EXPERTS OPINION ON DISABILITY BBI The following Memorandum has been authored by experts based on best practises in the globe. We shall demonstrate how to advance the rights of persons with disabilities based on human rights model.

The following Memorandum has been authored by experts based on best practises in the globe.  We shall demonstrate how to advance the rights of persons with disabilities based on human rights model.

This Memorandum Its also informed by the lived experiences and collection of views from persons with disabilities.

We therefore seek to offer our technical expertise.

Paul Mugambi is a public policy diversity Inclusion and sustainability expert while

DR Siyat is an independent disability consultant.

 

To the Joint Secretaries,

 Ambassador Martin Kimani, Mr. Paul Mwangi,

National Steering Committee on Implementation of BBI Taskforce, 

12th Floor, Kenyatta International Conference Centre.                               

 

Dear Sirs, 

RE: RESPONSE TO THE PUBLIC participation in matters of public interest.

 

Background

We believe the BBI final report will reflect the views of persons with disabilities.

Through most of the affirmative solutions suggested Kenyans with disabilities will feel more included than the current situation where Kenyans with disabilities are yet to enjoy the fruits of being Kenyan.

We believe we are enriching the 9-point agendas.

 

 

           recommendations:

  1. The current National Council for Persons with Disabilities whose mandate is to implement on rights, privileges, and protection is limited and we request for the establishment of a robust national disability service commission “NDSC” with the following mandate:
    • Inquiries on disability discrimination and rights violation among persons with disabilities.
    • Regulate and offer policy direction on matters disabilities.
    • Monitor and evaluate disability services.
    • Fund Disability Service Organisations and organizations of disabled persons to deliver disability services and products.
    • Establish a National Disability Advocacy Program under the CS Social Protection/CS Disability portfolio and fund advocacy targeted disability advocacy service organisations that have proper operational governance in the advocacy and linkage programmed “ALP.
    • Formulate policies on national disability service standards and national advocacy standards that provides guide to disability service organisations and disability advocacy organisations to audit their KPIs.
  1. The Government printers should have a unit assigned to produce information in alternative formats electronic braille, hard braille, audio, sign language and easy to read format as envisaged in the UNCRPD and constitution.
  2. All government public forms and information available online to be accessible to people with any disability.
  • Provide text-to-speech functionality to read a site’s content aloud and encourage the use of Assistive technology (AT) products developed with the intention of meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
  • Put in place guidelines to remove common barriers to web accessibility so as not to exclude people with any disability because the internet is used in government, health care, education, finance and other essential areas equally impacting on the lives of persons with disability.
  • The National government, the County Governments, public and private organizations to offer equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities, giving them the ability to actively participate in society.
  1. Establishment of braille authority which will regulate reading and writing of braille language certify braille instructors.
  2. At list 4 % of the national budget should be dedicated to the Kenya National Disability Service Commission.
  3. All county governments should have at list 3 % of their budget dedicated to disability services.
  4. All Counties should appoint CS with portfolio on disability.
  5. The national employment authority should establish a disability employment services department with the following mandate:
  • To be in charge of disability employment services of persons with disability to offer technical and vocational training to persons with disability to gain meaningful employment in both formal and informal sectors.
  • The disability employment service should research and recommend both public and private sectors who have met 10 % minimum employment for tax waver to the Kenya revenue authority.
  • Establish a real time database for persons with disabilities who are employed and none employed where employers can easily access and as envisaged in the national employment authority as they do for the youth.
  • Tax exemption should be provided to start-ups by persons with disabilities as a mechanism and strategy of enhancing their capacity for income generation just like the youth.

 

  1. Corruption is rampant and constitutes an existential threat to Kenya and her peoples.

Unfortunately, this does not exclude the disability sector.

In this regard it is undermining prosperity. That it is a bad example to the persons with disabilities. Corruption impacts disproportionally on Persons with disabilities. It diverts resources which would otherwise be used to enrich the wellbeing of Persons with disabilities in the social, political and economic development spheres.

  • The National anticorruption enforcing agency to establish an inquiry and investigate on disability related corruption and other malpractices with ultimate purpose to bring individuals and organisations that have fleeced or acquired wealth with disguise supporting persons with disabilities.
  • The assets authority should assist to recover the proceeds of disability corruption and this money recovered can be directed to the social protection programmes.

 

  1. Persons with disabilities should be given a chance to elect their own in parliament, member assembly with a clear legislative on the process.
  2. The 5 % progressive representation in both nominated and appointing authority should be increased to 10 % since even the population of the largest minority has highly increased. Some areas to have mandatory representation. at least one member of the national cabinet and County Executive Committees. At least one principle secretary at the national government, at least one chief county officer at the county level one commissioner in all commissions established in the country.
  3. The national construction authority should be mandated to actualize accessibility standards before authorizing new constructions of both public and private buildings and this should be replicated at all Counties.
  4. All disability peer support groups -The Kenya society for the blind, The Kenya Deaf Association, the Kenya Physical Disability Association etc. should receive direct support for the exchequer in order to ensure smooth running of their rehabilitation and peer support network.
  5. The Kenya National Bureau of statistics is mandated to conduct the National Census.

However, in the National Census exercise, the prevalence of persons with disability is not well captured by the Kenya Bureau of statistics on the state of affairs of persons with disabilities.

The National Census should include specific questions asking respondents whether they have difficulty functioning in their environment or experience activity limitations in the domains of communications, mobility, self-care or psychosocial disability.

This should be replicated in all government assessments/survey tools.

  1. The Kenya National commission on Human Rights should have a specific delegated disability discrimination commissioner as conferred in Article 27 (4) who shall operate under disability rights-based legislations to protect and promote the well-being of people with disability, including the rights to access social services, the right for training and employment and being free from discrimination based on their disability as outlined in articles 7, 21, 43 and 54 of the Kenyan constitution (2010).
  2. Many Kenyans care for someone with disability, an individual or child with medical condition, mental illness or someone who is frail due to age.

Households caring for persons with disabilities are faced with huge costs due to their care duties.

Subsequently, many Caregivers (parents/guardians/carers) are unable to fully engage in income-generating activities because of caring for someone with severe or Profound Disability.

We recommend that the National Government helps carers remain engaged in the community, participate in the workforce and stay healthy while continuing their caring role through the provision of funding to subsidize their efforts and contributions through the social protection net or provide other range of supports to help them manage their daily challenges, reduce stress and plan for their future.

 

  1. Creation of national public authority which will be in charge of public housing based at the ministry of housing transport and urban development.
  • At least 20% of the housing should be allocated to persons with disabilities
  • At least the 20% of housing should have the universal design meeting the international accessibility standards.

 

 

 

 

Why the Blind in Kenya should be categorized as “Severe disabled” Author Mugambi Paul

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

 

 

Several studies and literature have given definition of who should be severely disabled.

In the Kenyan context policy makers and stakeholders have arguably claimed that those under 24 hours care are supposedly entitled to this school of thought [Kenyan social protection strategy, cash transfer annual [.

Times have really changed. The current review being spearheaded by the social assistance programme by several development partners and the ministry of social protection should ensure the new social policy becomes more inclusive and in-depth.

 since I would like to make a case for the Blind.

Am not making this debate as a mere fact that myself am a blind person but with several scholarly arguments, observations and reasons base on Bing a public policy scholar and with lived disability experience.

To begin with social protection mechanisms which A Kenya has gradually been adapting have not been in compliant with the UNCRPD 2006, ILO standards, which Kenya adopted Kenya constitution article 27 on matters discrimination.

This is to say social protection is supposed to be inclusive for all.

The co values in chapter 10 need to be respected.

