Why a meeting on Disability and the Media?

The Zambia-led Preventive Initiative (ZPI), Disability HIV and AIDS Trust (DHAT) and 3Cs organized this workshop to sensitize the media on disability and discuss the various factors that result in disability exclusion. Disabled people are one of the most marginalized, socially excluded and poorest groups of people in Zambia. The workshop sought to create awareness among media persons on disability issues. Workshop participants discussed intensively and made useful contributions on strategic interventions to mainstream disability in the media.

Participants were drawn from various media organizations, both print and electronic. Disabled people also participated actively interrogating journalists over their failure to promote their developmental needs. After an introductory session to clarify the workshop objectives, a series of presentations were made in order to obtain an overview of the problems and priorities in the development of media reports to increase free flow of objectives, accurate and balanced information on issues of disability. Working group sessions allowed participants to analyze the challenges and opportunities for improved reporting on disability issues and mainstreaming of disability issues. The group presentations helped participants to look at disability in a wide variety of situations.


             Activities completed:

  • Conducted one Workshop with Media Houses on the Awareness Raising  campaign on issues pertaining to Persons with Disabilities
  • Conducting an Awareness Raising Workshop on Media Houses’ positive reporting on Persons with Disabilities issues on 05th to 06th September, 2012.

        Outputs were:

The workshop was one of the most successful.  There were 37 Participants. The results were excellent with all most 90% invited Media Houses in attending the workshop.

DHAT has on an on-going base actively engaging other partners to mainstream disabilities’ issues.

        Data Sources / Materials development / Publication:

  • Printed I.E.C materials
  • Documentation DVD
  • Photos


  • Media Houses
  • DPOs
  •  NGOs
  • Pick & Pay
  • Kanyama First Level Hospital
  • Number of meetings:

1 – Awareness Raising Workshop on issues pertaining to Persons with Disabilities

  • Number of Participants:    37  

        Media Outreach / Coverage: Press releases / Statements / Community mobilization:

  • Opening of the Workshop was covered by a female reporter from Muvi TV.
  • Muvi T.V reporter has positively reported on persons with disabilities who are champions.


  • Increased capacity of reporting on disability issues. The power of shared stories, participants were able to rate the disability issues under discussions with other persons’ lives and shared experiences with other participants.
  • Continuous of awareness rising is necessary, reinforcement and review of negative attitudes change and adequate time and air space by Media Houses is needed.


         Activities planned but not completed:

  •  All activities were completed.

        Key challenges (internal and external), including how you plan to address them during the next quarter:

  • Information must be accessible in appropriate form to the PWDs.
  • Report on the challenges faced by PWDs as well as highlight their successes.
  • Monitor policies adopted and check if disability issues are mainstreamed.
  • Promote employment of PWDs in the media.
  • Reveal Government’s non-compliance to ratified Children/Human Rights, MDGs and Country Legislation.
  • Media should play a role in promoting the empowerment of PWDs in the socio-political and economic sphere.
  • Media should highlight the health needs of mothers and children with disabilities.
  • Media must report on sports and recreational activities of the PWDs.
  • Information on HIV/AIDS should be accessible to all PWDs


Lessons learned – Key reflection(s) based on the experiences and learning of the period under review: 

The Media Houses and other Stakeholders are pursuing more awareness rising and will be having discussions with other personnel, on mainstreaming disabilities at all levels.

The reporting of positive issues on the programmes and articles pertaining to people with disabilities. We are confident that the society will demonstrate significant success.

Perceptions and Disability


– Perception generates attitude-no matter how educated one is, as long as the mind is set, it is very difficult to change the mindset.

-Traditional beliefs-a curse is the cause of the disability so the family or the community stigmatizes the person.

-Stereotypes-a visually impaired person walks into a shop to buy something and on first sight the shop owner says”we are not giving alms.”

-Participation in decision making-they think for you.

-Lack of knowledge on the rights of the disabled-sensitization.

-Good treatment and over protection-not allowed to participate / mix.

-DPOs being barriers to equity-always on the defensive, they want to receive things on a silver platter.

-Infighting within the disability community-lack of co-ordination.

-Constitution making process-not done in Braille.

-Mobility when blind-expecting someone to take you everywhere. Come out of the disability cocoon. Society will say you are like this so you cannot do this and you believe so you cannot fight for equality.


             I-Stories from individuals on how your work has improved their access to services

  • Wendy is a lady who uses crutches. She walks into a shop to buy something and the shop owner sends his worker to go and give her K500. Another day she is walking in the Industrial Area when a car stops and an Indian man offers her K1000. Wendy is one of the privileged few through HABITAT for Humanity which offers housing and mortgages but her concern is that the houses have no toilets and running water so if she is alone, how does she cope!!!
  •  Thomas Mutonga is a visually impaired man who suffered from measles at the age of 10. He was not taken to the hospital on time so he became blind.
  • He went to a number of schools for the blind for his primary education. In 1990, the family relocated to the village and since the father was no longer working, the family decided that Thomas should stop school and get married even though he had just qualified with stars to go to Grade 10 (with 7 points).
  • In May 1990, he decided to go to Katete with the help of Kazumba Roman Catholic Church.
  • A Ghanaian teacher who paid for his school fees was transferred from the place in 1991, so the people in the church took over.
  • In Grade 12 he obtained average results so he was not accepted at University. He then decided to work as an untrained teacher to raise money for college.
  • In 1995, he went to Nkrumah Teacher’s College to study English and Religious Education but he was almost sent back because there was no Special Education Lecturer to translate his Braille assignments and test. However, the College Counselor got him a type writer which he learnt how to use in 2 weeks. Thanks to that Counselor, Thomas was awarded a Certificate of Excellency at graduation.
  • He then went to teach at Katete Secondary School in 1998 and later at Chizongwe Technical High School.
  • In 2004, he went to University for his first degree. After graduation, the Department of Education, Psychology, Sociology and Special Education decided that Thomas should go back to University as a Staff Development Fellow (SDF) and he was appointed a full time lecturer. He is the first visually impaired person to hold the position at a University in Zambia.
  • Usually, when people see a disabled person, they perceive them as beggars. Journalists can come out with strategies that will educate the masses and make them understand.
  • Personal-Stories commended the Workshop as key to improvement of their work in future.  

Stories on the impact of your work on the beneficiaries / how it has changed their lives and well-being

  • The workshop was a starting point for change of negative attitudes on Media Houses’ PWDs’ issues reporting.
  • Women with Disabilities began developing self confidence upon realizing that the Media Houses reported negatively on disability issues out of ignorance.

Consent from people submitting  I-stories / Consent from people having their pictures taken:

  • Participants were requested for the need for pictures to be taken as part of the report. They automatically consented.


Submitted to substantiate the report:-

[ P]    Workshop Awareness raising report

[ P]    Training participants List as Appendix IV to the Workshop Report

[ P]    Financial Receipts

[ P]    Photo / Videos

[O]     PDF Copies of material developed

[O]     Consent Forms