The Department of Rehabilitative Sciences at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) joined forces with the Motivation Charity Trust (MCT) to organize a groundbreaking two-day training event on September 19th and 20th, 2023.
This innovative training program aimed to equip community disability leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals with disabilities.
The primary goal of this unprecedented training was to empower these leaders to better comprehend the comprehensive needs of potential wheelchair users and to serve as Referral Screening Actors (RSAs) who could connect individuals with vital community services.
Mr. Charles Kanyi, Regional Service Development Coordinator at MCT, emphasized the critical role played by RSAs in linking individuals with disabilities to essential services such as healthcare providers, rehabilitation centers, and social support networks.
The community disability leaders selected from Kiambu and Murangá Counties, situated near the university, underwent training that encompassed a holistic approach to disability support. This approach went beyond merely providing mobility aids like wheelchairs; it included understanding the emotional, social, and physical aspects of disability to offer tailored support.
Moreover, the training highlighted the importance of preventing pressure sores, a common concern for wheelchair users.
Ms. Catherine Waiyego, a Motivation Peer Trainer, shared her personal experience with pressure sores, emphasizing their severity and potential consequences. Participants learned strategies to help wheelchair clients avoid these painful and dangerous conditions, ultimately improving their quality of life.
The program also addressed the challenging task of reintegrating patients into the community, an aspect many disability leaders acknowledged as problematic. They recognized the role of JKUAT’s wheelchair project in enabling patients to regain their independence and social connections.
Community disability leader Mr. Simon Ndaruga expressed his gratitude for the training, acknowledging how it broadened his understanding of wheelchair clients’ diverse needs. He highlighted that it’s not just about providing a wheelchair but offering a pathway to a better quality of life.
This initiative received strong support from the local community, including organizations and government agencies whose managers were previously trained.
During the closing ceremony, the leaders received certificates, and Dr. Mwangi Matheri, the Wheelchair Project Lead and Chairman of the Department of Rehabilitative Sciences, reiterated the university’s commitment to training more students and forming additional partnerships to expand their reach.
This initiative reflects the dedication of community disability leaders to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for wheelchair users. Their newly acquired knowledge and skills are expected to rectify harmful practices like wheelchair sharing, ensuring that individuals receive the appropriate wheelchair as approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). Ultimately, this training program represents a significant step toward a more inclusive society for individuals with disabilities.