In other words, the new social policy needs to align itself with the current trends of inclusiveness and not living any one behind.

My second argument is based on the premises that most social protection programmed set aside for the defend sectors have not been Blind friendly at all.

For instance, since the start of the national youth service programme in 2013 no Blind persons has ever been admitted.

Du’a’’s we have Blind youth who can serve the nation?

Should the national youth service curriculum be revised to ensure Blind are recognized?

 

The proponents of this programme will argue that service men and women needed for this programme are supposed to use sight. Then where do the Blind youth go?

This affirms that Blind are more vulnerable and lack opportunities.

Additionally, the cash transfer programme has denied entry of individuals who are blind despite Poverty being a twin sister of blindness [world blind union 2004[.

Thirdly most job advertisements in Kenya have discriminatory practices of saying that people should have a driving license.

moreover, even most agencies both public and non-state actors who claim to thrust the gospel of inclusion also have joined the fray! Where and how does a blind Kenyan get driving license?

I am also eager to get one.

Organizations of persons with disabilties and self-advocates have been silent on this matter!

Fourthly several studies and media reports have confirmed that most beggars are blind persons. Where do you think the blind men and women who never got an opportunity to join higher institutions are?

Other than those who are hidden in their houses, you will obviously meet the blind beggars.

Apparently, The Kenya union of the Blind had a Sacco for this individual. Don’t you think its high time the beggar’s Sacco got a boost from financial partners?

Furthermore, the beggars have families who relight on them.

Academicians and researchers need to put their minds together and unravel the begging angle so us to enable the understanding of its social economic impacts in the society.

Fifthly, the largest group of blind persons are the beggars who have actually not gotten even basics of education, most do not have even access to white canes and most are also denied even to see the sunlight.

 

Never the less, after Citizen’ tv airing of the Begging story mid-year, a debate in the disability circle got underway but never provided a conclusive answer rather the argument centered on why persons with disabilities should not be associated with begging profession.

According to several media reports Nairobi, Mombasa, Meru and other counties have made several attempts to kick out the beggars in the vicinity but this seems to be a thorn in the flesh. Beggars keep on coming back. Some argue most are Tanzanians while others claim they are individuals who have not been served by the community.

Isn’t right time Kenya offering a permanent solution by providing social protection to the unemployed blind persons and recognize them as severely disabled?

The individuals, institutions who are currently tasked to represent the Blind need to rise up and author several policy statements to kick start   the voyage of empowerment of the blind.

All in all, blind persons in Kenya deserve to live in a respectable and dignified manner just like any other human being.

The White cane escapades. Guest author:

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

Dear stranger who passes me on the street,

I

It seems a little strange, addressing a letter to you, even though I haven’t walked alone anywhere in the past six months, but I am an eternal optimist

(a terrible flaw, I know), and hold hope that I will be able to do so someday again. At the outset, I would like to clarify one thing, regardless of whether

you are the-stranger-who-have-actually-passed-me-on-the-street or stranger-who-might-do-so-one-day.

 

Every

 White Cane Day

 till date, I have mostly written articles on the mechanics of using a white cane and how it works, or introspective essays on what the white cane means

to me (short answer: independence). This white cane day, however, I would like to remind you that, in order to have independent and enjoyable travel experience,

it is not enough to have or use a white cane merely.

 

The people I encounter while travelling and their attitudes also determine whether my travel is stress-free. I would like to now turn my attention to micro-aggressions

that are frequently directed toward me as I travel alone as a woman with a disability. Without further ado, here are some dos and don’ts for the passer-by.

 

First of all, let me tell you, it is absolutely inappropriate to stop me in the middle of the street and make comments such as “My sister’s son is blind

too! He is amazing!” or “I pray for people like you every day.” Don’t you realize I’ve got things to do and places to be, just like everyone else? Consider

it your lucky day if I don’t retort with “I meet hundreds of insensitive random strangers like you all the time. Shocking, Isn’t it?”

 

Secondly, it is equally inappropriate to grab me as I walk, without my express permission to guide me. If you really think I need help, the best thing

you can do is to ask me if I do (politely and calmly, now). Grabbing someone who is just walking around, and minding her own business, is completely unjustifiable.

Really, haven’t you heard anything about consent? Or is it that you don’t think it applies equally to a disabled body as a nondisabled one? You might have

good intentions, but how would I know that? You wouldn’t ever dream of grabbing a nondisabled woman in that way, would you?

 

Next, if you do ask me whether I need help, and the answer is no, walk away, even if your instinct urges you to push it. I am the one who decides if, when

and from whom to accept help, not you. Moreover, I am under no obligation to explain to you why I do not want your help. You asked, I answered, you walk

on—end of the story.

 

Now, if there comes a situation where you are going to guide me (regardless of whether you offered help or I asked for it), either offer me your elbow,

as people generally should when a sighted person guides a blind person, or take my non-cane hand. For me, since I am right-handed, my left hand would be

the one you are expected to take. Please, please please, do not hold my cane or lift it up from the ground.

 

The whole point of having a cane with me is that it will sweep the ground in front of me and alert me to obstacles in my way. I need it, whether or not

you are guiding me. Don’t force me to engage in a tug of war with you in the middle of the street, with you on one end of the cane, and me on the other.

It is highly undignified.

 

Next, the brief moments in which you help me from one side of the street to the other, are not exactly the right ones to ask questions about blindness

in general or me in particular. Like I mentioned before, things to do and places to be. General questions such as how I use my phone, how blind people

travel, etc., are best addressed to Google. After all, you Google everything else, so why not this?

 

Answers to specific questions such as how I became blind, whether I was born blind or became blind, etc., are part of my personal story, which I am under

no obligation to share in the middle of the busiest 80 ft Road. Essentially, what I am trying to say, is that I do not live for the express purpose of

teaching you what blind people can do, or how we do things.

 

An offer of help shouldn’t come with an expectation that I will answer your questions in return. I realize that this is perhaps the first time you are

ever meeting or talking to a blind person, but you might not be the first or even fifth person I would have met over the course of that day to ask me these

questions, and it can get old really soon.

 

Next, it is also not your place to make comments such as “people like you should stay at home.” Or, my favorite “Where are your parents?” As I am an adult

travelling by herself, these questions are not necessary, to say the least, and are better kept to yourself. Don’t force me to reply with “none of your

business!”

 

Finally, if you are a person with strong religious beliefs, specifically about a cure, please do not stop me and tell me to pray to so-and-so deity, perform

so-and-so poojas, or read so-and-so portions of the bible. The fact that you think all disabled people need to be cured is in itself highly ableist.

 

Therefore, don’t blame me if I, equally politely, ask you to read up on ableism and the very contentious issue of cure. Same goes for those people who

believe in certain doctors, alternative medicines, or any other cure. I am not a broken doll that needs to be fixed. I am a person who celebrates her blind

body and all that it entails. And of course, it goes without saying that the middle of the street is certainly not the place to be debating these things.

 

The above is not an exhaustive list of the types of micro-aggressions I encounter, but merely the most annoying ones. This White Cane Day, I urge you to

keep these in mind and cooperate with the disabled community, as we try to create less stressful travel experiences for all.

Why Covid-2019 should not slam doors of disability evolution! “Corona don’t live us behind!” Author Mugambi Paul

he opinions expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

 

 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic, in the first half-year of its existence, has impacted the lives of most people on Earth in one way or another. It is the first truly global pandemic in modern times and each of us has been forced to grapple with its effects, both individually and collectively.  persons with disabilities around the world continue to be disproportionately affected and feel the heat.

 With this notwithstanding, the negative societal effects COVID-19 has wrought is written all over the world, in many cases, been even more profound when viewed through the lens of persons with disabilities and these impacts have been aggravated even further in countries dealing with humanitarian crisis.

