Disability mainstreaming is critical in attainment of SDGs

Mr. Dennis Nyariki giving his remarks during the training

According to the 2019 population census, 2.2% (0.9 million) of Kenyans live with some form of disability, of which 1.9% are men, while 2.5% are women. This has partly informed government’s decision to recognize disability inclusion as a prerequisite in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) to ensure no one is left behind.

With the aim of enhancing equal opportunities, inclusion, justice and economic growth for People with Disabilities (PWDs), the government through the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPWD), has strived to ensure PWDs are accounted for and can participate in every aspect of life.

In line with their core mandate of facilitating Disability Mainstreaming Programmes (DMP) in the public and private sectors, NCPWD through the Disability Mainstreaming Department at JKUAT conducted a three-day disability mainstream training from 17th to 19th January 2023, for the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) staff and the disability mainstreaming committee. The training was organized by the JKUAT Gender Directorate.

Speaking during the training, Chief Disability Mainstreaming Officer at NCPWD, Mr. Dennis Nyariki, who is visually impaired, said, despite the many challenges that PWDs face such as segregation in places of learning where they have their own schools, high rate of unemployment due to low level of education, communication barriers among many others, the Council is prepared to help people with disabilities to lead a descent barrier-free life.

Mr. Nyariki while facilitating the training, noted that this could be achieved through the mainstreaming of disability in both the public and the private sectors, economic empowerment through provision of grants, availability of assistive devices and adaptive technology, among others.

“Disability is not an attribute of the person, it is the environment which he/she operates in,” he stated adding that “It is a club which anyone can join any time. Therefore treat PWDs as normal human beings.”

Disability mainstreaming is critical in the attainment of SDGs

While thanking NCPWD for the educative training, the Director, Gender and Mentoring Centre at JKUAT, Prof. Wanjiru Wanyoike noted that the university is passionate about creating a hub for PWDs by hosting regular trainings for its staff as well as the surrounding community in order to understand disability issues and accommodate those with disabilities.

She called for more investment in the staff with disabilities and access to physical facilities and other measures aimed at increasing their productivity.

While acknowledging the importance of the training, the Women representative of Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) JKUAT Chapter, Ms. Juliet Obel, advised the staff to create a conducive environment for the PWDs so that they can also feel accommodated and appreciated.

The training is a major step towards shifting peoples’ perception of persons with disabilities as objects (of charity, medical treatment and social protection) to subjects with rights, capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on free and informed consent as active members of the society.

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