Doctorate in Occupational Therapy for Business Owner in Namibia
A big dream is now a reality. It’s my time to improve my scope of practice through research implementation and to support the Namibian disability sector.’
The above are the words of the owner and founder of Spa Bliss Occupational Therapy Private Practice in Namibia, Dr Gwarega Chibaya, who graduated with a PhD in Occupational Therapy.
Supervised by Professor Pragashnie Govender and Professor Deshini Naidoo, Chibaya’s thesis was titled: Advocating for Action to Promote Implementation of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Namibia.
His research findings have revealed implementation gaps linked to limited information on the contents of the UNCRPD among persons with disabilities. The process of engaging stakeholders provided an opportunity to identify and reduce potential UNCRPD implementation barriers.
Through appreciative inquiry methods as part of participatory action research, a UNCRPD implementation strategic action plan was developed. ‘The action plan is aimed at developing an Education and Outreach Tool for the Namibia Grassroots Disability Community to promote disability rights discourse thereby accelerating the implementation of the UNCRPD in Namibia,’ he said.
‘The outcome of the strategic action plan is to empower persons with disabilities with knowledge on the contents and use of the UNCRPD. The ripple effect of empowering persons with disabilities using an education outreach tool exposes and challenges the embedded occupational injustices and inequalities,’ said Chibaya.
He pursued this study to widen his scope of understanding about inclusive policy implementation and practice.
The impact of non-inclusive COVID-19 pandemic policies was a challenge for Chibaya. ‘Empowering participants some of whom were misinformed, uninformed or under-informed on its impact, increased the enthusiasm of some persons with disabilities to take part in the study. Most persons with disabilities were left in misery, despair and helplessness, especially when they heard that people with comorbidities were dying.’
He said overall his study experience at UKZN was very impressive ‘given the supportive nature of my supervisors and the availability of study resources.’
Words: Nombuso Dlamini