Furthermore, Persons with disabilities living in humanitarian set ups already deal with increased health challenges, exacerbated threats to their security, and societal marginalization that negatively impacts nearly every facet of their lives. In some cases, that marginalization comes from misconceptions that disability is somehow contagious and should be shunned; more frequently, though, it is the result of the broad assumption that persons with disabilities must be cared for and kept in restrictive environments for their “protection” — robbing them of basic dignity and the fundamental opportunity to explore and realize their personal potential. Though disability inclusion efforts have started to gain global momentum in recent years in several countries in which the international NGOS and local partners work.

 now with the current new trends of the Covid pandemic and its attendant social restrictions — persons with disabilities in these fragile contexts are at risk of being pushed even further to the periphery of their communities, potentially negating any progress that had been made.

In other words, I opine persons with disabilties can’t experience the ne norm since Corona has even worsen the situation.

Despite being a population that is particularly-risk prone to COVID-19, persons with disabilities face even greater inequalities in accessing basic services including healthcare, education, employment and social protection during the pandemic. This could erode all the positive developments that the world has recorded in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

While there are certainly very legitimate Covid-related health concerns specific to persons with disabilities affect the immune system, lung function or other related factors that can put them at higher risk for serious complications.

Additionally, the lack of latest data statistics also contributes to the poor outcomes on planning and service delivery to both development and humanitarian sectors.

More over most of the service delivery tend to focus on one particular disability and thus marginalization of the marginalized.

For instance, most of the time persons with psychosocial and intellectual impaired are not considered in different activities.

In accessing information its also highly pronounced among the Blind, Deaf blind etc.

 – perhaps the bigger, less personally-controllable risks they face are related to the very seclusion from which they have spent so many years trying to break free. Just as they have begun to find the first tiny openings in their ability to access education or gain regular employment or even play sports, the isolation necessitated by the pandemic threatens to slam those doors closed once again. The real danger, though, is that the doors will remain closed even after the pandemic is under control because its imminent threat will have caused societies already reeling from the instability of war and conflict to forget about prioritizing the inclusion of persons with disabilities and building into their culture.

As a public policy diversity and inclusion expert I take note of for persons with disabilities, the ability to achieve economic security and independence has very often been a goal kept out of reach by a variety of societal assumptions about their ability – or inability – to reliably fulfill professional requirements, their perceived increased rate of health-related absences or a host of other preconceptions. Now, just as these misconceptions are starting to be proven wrong by persons with disabilities more often entering the work forces in many countries, the economic impact of the pandemic on the global and local economies could be devastating for their collective progress.

The sustainable development goal theme of not living any one behind might become a mirage if nations don’t take necessary measures to caution men, boys, girls and women with disabilties.

I affirm what is necessary to stop this temporary barrier from becoming a long-term regression is the commitment from all sections of society – governments, employers, educational institutions, healthcare providers, among others – in countries all over the world to continue prioritizing disability inclusion efforts. This is not only essential to create opportunities for persons with disabilities, but it will also benefit societies, economies, business, etc., by bringing the vast potential of a population estimated at over 1 billion people into the fold. Many studies have shown that companies and organizations that prioritize hiring persons with disabilities have a positive impact on profits and better corporate culture. For example, U.S. companies that excel at disability employment and inclusion are four times more likely to deliver higher shareholder returns than their competitors, according to a 2018 study by Accenture.

 

only way real change will happen is if they are supported by the commitment of the broader societies in which they work.

Disability inclusion will survive the coronavirus pandemic only if everyone believes it is a necessary social evolution and acts accordingly to support its growth. If this can happen, not only will people with disabilities transcend the societal impacts of COVID-19, but the communities, businesses, universities and organizations that push for their inclusion will grow and improve as well.

 

Why we must dismantle social ableism Author Mugambi paul.

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

 

As COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live and relate to one another, Kenyans with disabilities like me have been living in fear, not just of the virus, but of community attitudes to our lives and existence. The pandemic has brought to the forefront deeply ableist ideas held by our society that see disabled lives as disposable. Our lives are not worth living, and are not worthy of the same care and protection. Our deaths do not carry with them the same grief and sorrow that abled deaths do. We are casualties that must be accepted for the greater good of our economy.

This discourse has dangerously manifested in our hospitals, shaping COVID-19 triaging policies and the way medical professionals treat persons with disabilities– with or without the virus.

Globally, its evidently clear some nations they have   disregard for lives of persons with disabilities.

People with disability have been identified as particularly “vulnerable” to this potentially deadly illness. If only we all had the freedom to decide who, and how many people, we have contact with in our own homes.

.

For instance, president of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed sadness over the death of Nathaniel Julius, a teenager with Down syndrome, during a police operation.

 

I have been continually shocked and angered by triaging guidelines that override shared decision-making processes, fail to acknowledge disproportionate rates of disability amongst already oppressed communities – such as rural and slum dwellers.

I affirm due to the changing times I have had from senior leaders, journalists, business persons who believe we should position life to normalcy.

It’s okay – COVID only really kills old and disabled people. If you’re young, you’re strong and healthy and won’t be at risk. The people who die from COVID don’t really have a quality of life anyway. We really do need to open up the economy for the rest of us. With resources so scarce and hospitals overwhelmed we need to priorities those of us who would actually survive.

 

 

For many persons with disabilities, hospitals are already traumatic places where we are spoken over, invalidated and dehumanized. Frequently they are places that deprive us of care, brutalize our bodies and result in our death. How do we begin to confront the even more explicit violence in our healthcare system COVID has triggered? When I think about the not-so-distant future, and try to imagine how our disability community is coping, I am filled with anguish thinking of the scars these triaging narratives will leave. I think of the trauma being resurfaced for hundreds of thousands of disabled people who have already suffered mistreatment at the hands of healthcare systems, and I think of those persons with disabilities who would’ve survived COVID, had things been different. I vow to remember them and keep working towards a world grounded in disability justice, where no one is disposable and we can receive the care that we need. As Mpofunamba1 articulates in one of the music track attitudinal barriers do exist where women with disabilties are even questioned which animal impregnated you. As f women with disabilities are not supposed to enjoy sex and give birth. Several studies have shown increase of gender-based violence against persons with disabilities.

Based on a biased understanding of appearance, functioning and behavior, many consider disability a misfortune that make life not worth living. To promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, we must dismantle social ableism and embrace disability as a positive aspect of the human experience.

The world’s population is ageing. By 2050, people over the age of 60 are expected to account for 21 per cent of the global population. About half of them will live with a disability, making this the largest community of persons with disabilities—and one of the most stigmatized and neglected.

The deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability is a human rights violation on a massive global scale. As Mpofunamba1 I say it is not a “necessary evil” but a consequence of the failure of States to ensure their obligations towards persons with disabilities.

 

 

 

Parents, You Matter!” Guest author Alison

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 

I have been thinking hard about how important a parent is in the life of a special needs child…

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about autism. It’s been a crazy season – being home, working from home, and helping the kids with their schoolwork, etc. There is something I have learnt during this season, though. Parents are very important. Parents matter. Parents are special people.

Parents, let me encourage you today.

You know your child better than anyone else

Picture this. You take your child for a therapy session, and they are crying all through. The therapist tells you that things will get better with time, but at the next session, things are the same. You try a few more sessions, and nothing changes. Then you start to notice that your child cries every time you are leaving for the therapist’s clinic, or every time the therapist is just about to get to your house for a session. At this point, you, as the parent, make an executive decision and stop the sessions. Why? Because you know your child best.

