Global Disability Summit.
The first-ever global disability summit took place in London on 24th July 2018. The successful event was co-hosted by the UK Government, the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance (IDA).
The summit sought to establish processes and partnerships which will address inequalities faced by persons with disabilities in the society and create lasting change. As a result, over 170 institutions including governments, civil society, the private sector, and multilateral organizations made global and national commitments on disability inclusion at the Summit.
Local disability champions.
As we marked one year since the London event, the British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey launched two UK funded programs intended to support persons with disabilities (PWDs) in accessing employment opportunities.
The two programs, Innovation to Inclusion (i2i) and The Inclusion Works; aim at addressing key challenges facing Persons with disabilities particularly in accessing employment opportunities.
The two programs were launched in an event meant to celebrate achievements made since the Summit. Since the London event there has been some notable shifts locally which include; conversations regarding the inclusion of PWDs in all spheres of the society, more organizations are taking note of the 5% employment of PWDs among others. These are sure signs that commitments from the summit are getting traction.
Innovation to Inclusion (i2i)
This program will ensure all persons with disabilities are actively involved and retained in meaningful private sector work. It also helps to break down the key challenges PWDs face in accessing economic opportunities and waged employment in low and middle-income countries. This is to be achieved through developing, testing, validating, and sharing learnings from interventions that aim to directly improve access to waged employment.
The Inclusion Works!
This program aims at increasing disability inclusion in formal employment across both government and private sectors. In liaison with prospective employers, the program works to establish ways to include people with disabilities in the workplace on an equal basis with others.
Importance of the Two Programs
In his speech during the event, British High Commissioner Nic Hailey explained disability inclusion as an initiative that makes economic sense because the two programs will help ensure that gains received from economic development and private sector activity benefit everybody and at equal levels as well. “These new programs will support more people with disabilities into employment, and will help more employers access a new pool of talent for their business,” added Mr. Hailey
The partners exuded confidence in the programs; “Inclusion Works intends to work in partnership with more than 100 employers across four countries including Kenya. It will test new practices that are compliant with UN disability rights protocols and Kenya’s own Disability Act 2003 that reserves 5% of all private sectors jobs to persons with disabilities. The program is designed to include people of a wide range of disabilities, including blind-deafness and intellectual disabilities.” said Elizabeth Oyugi, Sight Savers Country Director.
On the other hand, Leonard Cheshire Spokesperson said: “Programs like i2i are essential in bringing together expertise from a diverse group of contributors, who all offer a unique and insightful perspective on the challenges people with disabilities face all over the world. Equal access to decent employment is an absolute necessity for people with disabilities and it’s important that we work together to develop frameworks that can be implemented in low and middle-income countries in order to affect change and create more inclusive societies.’’
The two programs were launched in the margins of an event to mark the milestones achieved since last year’s Global Disability Summit. The event brought together disability inclusion stakeholders, participants shared information on progress made in implementing commitments from the Summit and celebrated achievements on disability inclusion.
Article By: Linzer Kibebe