September 2021

Dear friends and colleagues

At the beginning of our last newsletter at the end of 2020 our  comment was “What a year we have had” well the same can be said again – “What a year we have had”! It has flown by, and yet we still sit with the pandemic, and it is still very much ruling our lives!  So our best wishes go out to you all and hope you are doing well.

Luigia Nicholas has come on board to assist us with our marketing. It is her, who post news on our Facebook page – We do hope that you have all looked at the page and have ‘liked’ our FB page- Luigia and Hillary are also revamping the webpage. 

In brief- topics covered in this Newsletter:

  • Governing board
  • AfriNEAD Membership:
  • Report on the AJOD: African Journal on Disability
  • Research workshops for Disability Research Country Working Groups (DRCWGs
  • Report on partnership meeting:
  • Expression of Interest for the GAATO Grand Challenges in Assistive Technology Outcomes

Governing board

Up until recently AfriNEAD has had a ‘core group’ which actually has always been the governing board for AfriNEAD. Members of the Core Group have been the guiding structure and support for AfriNEAD governance right from the start in 2007, for which we thank everyone who has contributed their time. Going forward we are in the process of drawing up what we have been advised  to call a Governing Board, which is supported by a Governance Document similar to a constitution.  This just  takes AfriNEAD onto a more formal footing. 

AfriNEAD Membership

Currently AfriNEAD does not have a membership fee.  As far back as the 2014 Malawi conference, an idea was mooted that we should have a membership fee, and indeed there were a handful of people who paid R150 towards it.  Then again at the 2017 conference in Ghana, the thought came of putting a portion of money aside from registration fees, but this did not happen as well.  So with the 6th AfriNEAD conference in December 2020  we have calculated the amount and have earmarked that money for registration fees for 2021 year cycle. We are also aware that not everyone that is part of AfriNEAD attended the conference. This only includes people that attended the conference. This means that there are many people that are left out as they did not attend the conference. The AfriNEAD Secretariat and Governing Board are finalizing a memo that will be circulated after the Governing Board meeting in November giving a way forward for management and payment of membership fees from 2022.

Report on the AJOD

African Journal on Disability is our online journal – meaning that anyone can go online and read any article that is published This is a journal started by AfriNEAD, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (CDR) and as such we are very proud of this achievement.  Anyone wishing to do research on any aspect of Disability might first check online to see if the subject has been covered.

The previous Editor in Chief had been Prof Leslie Swartz who ensured that the journal gets an international recognition, and now this job is in the excellent hands of Dr Charlotte Capri. Trudie Retief is the publishing manager at Oasis, with whom AfriNEAD meets regularly to gain feedback from Trudie and how the journal is doing.

At a recent meeting it was reported that there was a challenge with reviews that were slow in the uptake, and that authors needed reminding to submit their articles. That authors could be asked to provide their articles in a form of an abstract.

A special issue of about 9-16 articles, is always produced following an AfriNEAD conference, which is made up of papers presented at the conference and who have been invited to represent their paper as Articles – soon the special issue from articles from the 6th AfriNEAD 2020 conference will be published.

Research workshops for Disability Research Country Working Groups (DRCWGs)

AfriNEAD is about research in Africa for people with Disabilities, by people with Disabilities! That is the dream of Prof Gubela Mji the chairperson and the founder of AfriNEAD. However to achieve that dream, her legacy, she first had to create a footprint in Africa! This has taken 15 years, but with the footprint of AfriNEAD now in at least 19 countries across Africa, the most important work of DRCWGs can and has taken off, with lighting speed and DRCWGs have been now started in 11 countries .  The model of DRCWGs, is to bring together researchers, with and without disabilities, to engage with stakeholder on what research is being done in their country and to engage with other – government, policy makers, other NGO’s etc., to make sure the research has a direct effect on the lives of people with Disabilities.

We are very excited because we now have active groups in Uganda,  Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia and hopefully soon the DRC and Cameroon.

So currently the mother body – AfriNEAD- has quarterly meeting of 2 hours long with these groups.  The first hour is spent doing a feedback on what has been done in the previous quarter and then the 2nd hour is spent presenting a mini workshop.  This first workgroup, Gubela introduced the groups to concepts related to the Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) of the 50 minimal Assistive devices recommended by the WHO for PWDs, the second workshop  was the introduction the 12 part Motivational workshop by Musa Zulu.  As a person with a disability, Musa is known for his ‘can do’ attitude and this is going to be an interesting journey with him.

In the October we shall be hearing about the Washington group (WG). The WG on disability statistics promotes and coordinates international cooperation in the area of health statistics focusing on the development of disability measures suitable for census and national surveys. The major objective of the WG is to harmonise disability statistics and provide information on disability that is comparable throughout the whole world.

The workshop is on Wednesday 13th October and a minimal fee will be asked for registration to the workshop.

So, if you would like to become or start a DRCWGs,  please contact us on for more information.

Report on partnership meeting

AfriNEAD  Is current developing one MOU that will govern the relationship between AfriNEAD and partners linked to the network. Once this document, has been finalised, fresh invites will be sent to both existing and prospective partners inviting them to partner with AfriNEAD. This will be followed by signing of an MOU with AfriNEAD.

Expression of Interest for the GAATO Grand Challenges in Assistive Technology Outcomes

The Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organizations (GAATO) is working on a global project to identify the top challenges or issues in assistive technology outcomes. As part of this project, they are holding regional consultations in each of the World Health Organization Health Regions.

We are looking for expressions of interest from individuals or organizations who are interested in participating in a discussion on Assistive Technology Outcomes in Africa.

The African Regional Consultation, supported by the African Community on Assistive Technology (ACAT), will be held as two, two-hour meetings on 28/09/2021 and 05/10/2021. The meeting will be conducted virtually on the ZOOM platform, and will be held primarily in English, with breakout rooms in other regional languages (i.e. French/Portuguese) as needed.

If you are interested in participating, please complete this form. We will be selecting from those who express interest below, and may not be able to include all those who are interested. We will send formal invitations with meeting information, including a link to the meeting once all expressions of interest have been received.

Please express your interest in participating no later than 03/09/2021.

Link to the survey on Decent work and COVID-19 for persons with disabilities from University of Fort Hare


On the 26th of August Gubela, Hillary and Nondwe, paid a visit  to Editmicro systems to thank them for the wonderful support they gave us, in hosting and greatly assisting us in the virtual 6th AfriNEAD conference.

Here we have Gubela standing next to the wall hanging commissioned by Hillary and also holding a small wall hanging for Gubela’ s office.