I have been there. I have had to make this decision several times. Initially, I felt that I should have tried just one more time, then I realized that it was up to me to make sure that my child was happy and at peace. Nobody else could have done it for me.

You communicate best with your child

Maybe your child is not yet speaking. Maybe you are longing to hear that first word. Can you tell, however, when your child is sad? Can you tell when he or she wants to have a meal or go to the bathroom? Most likely you can, especially when nobody else can tell what your child is trying to communicate.

How does this help? Imagine you go for a therapy session, and the therapist asks your child to do something. Your little one does not respond, and the therapist is stuck. You then offer to try and talk to your child, explaining the instructions. He or she quickly responds by doing what the therapist has asked. Do you see what I mean? Parents always know how to communicate with their kids.

Parents, don’t beat yourself up just because your child is not speaking. There are other ways that kids can communicate like sign language, using technology, writing, using pictures, etc. Find the best way to communicate with your child.

You want to help your child out of love

Nobody wants your child to acquire skills as much as you do. Nobody understands how important it is for your child to be independent like you do. Your love for your child is what drives you to hire therapists, follow the home program, buy equipment, etc.

You may, however, find that the people you hire to help your child are doing it for the money. Others may be doing their job just because it is a job, not because they love working with your child. The bottom line is, your love for your child is what will drive you to keep going, to keep learning, to keep training, and to keep waiting patiently for a skill to be mastered.

I just want to encourage a parent here. The world will not always accept our children for who they are. It is up to us to show them how to love children who are abled differently, and to show them that being different is not a bad thing. Also, surround yourself with like-minded people, people who will support you on your parenting journey, people who will love and accept your child just as they are, and people who may even offer to watch your child while you catch a breather!

You are your child’s greatest resource

Parents, you are your child’s greatest resource. You provide them with love and care. You make sure their environment is conducive to learning. You purchase all that they need for therapy, school, etc. You feed them and clothe them. You teach them the things that only a parent can. You pay for therapy sessions and school. Parents, you rock!

In this season when accessing services is hard, I believe that parents can still do something with their children. What have seen your therapist do that you can do at home? Find out what activities your child can do to improve in areas in which he or she has challenges. For example, if your therapist has mentioned fine motor skills in the past, look for videos with fine motor activities you can do at home. Also, for those who are doing teletherapy, it’s important to remember that a good session works best when you are there to help with setup, resources, etc. You can also opt to get a therapist to come up with a good home program for your child which you will implement.

See how important you are, dear parents?

One last thing, though. You need to recharge from time to time otherwise you will burn out. Find a way to catch a break whenever possible. You need it.

 

How Do Disabled People Feel About Discussing Their Disabilities? Guest author A Pulrang

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 

 

 

For people with disabilities, talking about our disabilities is complicated.

Sometimes, when people ask their perennial questions, or just look at us in a certain way, we can almost hear them say it:

“Go on! Do that thing you do, where you remind me how my own little problems aren’t so bad. Do that ‘inspiration’ thing that makes me feel better about myself for admiring you.”

What does it mean when a wheelchair user speaks at a political convention? What does it mean when a blind person gives a motivational speech, when an amputee engages students or employees on “disability awareness?” What does it mean when any disabled person, in the ordinary course of their day, is asked to explain their disability, or tell their disability “story?” And what does it mean when the disabled person tells their story? And what does it mean when they say, “No, not today. Not here. Not for you. I’m not here to be your inspiration.”

From a non-disabled point of view, it must sometimes seem like we disabled people can’t make up our minds. That’s because the whole subject is fraught with conflicting choices, each with pluses, minuses, and even moral implications.

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Do we raise awareness, or mind our own business? Do we welcome questions from the curious, or draw clear boundaries to guard our privacy. If we want a better world for disabled people, what is our own obligation to further that goal? Will we share our most profound experiences and thoughts about disability, and for what purpose — or whose?

Some of us are quite anxious to tell our stories to anyone who will listen. It can make us feel less alone with our burdens and traumas. Some of us draw strength and purpose from telling our stories of triumph over adversity, dispelling myths about disability, or advocating for better disability policies and political power for disabled people. Despite popular rhetoric about “not letting disability define us,” a great many of disabled people do organize much of our lives around our disability experiences and identity, and we do it intentionally, joyfully.

PROMOTED

At the same time, disabled people have mixed feelings about sharing our experiences with others. We all have different ideas about the pros and cons of sharing our stories, raising awareness, and “educating” non-disabled people about disability. And what we think about it can change from day to day, from person to person, and situation to situation.

To understand how disabled people struggle with these questions of sharing, educating, advocating, you need to explore some of the positives and negatives we juggle every day.

Positives

First, some disabled people find sharing their disability stories therapeutic. Many who were disabled later in life need to tell how they became disabled. And talking about our disabilities and everyday struggles with ableism can help all of us clarify how we feel about our disabilities.

While few of us like to admit it, many of us do in fact crave sympathy or at least empathy. Getting a positive, supportive response to our disability stories can be validating. It can, at least in the short term, compensate for some of the negativity and unvarnished prejudice we encounter regularly. And genuine empathy can actually make our lives easier by reducing misunderstandings and judgment.

There is also the practical benefit, or necessity, of sharing something about our disabilities in order to get help and accommodations that we need to survive, and that can help level the playing field for our ambitions. Having to reveal private information in order to obtain equal opportunity is a constant burr in our sides. But it is the most consistently beneficial payoff for this awkward exchange.

Finally, some of us choose to embrace being spokespeople of sorts for the disability community, and the cause of disability rights and justice. Some disabled people commit themselves to advocacy, motivational speaking, writing, and educating the public … all of which call for some degree or another of personal sharing. These commitments can give purpose to a disabled person’s life, if purpose is missing or uncertain. It can give meaning to a person’s disability, if meaning is important to them. For some of us, it’s also a living, and a potentially useful one.

The benefits available to disabled people for sharing our stories, experiences, and feelings are fairly familiar. It’s the negatives people tend to forget, but that are constantly on disabled people’s minds, precisely because they are so common and cut so deep so often.

Negatives

For a start, constantly retelling our disability stories can be a seductive trap. We tell it again and again, sometimes on request, or else in search of some resolution that never comes. We stagnate or worse, spiral further into depression and trauma. Also, other people’s curiosity about disability and disabled people’s stories tends to have a very short shelf-life. While they start out craving answers and compelling narratives, most people quickly get sick of them, especially if they fail to fascinate or uplift. Regardless, fixation on our own personal stories also makes it less likely that we will discover the broader disability community and disability issues, and that is a real loss.

Another problem is that many of us quickly come to realize how easily the visibility we craved for so long, and we finally seem to be getting, can be misused, no matter how carefully we craft our messages. As any disabled person who has addressed a political audience can attest, you never know just how much of your specific message gets through, and how much is drowned in a sea of sentimental responses to our very presence. Do audiences come away with a new understanding of health care, or home care, or accessibility? Or do they leave uplifted or amazed at how articulate the disabled speaker was, and how brave?

The most important thing to remember, but so many people miss, is that sharing our stories and educating people about disability always costs us something. The novelty of attention and praise eventually wears off, and you find yourself giving and giving, with little in return. Even if you are being paid … and far too many disabled public figures aren’t paid for what they give … sharing yourself, your passion, and your hopes with strangers takes a toll. And even the best audiences have little ability to give back.

Yet, disabled people are often expected to share our stories and enlighten others on disability matters … as if it’s our unique duty and special mission in life as people with disabilities. A calling is a personal choice. A duty is more of an imposition. A lot of people don’t understand the difference. On the personal level, friendly curiosity about our disabilities can quickly turn to sour resentment when we don’t immediately satisfy it. And demanding to be “educated” is often used as a “put up or shut up” answer to being called out for accessibility failures or other kinds of ableism. If we don’t agree to open ourselves up at all times and give free education, then ongoing ableism is implied to be our fault.

