A group photo of participants at the launch
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC), on 24th March 2017, launched Braille IEC materials to ensure that the visually impaired have access to and understand competition and consumer protection issues.
Speaking during the launch of the materials at Montfort Special Needs College in Chiradzulu, CFTC Executive Director, Charlotte Wezi Malonda noted that although the Commission has been distributing IEC materials to every district in Malawi, the IEC materials were inaccessible to the visually impaired.
“We found it necessary to transcribe all our IEC materials into Braille to bridge the information gap with the visually impaired. The Braille materials we are launching today will go a long way in widening information access as well as enhance the accessibility of our services, as a Commission of the people.
Malonda delivering her speech during the launch
"This is a demonstration of the Commission's commitment to ensuring the participation of all Malawians in the agenda of promoting competition and consumer protection in the country. Furthermore, this symbolises the Commission’s pledge to mainstream its day to day activities in line with existing Government policies on disability,” said Malonda.
President for the Malawi Union for the Blind, Mapopa Shaba noted that they were in darkness on issues of competition and consumer protection before the introduction of the materials.
“We only relied on others to explain to us issues of competition and consumer protection but with the launch of these materials we will be able to read on our own and take action. I would also like to encourage other stakeholders to follow the good example that has been set by the Commission to transcribe their materials into Braille so that we the visually impaired should be able to access them,” said Shaba.
Speaking at the function, director of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Disability and Children Welfare, Felix Sapala said he was happy the CFTC has decided to include everyone in their advocacy agenda, especially those with disabilities.
“It is delightful to note that this information will from today be accessible to persons with visual impairments in the country. This is a good initiative considering that the visually impaired constitute a special group of consumers whose rights may be easily violated by the traders due to their disability,” said Sapala.
Montfort Special Needs College Principal, Lucy Magagula noted that the launch of the materials has come at the right time when government is emphasizing on inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels.
“People with disabilities have been sidelined for a long time especially those with Visual Impairment on having access to information. People with visual impairment will be motivated as you have set a good example to other organisations to put information in accessible formats to all people taking into account the diversity,” said Magagula.