Building Bamenda For Everyone I: Construction of Inaccessible Buildings Continue Unabated in NW, Despite Calls for Inclusion, Legislation

The continues neglect of accessibility considerations in infrastructure construction especially buildings is leaving persons with disabilities (PWDs) marginalized and excluded from public spaces in Bamenda,  North West Region of Cameroon. Despite advocacy efforts and legal mandates, the region grapples with inaccessible infrastructure, hindering the full participation of all citizens in societal life.

"We encounter significant challenges every day when trying to access public buildings. It's disheartening to see new constructions emerge without considering our needs," Loveline, a wheelchair user we met struggling to access a public building at Upstation Bamenda. "Accessibility is not a privilege; it's a basic human right that should be guaranteed to everyone." She adds angrily 
A partial view of Bamenda town

For over a decade, the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Program, spearheaded by the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS), has championed inclusive development. Through extensive sensitization campaigns, the SEEPD program has schooled a cross section of development stakeholders on the importance of constructing accessible public structures to foster equal opportunities for all including those with functional limitations. The program has signed partnerships with councils and organized even public award events to encourage inclusive development endeavours.

Yet, reflecting on the state of infrastructure accessibility, Samuel Nyincho, visually impaired and a staunch advocate for disability rights, shares his dismay. "Efforts have been made, but they fall short," he remarks. "Ramps are installed, but accessing public buildings remains a challenge, especially when offices are located on higher floors without elevators. New constructions, like some Council offices Bamenda town, are erected without any consideration for accessibility, exacerbating our struggles."