So, when is it okay, and when is it inappropriate to ask disabled people for their stories, or for help on disability issues?

Situations

Obviously, it depends partly on what kind of relationship you have with the disabled person. It’s rarely if ever appropriate to ask a disabled person you don’t know to tell their story, or explain intricacies of the disability experience to you. Asking a coworker or casual acquaintance may be alright, if you do it with care and listen for signs of receptiveness or reticence. You can deepen your relationship with family or close friends with disabilities, by inviting them to share deeper experiences and feelings. But this kind of closeness should never be mistaken for open-ended permission. Having a family or professional connection to disability isn’t a special permit to pry. Neither is having a disability yourself. A disabled person may trust you more if you’re disabled too,, but your disability status doesn’t guarantee access.

It also depends on the time and setting. Certain subjects and avenues of conversation are appropriate in some places and occasions, out of place in others, and totally bizarre or even creepy in still others. Think of how doctors and lawyers feel when people at cocktail parties ask them for medical or legal advice. It’s often like that for disabled people. We feel like everyone’s public encyclopedia of all things disability. No place is taboo, no subject off limits. At any moment, we can be prayed over in the frozen foods aisle, asked in a coffee shop how we have sex, or grilled in the lunchroom on which disability terminology we use.

If you want to engage with disabled people, and learn about disability issues and culture, that’s great! Please do both. But remember that each disabled person is an individual, and we each make our own decisions, using our own criteria, for when and how we want to share, explain, and educate others, from perfect strangers to those closest to us.

In the end, sorting the good from the bad, the appropriate from the burdensome, isn’t that complicated after all. It’s a bit like intimacy and consent. Talking about disability with disabled people can be enormously rewarding for both parties, but only when the disabled person is a willing participant. While some of us consciously choose to be as open and forthcoming as possible, none of us feels that way all of the time.

Above all, no disabled person should ever feel obligated to share, or shamed for not sharing. this is also my school of philosophy . as a Public policy diversity and inclusion expert I celebrate diversity in full.

Last to be served last one to eat: Author Mugambi paul

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

Globally, Evidence is emerging that persons with disabilities are being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and emergency policy measures being undertaken are not enough.

This is to say the marginalization that existed before covid is still being multiplied and increased due to lack of inclusive disability response starting from the world health organization and the governments.

 

The COVID-19 crisis is taking a grim toll on human lives across the globe. Although the complete impact is yet to be fully comprehended. The coronavirus pandemic has changed almost every aspect of normal life, from grocery shopping to work, from exercising to socialising. While the changes, brought on by fear of infection and the state-mandated quarantine –– which has been in place in Kenya since March 20 –– are difficult and inconvenient for everyone, for those living with disabilities across Kenya, the virus crisis has posed a unique threat to their ability to access basic healthcare, education and to their own individual autonomy. 

 the risk the pandemic

is exposing for gains made towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is becoming evident. What this global emergency is also revealing, is that

these 17 goals are, in fact, our best option to recover better and to overcome similar crises in the future.  

Policy statements need to manifest in concrete action.

In other words, inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities is essential to ensuring that persons with disabilities are not left behind.

 

 

 As governments rush to respond to the virus, it is more critical than ever to guarantee that measures taken are fully inclusive.

 

 

of persons with disabilities and prevent human rights violations from taking place. More importantly several studies from the UN body, research institutions, disability sector, individual testimonies and government have shown no disability desegregated data has been recorded up to date. Disability is prevalent throughout Kenyan society, though that prevalence isn’t always represented in policy-making. No less than 15. 10 percent of the population of Kenya lives with a permanent difficulty or limitation, according to organization of persons with disabilities data.

 Additionally, disability is present in 2.2 percent of Kenyan households, according to official data of KBs 2019 census. 

 

 

As a public policy scholar am yet to understand why governments are able to give geographical location, gender age and not disability desegregated data !

Is this not a form of exclusion?

At least 70,000 Americans with disabilities have died in the last 120 days without being on the radar. Those in nursing homes are referred to as ‘elderly,’

with ‘underlying conditions,’ or ‘vulnerable.’ These are euphemisms that avoid using the word “disability”. This diminishes and ignores civil rights protections

for millions.

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Policy makers need to realize that when persons with disabilities are not being counted, they are being locked out of interventions.

The distribution of the cake needs to be served in an inclusive manner.

 

For many countries in Africa they have formed emergency response committees with uyt representation of persons with disabilities.

Should disability persons organization publish experts with disabilties since governments have failed to ensure representation?

Persons with disabilities in low income countries face substantial challenges in terms of achieving self-representation,[1] inclusive employment[2] and integrated education.[3] The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)[4] outlines a framework for the inclusion and self-advocacy of persons with disabilities, while the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commit to ensure that global development processes are disability inclusive.

 

 

 

Moreover, several general protocols have been made but without any reference on how interventions will be carried out for persons with disabilities.

Additionally, after 4 months of COVID  2019 several countries have started to some sort of disability protocols, of which they contain minor concerns of persons with impairments.

 

Its only south Africa who have made major attempt of having disability inclusive response protocols and interventions.

Obviously, this is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done to ensure no one is left behind.

Likewise, in other countries like in Kenya having sign language interpretor on the TV screen during the Corona state address seem to be an already concluded assumption that they have addressed the communication and inaccessible information gaps.

Does this mean that all persons with disabilities have accessed the information?

the Kenyan social protection policies seem to be driven ‘smoothing

out’ variations in incomes over the lifecycle, I argue  that ‘the dominant effect

of social spending in the Kenya is to redistribute income across people’s own life. For example the recently launched “Kazi kwa mtaa programme”

aids citizens to pay taxes of what they have.

 

The policy brief offers 4 recommendations on how governments can best mitigate the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis and protect informal workers:

list of 4 items

  • Continuing emergency income support for workers and businesses operating in the informal economy 
  • Reforming social-assistance schemes to extend beyond the poor—both horizontally and vertically—to ensure that the “missing middle” will have access to

them

  • Ensuring that social-assistance measures are a part of a larger relief package and include loan repayments, rent and utilities payments, and tax breaks

on essential goods

  • Safeguarding women’s access to these benefits

list end

On the other hand, In the book Good Times, Bad Times challenges popular misconceptions about the welfare state

. The book deconstructs the view that ‘welfare’ is exclusively

about out-of-work benefits and that those who are in receipt of such benefits are

somehow ‘other’ to the rest of ‘working Britain’ (a term favored by our current

political leaders). Hills challenges these misconceptions with detailed evidence

demonstrating that in fact we all benefit from the welfare state over the life-course,

getting back what we put into the system. The welfare system in Kenya and most African countries

covers universal entitlements such as education, health care, pension provision, and

youth protection except for the very wealthy), and as such it is something that all of us

make use of at varying points in our lives: when we have children; when we become

unwell; when we need healthcare; and when we grow old.

Hills explains that whilst the welfare system is redistributive (poorer households

do get more out of the system and richer households put more in), the system is

also redistributive for individuals over the span of their own lives – so effectively

he argues that we are all paying for own services and benefits in a kind of ‘savings

bank’ (67). This is the case for all families, with even the poorest 10th of the population

paying in half of what they take out. The rich contribute more because of

the principles that the system was founded on: that benefits and services should go

to people according to their need (as opposed to whether they can pay for it); and

that the taxes we pay should be in proportion to our incomes.

