By Peter Gitonga (KNA)
Humanity and Inclusion (HI) Kenya, a non-governmental organization, is partnering with the Turkana County Government to implement the “In-Business Project,” which aims to enhance the socioeconomic well-being of People with Disabilities (PWD) Micro-Entrepreneurs (MEs) within the Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kalobeyei Settlement, and Host Community in Kakuma, Turkana West sub-county.
A two-day meeting held in Lodwar focused on the rights of PWDs and strategies for their effective participation in business ventures alongside their non-disabled counterparts in Kakuma.
The meeting, supported by HI, developed strategies for PWDs in Turkana West to engage in Small and micro enterprises (SMEs).
The “In Business Project” is already supporting 75 micro-enterprises run by PWDs within Kakuma Camp and Kalobeyei Settlement in line with the KISDEP principles.
Moses Korea, the County Chief Officer for Education and Social Protection, commended the “In-Business Project” for its contribution to addressing the socioeconomic challenges faced by refugees with disabilities. He urged the program to expand its scope beyond Turkana West, considering the significant number of PWDs across the county who require support services.
Korea emphasized the importance of accurate data on the number, distribution, and specific needs of PWDs to ensure the program’s success.
Ruth Emanikor, the County Solicitor, highlighted Sustainable Development Goal No. 17, which emphasizes partnership for the goals and leaving no one behind. She stated that disability inclusion is crucial for breaking barriers and implementing affirmative action programs designed to redress past discrimination against individuals or groups.
Emanikor affirmed the County Government’s support for the initiative undertaken by the In-Business Steering Committee to enhance PWDs’ living conditions while upholding their fundamental rights and dignity.
Hebrews Idoka, the Deputy Director for Social Protection, stressed the existence of a strong legal framework supporting inclusive practices for the refugee and host community involved in business and livelihood programs.
Idoka identified stigma and discrimination, access to capital, infrastructure barriers, legal requirements for business operation, and the running of micro-enterprises by proxy for people with complex disabilities and high support needs as some of the existing barriers to economic inclusion for Micro-Entrepreneurs with Disabilities.
Justus Amoni, the Chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce (KNCC) Turkana Chapter, emphasized the importance of proper documentation and encouraged all stakeholders to collaborate effectively for the success of the inclusion concept.