The ongoing crises of African countries are well known around the world: HIV/AIDS, starvation, civil war and lack of formal education programs. What is not as well known is the suffering of Africa’s physically disabled, who typically do not receive much government assistance or legal support.
Dr. Lisa Lopez Levers, associate professor of education at Duquesne University, spent two months in Botswana, Africa, where she worked as part of an evaluation team for the Republic of Botswana’s Ministry of Health. The report from the visit, The Comprehensive Study of Social Safety Nets for People with Disabilities in Botswana, includes research on adults and children with disabilities, as well as other family and professional stakeholders.
The assessment, which is moving through channels at the Ministry of Health, is expected to assist the government of Botswana improve services for people with disabilities.
This is not Levers’ first time making recommendations to help an African nation. In 2005, she was part of another team that conducted a similar study for the Namibian government. Officials moved swiftly on their recommendations and implemented legislative change that improved the lives of people with disabilities in Namibia.
Levers has been visiting the southern regions of Africa since 1993, when she began working with those affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Her research shifted to the needs of vulnerable children left orphaned by HIV and AIDS, including those with disabilities. Levers will be in Botswana from Feb. 12 through March 19, where she will train teachers and counselors to work with children affected by AIDS.