 

In the COVID-19 pandemic, persons with disabilities may face heightened risks, such as increased exposure rates, due to numerous barriers in the humanitarian response. For example, barriers in accessing life-saving information, protective measures and other essential humanitarian services on an equal basis with others. Gaps in the preparedness and response plans increase these risks even further. 

As we hurtle towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals deadline, governments are accelerating investments in both social protection and disability and gender equality. This presents

an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how social protection can not only reduce poverty, but also contribute to disability mainstreaming. Disability mainstreaming is

vital to achieve sustainable poverty reduction through social protection. In turn, poverty reduction, for instance, through greater income equality and

security provided through well-designed social protection promotes disability inclusion.  

Social protection, particularly in the form of cash benefits, has already proven its ability to 

address multi-dimensional and intergenerational poverty for persons with disabilities of particular are men, boys, women and girls with disabilities

 in different contexts, including increasing women’s savings and investments in productive assets or improving girls’ school enrolment and attendance. Yet, this

potential can also be belied if programmes are poorly designed or executed, resulting in further entrenching prevailing gender inequalities. More needs

to be done to understand how and why programme design and implementation can either strengthen or worsen impacts for women and girls.  

  1. All means all! we cannot have proper digital inclusion if we leave people behind;
  2. We need stronger connections between schools, families and students because connections lead to commitment

list end

 

       

What lessons can African nations learn?

We need to activate disability emergency mode when the glbe is doingit not just to react after the race has already kicked off.

We may have lost many persons with disabilties either through hunger, loneliness, lack of health services, covid itself and other preexisting conditions.

Organizations of persons with disabilities need to ensure duty bearers accountable to them and if need be seeking legal address. For instance. 

Over 1,000 web accessibility lawsuits have been filed in 2018.

Companies like Nike and Amazon are being sued for failing to make their content accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and low vision users.

       

Conclusion:               

Covid19 has created new societal challenges and exacerbated existing ones however plethis is also an opportunity to rebuild our society in a more equitable

Corona 2019 why did you’ve it imprison the blind? Author Mugambi paul

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

 

 

As a blind person for the past 23 years, I thought I had seen it all! Oh boy, was I ever wrong! After many years of practice at being blind, I have found something that is sending me for a loop.

COVID-19 has done it to me!

My world now is cold, untouchable, lonely at times–which is something hard to handle. I am not so sure I could survive the new world we are all experiencing if I did not believe that my “Heavenly Father” would not be here to catch me when I fall.

Going for a walk, if anyone is passing me by, I’m always wondering if they will possibly get me sick. Going to a market or moll and trying to get assistance, while everyone wants to run away from you. No getting together with friends because no one wants to come and visit, scared we pass the virus to one another. Walking onto a bus and being scared that the person who previously occupied the seat you are now at had the virus.

Or, a simple walk in a park and getting lost because all the roads have no traffic to give me a sense of direction. Yes, to me, this was probably one of the hardest things to handle. My world is open when I have sounds of traffic or sound barriers to help me to be able to be independent daily.

My rural places like playing fields and parks is a place I have known for the past 23 years and I am very used to going there. Now this park and field of play is very different for someone who has no sight. No children in the playground, nobody bringing the dogs to the park, no one bringing me coffee and conversation, and no cars to give me direction as to where the roads are.

The world I knew had familiar sounds to help give me direction, and this I knew was a world that was easier to deal with in my daily life. I also use a white cane and now people are scared. Put jump very first since thy know viruses can spend time on metallic objects. How does a blind person keep social distance from a sighted guide?

 

 

I also have had others say that many in the markets get upset when I use the white cane.

Now I can honestly say that the world as a blind person is hard to cope with! If I did not live in a house with a yard and with a great garden to take care of and give me joy, my world would have been lonely and hard to handle for the foreseeable future.

Meetings online may give me many hours of involvement with my community, but the time spent on electronics is starting to drive me crazy.

I love to attend meetings in person and the opportunity they provide to get to know others and how they are engaged in our community. Now this opportunity is also lost, and I find that the computer does not bring the same spirit into my daily routines.

So, for all of these reasons, “blindness” has imprisoned me again. But this time it feels like I have moved from a minimum-security prison to a maximum-security one.

Disabilities that Complicate Substance Abuse Treatment and How to Overcome Them Guest author Patrick Bailey

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 

The last thing a person recovering from alcohol addiction needs is yet another obstacle to getting back to the life they know and love. Well-managed inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers should ensure a physical disability does not impede full recovery.

Disabilities and Substance Abuse

People who suffer from physical disabilities have a higher risk of alcohol and drug abuse. The National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) shows that about half of Americans who suffer from a disability are also likely to suffer from substance abuse (co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis). That’s compared to 10% of the general public.

Disabled World reports that those with mobility issues—disabilities like amputated limbs, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic disability, arthritis, deafness, vision impairment, or multiple sclerosis—are two to four times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

Yet an anonymous survey reveals that of those suffering from a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI) and also seeking addiction treatment, about half are refused admission to inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers.

A report from the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) shows that physical accessibility negatively impacts the success of treatment for those with disabilities every day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five American adults has a disability. Most worrisome for those in an inpatient facility are mobility and visual or auditory challenges that prevent them from taking full advantage of the treatment offered them.

Alcohol and drug abuse can complicate treatment for the physically disabled by interfering with therapy, rehabilitation, counseling sessions, and medications.

Overcoming Barriers to Treatment

For this reason, a physically accessible treatment center is essential to those who have both physical limitations and addiction challenges.

Group therapy and support groups can dispel social isolation and offer a healing environment for both those who suffer from addiction and their families. However, an additional layer of support is required for those with an additional disability.

Inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers can offset this by removing or altering potential barriers to their disabled clients.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all private accommodations and commercial facilities that are not residential facilities remove barriers to communication and access that would negatively affect individuals who are disabled.

For this reason and others, a viable treatment facility must accommodate those who are disabled, ensuring they have complete access to the facility.

Making Rehab Accessible

Three factors that can affect a person’s ability to function:

  • A person’s mental, emotional, and/or physical state doesn’t function properly. This can include hearing or memory loss.
  • Activity limitations. Inability to carry out normal tasks.
  • Participation restrictions. A person who cannot participate fully, or not at all, in daily life activities because of their limits. This impacts the way the individual engages in work, social, recreational, or health-related activities that are critical for their health and well-being.

Some of the modifications needed for the disabled include:

  • Ramps and elevators that offer mobility-specific features.
  • Wider doors and hallways for those in wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
  • Power-assisted doors.
  • Even, slip-proof floors.
  • Prominently displayed braille and other sensory navigational features.
  • TTY options on phones for the hearing impaired.

Other Physical Disabilities

Physical disabilities are not confined to one’s ability to walk without aid. They may result from a birth defect, an accident, a disease, or age. Anything that prevents or diminishes a person’s ability to engage in social activities is a disability

Physical disability includes chronic health conditions that prevent a person from participating fully in their day-to-day life. This includes a variety of autoimmune diseases. Some diseases can become a secondary disability that must be considered in one’s drug or alcohol rehab.

Examples include:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies (environmental and food)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes
  • Migraine headaches
  • Cerebral palsy (CP)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Loss of a limb
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Cancer
  • Lupus
  • Sickle cell anemia

Learning Disabilities

The best inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers also make accommodations for clients with learning, sensory, and mental disorders.

A learning disability alters the way a person can listen, speak, read, spell, and/or think. Such a disability impedes a person’s ability to process, recall, and/or express information.

Clients with memory problems often have trouble communicating and have a hard time performing school or job-related tasks.

Chronic health conditions such as physical disabilities are risk factors on their own. Add to that a substance abuse problem and removing as many barriers as possible is essential.

