Sight savers Organization in partnership with Kenyatta University, on Thursday, held a dissemination workshop with various organizations dealing with matters of disability to share results of recent research on youths with disabilities’ life experiences, aspirations, and current engagements in their livelihoods.
The research workshop held at the Kenya Institute of Special Needs Education, Nairobi, is part of an inclusion program looking forward to identify challenges facing persons with disabilities in accessing health, education, and employment.
Among the attendees was the Ministry of Education represented by Deputy Director Special Needs Education Fred Haga, who was also the chief guest, and the National Council of Persons with disabilities, United Disabled Persons of Kenya organizations, who responded to different concerns by youths with disabilities.
According to Sapana Basnet Sight Savers Senior Research Associate, the research is aimed at understanding the life experiences and current engagements of the youths with disabilities, understanding their aspirations, and exploring ways of sharing the finding with decision-makers.
The research followed a community-based participatory methodology where 20 youths with disabilities were recruited as peer researchers from two study locations, Homabay, and Nairobi.
According to the research findings, youths With Disabilities face different barriers in their daily lives as discussed below:
- Youths with disabilities are denied opportunities to pursue technical courses such as engineering and medicine which they had aspired to take.
- Limited government resources to support those who want to join vocational training.
- Expensive appropriate learning resources and materials to suit different learning needs which contribute to poor educational performance and dropouts.
- Inappropriate assessments for persons with different types of disabilities led to stigma and discrimination from both learners and teachers, resulting in failure.
- Youths with disabilities under employment are compelled to do jobs that are not commensurate to their skills.
- They face discriminatory employment practices which have denied them job opportunities.
- Employers only recruit YWDs just to fill the 5pc quota set by the government and the retention is very poor.
- Physical accessibility in and around public buildings and workplaces remains a major barrier.
- Inaccessible public transport to different places which offer social services.
- Unsafe driving by reckless drivers on the roads is a threat to their road safety.
The findings from the research revealed a disconnection between policy provisions and their enforcement to those targeted, therefore, they have the following recommendations to the relevant bodies:
- The government to enforce mechanisms or policy instruments that promote the right to work on an equitable basis and should be enhanced through the role of various government structures like NCPWD to create accountability across ministries and hiring practices within the public sector.
- Government should roll out information management systems that cater to the diverse information access needs of YWDs to enhance increased awareness of employment and business opportunities.
- Disability mainstreaming should be integrated across the government agenda and incorporated into themes in the existing learning curriculum.
- Government should ensure the availability of modern learning materials for learners with disabilities in the retail platforms and encourage innovation through research to facilitate the adoption of technology in the development of learning materials to aid the delivery of
- Government enforcement mechanisms for disability-inclusive construction standards should be strengthened to promote physical accessibility including undertaking routine audits to enforce compliance.
- The public and private sectors should make deliberate efforts to employ YWD in compliance with the relevant Kenyan employment policies.
Mr. Haga termed the research findings as a lead for the ministry and other organizations in implementing policies guiding disability matters.