2nd African Congress, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, October 2008
By Joseph Lukong, Secretary and Board Member of the International Stuttering Association. Coordinator General of Speak Clear Association of Cameroon. P.0. Box 9598 Doaula Cameroon. Tel +237 77 80 49 45. Email: Lujotar@yahoo.com, Joseph.lukong@stutterisa.org

1) Introduction: The International Stuttering Association, ISA and Action Contre Le Bégaiement ABC (Stuttering Association of Burkina Faso) organized and sponsored the Second African conference on Stuttering that took place in Ougadougou Burkina Faso from the 27th to the 30th of November 2008. The conference had as theme: STUTTERING IN AFRICA: What strategies for effective reawakening.

2) OPENING/ WELCOME CEREMONY: The opening ceremony that was attended by about 300 persons, took place at the auditorium of the CONSEIL BURKINABE DES CHARGEURS CBC (The Burkinabe shippers Council) and was chaired by the representative of the Minister of State in Charge of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Burkina Faso who was the patron of the conference. During the opening ceremony three speeches were made. The First by Dr. Moussa Dao, conference convenor and President of the ACTION CONTRE LE BEGAIEMENT (the Stuttering Association of Burkina Faso, the second by Mr. Benny Ravid, Chair of the International Stuttering Association ISA (who could not attend due to health reasons) speech presented by Mr. Thomas Krall, one of the ISA past chairs and present Board of director members and Coordinator of the Board and the last by the representative of the Minister of sate in charge of Foreign affairs and Regional Integration of Burkina Faso who declared open the conference. All the major newspapers, television and radio stations in Burkina Faso were present and carried the story of the conference in their respective media the following evening and days after.

The conference venue was a very calm environment at the CENTRE NATIONAL CARDINAL PAUL ZOUNGRANA CNCPZ (Cardinal Paul Zoungrana’s National Centre) which served as lodging venue for most of the conference delegates. The proceedings were conducted in English or French, the major international languages spoken in Africa and translated simultaneously from one language to the other.

A total of 21 keynote presentations were made of the initial 22 programmed. These were done by leading members of the International self help movement for people who stutter, renowned speech and language pathologists and researchers and leaders of existing National stuttering Associations in Africa. All of them touched on the latest development in international self help movement for PWS, latest developments in stuttering treatment and research.

14 testimonies were made by some African delegates attending the conference of the 16 earlier programmed. All these touched on their personal experiences as PWS and what the situation of stutterers is in their respective countries.

4) CONFERENCE DELEGATES: A total of about 230 delegates took part at the conference with a total of about 60 delegates coming out of Burkina Faso. Delegates from the following African countries took part at the conference. Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania, Cote D’Ivoire(Ivory Coast) Ghana, Togo, Benin, Tchad, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Cameroon

From out of the African continent we had delegates from Germany, France, the United States of America, Lithuania and the United Kingdom.

5) CONFERENCE RESOLUTIONS. The following resolutions came out of the conference:

  • The need for collaboration between African stuttering Associations to share information on self help issues, treatment and research in stuttering
  • The creation of a FEDERATION OF AFRICAN STUTTERING ASSOCIATION. A provisional committee of three persons made up of Moussa Dao from Burkina Faso, Joseph Lukong from Cameroon and Zan Camera from Mali will coordinate the implantation and working of this Federation
  • Emphasis was laid on the necessity for training of African Speech pathologists who specialize in stuttering to take care of PWS in Africa.
  • Advocacy to be made towards African governments in view of recognizing stuttering as a communication disorder and for it to be given due attention.
  • The ISA and other international bodies should offer financial and other assistance to young African associations to enable them to take off and work for PWS in their respective countries.
  • The wish to continue with African conferences on stuttering as this is a very good venue for African PWS to meet and learn from each other. To this effect it was resolved that the next African conference will take place in Kenya East Africa in 2011.
  • A millions thanks to the ISA and the ABC for the organizing and sponsoring this conference.

6) CLOSING CEREMONY AND PARTY. The closing ceremony was presided at by the representative of the Minister in charge of Basic (Primary) Education of Burkina Faso who promised that much attention would be given by her ministerial department to stuttering in Burkina Faso. During the gala night that was organized to close the conference some certificates of honour were handed out by Moussa Dao conference convenor to some persons and organizations in Burkina Faso who played a major role in the organization of the conference. Also certificates of honour were given to Anne Marie Simon, SLP from France for the prominent role she has played in the development of self help and clinical services in Africa and to the ISA represented by Joseph Lukong, the Secretary for the support the ISA has been giving to the organization of conferences on stuttering in Africa.

On the 1st of November, some delegates visited some tourist attractions in and around Ouagadou before departing.