Which innocuous route is for Kenya? Right, Left or living us behind? Author Mugambi Paul

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy,  diversity,  inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

Since the first case of Covid-2019 in 13th March Kenya has recorded the highest number of recorded cases of Covid-19 in July 2020 among its counterparts in East Africa.

I observe, the numbers will continue to rise.

This is mainly increased due to intra-county movement of people, lack of disability inclusive measures,

poor hygiene and lack of adherence to WHO and government measures.

 

At present, the impact and spread of infections are feared to be exacerbated by the huge number of people living in poverty, lack of social amenities like water supply casing point my own home area where we buy this basic commodity, overcrowding in the slum settlements and weak

health infrastructure.

This has led to poor and access or clean water, sanitation and hygiene to the population.

Moreover, the existence of economic and social inequalities still bite.

What has government done:

dusk-to-dawn curfews.

Establishment of a national response team,

 Limiting access to public places e.g. entertainment joints, schools,

Media campaigns on basic hygiene and social distancing

Introduction of short-term measure on social protection to the vulnerable groups. For instance, Kazi kwa mitaa initiative for six and half month’s cash transfer for 3 months

 

Nevertheless, all these measures are not inclusive.

This is a clear indicator of Persons with disabilities have been left behind.

On the other hand, these precautionary actions continue to have negative economic impacts on businesses and workers. The country has witnessed job cuts across various sectors, and incomes of businesses and available working hours for staff have fallen significantly. As [ILO 2020, HI 2020 UN 2020] 2020 persons with disabilities are worst hit by this pandemic.

Just like other countries in the world the economic consequences of the pandemic are likely to have a far greater impact on the long-term health, wellbeing and poverty levels of the Kenyan population as a whole than the predicted fatalities caused directly by the disease. Sectors worst hit by the virus include the labor force, housing, transport, health, trade and tourism. The supply and demand for goods and services in these sectors have been significantly hampered. Furthermore, the restriction of movement in and out the country has dwindled the revenues from the tourism and aviation sectors, while delays at borders due to testing of truck drivers have resulted in losses of profits to business owners.

additionally, Kenya is facing a three-layered crisis – the coronavirus pandemic, locust infestation and floods. Since the end of December 2019, the country has been facing its worst locust infestation in 70 years,

Unfortunately, Kenya is food insecure.

It imports food from its neighboring countries.

This has directed to Changes in food-purchasing habits by many Kenyans.

. This is particularly the case for households living below the poverty line, who have resorted to purchasing only essential foodstuffs during the pandemic.

A survey conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in May 2020 indicates that the labor participation rate in the country has fallen significantly as a result of the pandemic.

This is evidenced by Due to curfews and limited movement of people, many roles have become redundant, resulting in job losses or unpaid leave. People living in poverty are finding it difficult to meet their daily expenses and pay bills, including rent, as a result of job losses, pay cuts or unpaid leave. Public transport measures introduced by government of Kenya have rendered persons with disabilities not to move

This is due to reduction of number of passengers in a vehicle and the increase charged by operators

Kenyans, particularly those relying on casual work, persons with disabilities find it difficult to pay rent. Workers who already live in poverty and cannot afford to have precautionary savings consequently face a high risk of falling into poverty and might experience even greater challenges in regaining their livelihoods after the pandemic.

The pandemic has highlighted, more than ever, that neglecting certain sectors make people living in poverty more vulnerable. These are health, social protection, housing and sanitation and hygiene. There needs to be more scrutiny of budget plans, their execution, and performance of these sectors, all of which should support those living in poverty.

Re-opening the economy whilst also taking care of health concerns has been a balancing act for governments across the world, including Kenya. The country has a large population living below or just above the poverty line. It is this category of the population that are most affected by the impact of the pandemic. Reduced earnings from sluggish economic activities and job losses as a result of confinement measures by the government have to be balanced against consideration of the daily needs of those living in poverty, as well as now-looming food insecurity across the country.

Furthermore, the Covid-2019 has seen rise of mental health issues and increase of suicide case in the country.

Many cases have been reported and seems the health and community structures aren’t ready enough to support or accommodate.

While significant advances have been made in Kenya over the past 5 years to address the stigma associated with high prevalence mental disorders

such as depression and anxiety, people living with complex mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder still report experiencing high levels

of stigma and discrimination.

What can policy makers and stakeholders endorse

  • Revision of budgetary allocations to more critical sectors such as health and social protection during the pandemic. Funds re-allocated to these sectors will support the already burdened health infrastructure in the country and increase the resources available for cash transfers to people living in poverty like persons with disabilities, slum dwellers a homeless, orphans elderly, and vulnerable populations.
  • Ensure representation of persons with disabilities in the national and county response teams.
  • Provide mental health community initiatives support systems
  • Develop disability specific protocols in order to ensure specific measures are in place.
  • Request national debt abolishment from the Chinese government and other lending institutions to cushion people living in poverty against the tax regimes currently being implemented by the government
  • Expansion of internet connectivity and lower costs for users.The private sector needs to priorities investment in connectivity because of the ‘new normal’ of working and learning from home.
  • Cheaper internet bundles are needed to support government measures such as working from home and online learning for students.
  • Provide and connect water and power supply to the unreached places
  • Provision of wage subsidies,particularly to those employers hiring casual laborer’s and daily income earners to support sustainability of employment.

Sustaining local industries (micro, small and medium businesses) that provide jobs to people living in poverty should be prioritized in the short and medium term. This could be through access to cheap loans, waiver of license fees water and power taxes. The government should priorities tender awards to local industries that are able to produce or provide input for the production of protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizers, and a bailout fund should be launched to keep these industries afloat.

All in all, Throughout Africa, the pandemic is continuing to have an impact and Kenya, like most African countries, faces serious resource constraints, fragile health systems and lack of a clear inclusive strategy to fight the virus. To ensure socioeconomic recovery within a reasonable period, the government should put in place inclusive plans and resources that do not continue to weigh disproportionally on people living in poverty.

The pandemic has highlighted, more than ever, that neglecting certain sectors make people living in poverty of particular persons with disabilities more vulnerable. These are health, social protection, housing and sanitation and hygiene. There needs to be more scrutiny of budget plans, their execution, and performance of these sectors, all of which should support those living in poverty.

 

 

Which way “Euphemism or the disability sensitive language” Author Mugambi Paul

 

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

 

 

 

We know that discrimination has a big impact (negatively) on mental health – and there is a lot of discrimination that people with disabilities face and it’s so engrained in our African culture.

discrimination constitutes any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference or other differential treatment that is directly or indirectly based on the prohibited grounds of discrimination and which has the intention or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of Covenant rights…

Direct discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favorably than another person in a similar situation for a reason related to a prohibited ground (…) Direct discrimination also includes detrimental acts or omissions on the basis of prohibited grounds where there is no comparable similar situation

 the Due to discrimination and society generally making life hard unless you fit a certain mould – people with disabilities face low self-esteem and confidence, and can find it difficult to maintain employment and a healthy social life.

The impacts of disability can also extend to a person’s family and friends. On the positive side, it can bring a family closer together, but on the negative side, it can place heavy emotional demands on a family and affect their physical and mental health. One of the most crucial things to remember is that whether it be your own, or someone else’s, a person’s disability does not define them and should not stop them from achieving their goals in life

 

 

Words have power, and everyday language influences the way people think and feel about the things that are being talked about. It’s for this reason that it is so important to get language correct when discussing topics involving the disability community.

There are many words and phrases that most people know not to say. Whether using the terms seriously or in a joking manner, the words “challenged” and “handicapped” are just a few of the words that a lot of people realize are patronizing and downright offensive.

