaged with Local Authorities in their districts to demand for inclusion of persons with disabilities in the committees in line with the Law. By the time of going to the press, nine district CBID networks across the country had pushed for inclusion of a record 130 persons with disabilities gender segregated as 45 females and 85 males in the WDCs in their districts. CBID network coordinators country wide have committed to supporting each other in ensuring maximal participation of persons with disabilities in district development structures.
It is hoped that with such increased numbers of persons with disabilities represented in ward development committees and in some cases Constituency Development Fund committees ,issues burdening persons with disabilities will not only receive attention but also much needed resources to address them.