LSC can stand for many things: Logistics and Supply Chain, Leukemia Stem Cell, Luxury Sports Coupe.  However, for the purposes of this blog, it stands for Local Steering Committee and in particular the LSC of the 16th biennial conference of the International Association of Special Education (or IASE) to be held in Magamba, Tanzania from July 14 through 17.

As I reported in my last blog entry, the campus of Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (or SEKOMU) will be the site of this conference and Toa’s new on-site director, Simon Collery, and I went to visit about two weeks ago.  We met the other members of the LSC and took part in one of the many planning sessions the committee has scheduled for this year up until the time of the conference.

Road trip!

In the words of Mama Munga, the former provost of the university and current director of postgraduate studies and international relations as well as the chair of the LSC: “We want the 16th biennial conference of the IASE to be a forum where everyone gets the opportunity to give and the privilege to receive.  There will be participants who communicate verbally whereas others will use non-verbal language.  Sign-language interpreters shall therefore be in place, acting as “bridge-makers.”  We pray for the task ahead so that we all can testify at the end of the conference that we were part of an endeavor in which every participant’s voice was heard.”

“At Vuga Press, around 300 copies of the conference program book will be printed.  SEKOMU will bear the responsibility to ensure that the book is available in braille print too.  No one should be excluded.”

“The Benjamin William Mkapa complex at SEKOMU includes an auditorium for 1000 people, 2 conference halls, and 6 seminar rooms.  This will be the venue of the 16th biennial IASE conference.  The building has ramps everywhere, thus participants using wheelchairs can access it fully.  A venue that is user-friendly to everyone will make us all feel at home.”

“In 2010, a solar water disinfection system (SOWADIS) was installed at SEKOMU, enabling the entire community to access safe drinking water.  In the following years, this technology was transferred to two special schools.  While we support challenged learners by training special education teachers, we also care about the health of those learners.”

From left: Dr. Albert Idahya, Rev. Anneth Munga, Mr. Benedict Mdabagi, Prof. Edward Bagandanshwa, Mrs. Lightness Mbila, Mr. Wilson William, Mrs. Lucy Mwinuka, and Mr. Ignatius Mutungi

Scenes from the February 20th meeting of the LSC

Again, from the indomitable Mama Munga: “We want this conference to unite us in our efforts of empowering persons with disabilities.  One way of doing that is to make education more accessible to learners with challenges and more relevant to the circumstances they live in.”

“The theme of this conference includes the words INCLUSIVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.  If DEVELOPMENT isn’t INCLUSIVE, it will leave others behind.  If DEVELOPMENT leaves others behind, it won’t be SUSTAINABLE.”

And from the Vision and Mission Statements of the International Association of Special Education: “IASE’s vision is to improve the quality of life and service delivery for all individuals with special needs.”

“IASE’s mission is to promote awareness and understanding of issues and developments related to the education and welfare of individuals with special needs throughout the world.”

This July 2019, SEKOMU shall become a melting pot of nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities in a common search for inclusive educational and welfare systems.  Won’t you join us?  Check out www.iase.org to register now!