Original Research

Obuntu bulamu: Parental peer-to-peer support for inclusion of children with disabilities in Central Uganda

Ruth Nalugya, Harriet Nambejja, Claire Nimusiima, Elizabeth S. Kawesa, Geert van Hove, Janet Seeley, Femke Bannink Mbazzi
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a948 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.948 | © 2023 Ruth Nalugya, Harriet Nambejja, Claire Nimusiima, Elizabeth S. Kawesa, Geert van Hove, Janet Seeley, Femke Bannink Mbazzi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2021 | Published: 30 January 2023

About the author(s)

Ruth Nalugya, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Kampala, Uganda; and Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Associations of Uganda, Kampala, Uganda
Harriet Nambejja, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Kampala, Uganda
Claire Nimusiima, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Kampala, Uganda
Elizabeth S. Kawesa, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Kampala, Uganda
Geert van Hove, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Janet Seeley, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Kampala, Uganda; and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Femke Bannink Mbazzi, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Kampala, Uganda; and Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Abstract

Background: Obuntu bulamu, a peer-to-peer support intervention for children, parents and teachers to improve the participation and inclusion of children with disabilities (CwD), was developed and tested in Uganda. The intervention consisted of disability-inclusive peer-to-peer training and support activities. In this article, parent participation in and evaluation of the intervention are discussed.

Objectives: The study aims to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention.

Methods: A qualitative Afrocentric intervention study was implemented in 10 schools in Wakiso district in Central Uganda. Researchers purposely selected CwD aged 8–14 years, their peers and parents from 10 primary schools with on average three CwD per school. A total of 64 study parents (33 parents of CwD and 31 peers) were interviewed at baseline and endline. Two focus group discussions were held with 14 parents at midline. Parents also participated in a consultative meeting about the intervention design at baseline and two evaluation and feedback workshops at midline and endline. Thematic data analysis was conducted.

Results: Findings showed that parents found the intervention inspiring, acceptable, culturally appropriate and supportive, as it built on values and practices from their own cultural tradition. Parents reported that the intervention enhanced a sense of togetherness and belonging and helped them to develop more positive attitudes towards CwD and disability inclusion. They felt the intervention increased participation and inclusion of CwD at home, school and in communities.

Conclusion: The Obuntu bulamu peer-to-peer support intervention is an acceptable, culturally appropriate intervention with the potential to improve inclusion of CwD. Further studies are recommended to measure the effectiveness of the intervention.

Contribution: The paper contributes to existing evidence that there is need for more Afrocentric interventions, which built on cultural values and practices. Interventions based on indigenous values have a greater potential to be acceptable, can foster integration and are likely to be more sustainability to achieve disability inclusion. In the article we describe parental perspectives of the Obuntu bulamu intervention, an intervention to improve inclusion of children with disabilities, which was designed by children, parents, teachers, educationalists, and academics from Uganda

Keywords

inclusion; participation; inclusive education; peer support; belonging; Ubuntu; obuntu bulamu.

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