However, the phrase differently abled has come into fashion over the last few years as a substitute for the word disabled, which many people avoid because it still has negative connotations attached to it. When talking to or about someone who has a disability, many people use the phrase differently abled because it seems like a harmless term that focuses on what a person can do instead of a person’s disability, and most people who use this term mean well. But just like the more obviously offensive terms like handicapped or challenged, many people find it offensive to be called differently abled.

Why Differently Abled Is Offensive:

The term differently abled is well meaning, and it is not surprising that so many people think it would be preferable to put the attention on the ability rather than the disability. However, it is for this reason that so many people find the term differently abled to be offensive. Pretending that a health condition is just a set of interesting abilities and ignoring the disabling condition isn’t something that many people living with developmental, mental, mobility, seeing, hearing concentration difficulties or other health conditions are able to do; this is why the term comes across as patronizing. Calling someone differently abled wouldn’t be demeaning if the person actually had a set of abilities different from the average human body, such as superhuman strength or the ability to read minds. But there is no normal human body. Everyone is different. And people with disabilities aren’t the only ones who are differently abled. Some people have brown eyes, some have blue eyes and others have hazel eyes. Some people need crutches to walk, some need assistive technology to work, some need a wheelchair and others can walk unaided. No one is the same, and everyone is differently abled.

But when you have a mobility, seeing, concentration, speaking and hearing difficulties   developmental or other impairments condition, it means your body is interfering with many or all daily activities. For most people, these aren’t unusual abilities. They aren’t abilities at all. They are health conditions that are disabling.
Many people with disabilities face higher unemployment rates than able-bodied people due to discrimination and a lack of accommodations. So, referring to a disability as a different ability ignores the struggles that people with disabilities go through on a daily basis, and it is understandably infuriating when someone says, “You’re not disabled. You just have a different ability!” or “The only disability is a bad attitude!” or “See the ability!”

Since the words different ability and differently abled sound like encouraging words, they do seem like the terms that you should use to avoid offense. But focusing on the supposed positive side of things and avoiding the disability only continues to make being disabled a negative thing and something to be ashamed of. The denial of reasonable accommodation should be included in national legislation as a prohibited form of discrimination on the basis of disability. States parties should address discrimination, such as (…) denial of reasonable accommodation in public places such as public health facilities and the workplace, as well as in private places, e.g. as long as spaces are designed and built in ways that make them inaccessible to all.

The CRPD states in Article 5(3) that “[i]n order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.” The CRPD defines “reasonable accommodation” in Article 2 as:

[N]necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

 

Additionally, being from an indigenous community in Kenya some of these disability terminologies do not exist in my culture.

But the words disabled and disability aren’t slurs. They are identifiers, and continuing to tiptoe around these words makes it sound like they are bad. There is nothing wrong with having a disability, having one doesn’t make a person less than someone who isn’t affected by a disability and using the words disabled and disability shows people that there is nothing wrong with being disabled.

If the word disabled continues to be treated like a bad word and being disabled continues to be treated like a disgraceful thing that needs to be overcome, then people with disabilities will never be treated equally. The media and film industry in Africa have for long propagated these ableist attitudes thus denial of real inclusion.

 

“Seeing the ability” and “seeing the different ability” will never lead to equality. What people with disabilities need is for society to acknowledge that being disabled is okay so that accommodations can be made, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities can drop and people with disabilities can have equality?

It’s the Person’s Choice
Many want to encourage people who are dealing with a disability to not define themselves by their disability, and the phrase differently abled seems like a good way to encourage that; however, the word disabled is an identifier, and just because someone uses that to describe their health condition doesn’t mean they are defining themselves by it. They’re just describing it.

However, it’s the person who has the disability who gets to decide how they want to be labelled. If they want to define themselves by their disability, then that’s their choice. Some people who have seeing, mobility, hearing, concentration, communication difficulties developmental or other health conditions like to use the label differently abled because they find that it accurately describes what they’re going through. If someone wants to call themselves a person with a disability, disabled or differently abled, that’s their prerogative.

 

How Government can sponsor discrimination with out lifting a finger: A case of Kenyans who preach water and drink wine Author Mugambi Paul

A social media post by #Fredrick Ouko

Caught my attention.

This led me to further scrutinize the views of Kenyans and how they perceive persons with disabilities in the social media.

 

Kenya we have a  long way to go to achieve real inclusion.

.

#jane says “Waow!! Very sad!! Inclusive employment is a myth! “

 

I hope the organization of persons with disabilities and policy makers can monitor and make pronouncement on this so that youth with disabilities can be counted.

 

Let’s return to #fred and I shall quote:

Can someone explain to me like a 2-year boy, how can a state-sponsored project on youth employment exclusively set out to discriminate against youth with disabilities and no other than PS Kibicho sets out the terms :#KaziMtaani initiative launched yesterday across 47 counties, you MUST be “Abled-Bodied” and aged between 18-35 years to benefit” ow

And now the views of Kenyans which made me in Swahili saying “niliishiwa na nguvu”

 

Kenyans are saying this.

1It’s manual work sir nothing discriminatory it’s just realistic

 

  1. Inua Jamii Initiative is meant for vulnerable and PLWD Who are not able to do manual works.

3Remember kazi mtaani is purely manual work so PLWD may not be able to undertake the task ahead4. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Kibicho’s statement…. it’s you who has stated it negatively and not him.

 

  1. It’s manual work sir nothing discriminatory it’s just realistic

 

5Stop being unnecessarily sensitive mheshimiwa..The government is quite specific on the type of employees it requires for the job. Just the same way it can put a master’s degree requirement etc. There’s a reason why able-bodied is specified.

6 Kazi mtaani needs energy and body movements

7 Anybody who can carry jembe, spades and shovels is able bodied. With all due respect nothing makes anybody who is abled differently from doing a job he/she can ably do. You are the one discriminating the same people you represent

  1. Anyone who can work is able bodied. Why are you feeling like the stt attacks people like you? Kwani hauko able bodied?

9 Abled bodied doesn’t mean discrimination against people living with disabilities, it mean you must be strong not weak to undertake the said activities. You may not be living with disabilities but you are weak hence unable to perform the tusk.

10 Si the disabled and the aged wanapewa pesa zao ?

11 Able bodied includes the albinos and others that have ability to work. Nothing is discriminatory in that statement. You must be having an understanding

12 A person who is lame, or has a disability is still able bodied but abled differently. We nowadays don’t call such disability!!! You should know that already.

13 Remember kazi mtaani is purely manual work so PLWD may not be able to undertake the task ahead

14 The term cannot be avoided since some of the workers can only be executed by able bodies eg security guards. Wait for your time unless you’re seeking publicity.

 

15 Your understanding of queen’s language is disabled.

16 It’s manual work sir nothing discriminatory it’s just realistic

17 This is the reason PWDs need advocacy. Able bodied is a prejudistic term in this case

18 I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Kibicho’s statement…. it’s you who has stated it negatively and not him.

19 He’s right, no descrimanatory..he said “able-bodied”…so if albinism and hear impaired are abled bodied,then he’s captured n the statement

20 Not all jobs you must be included…. Some slots are just for able bodied 🤣🤣🤣

21 I think you dont understand the word able-bodied…

22 Have you ever seen an albino who is a bouncer

23 Stop being unnecessarily sensitive mheshimiwa..The government is quite specific on the type of employees it requires for the job. Just the same way it can put a masters degree requirement etc.. There’s a reason why able-bodied is specified.

24 Very discrimatory even writting needs able body.

25 Si the disabled and the aged wanapewa pesa zao ?

 

 

 

 

Anyway what should the message be to all Kenyans:

With due respect all,  your words “Must be able-bodied” are discriminatory and are in total contravention to our constitution article 54, persons with disabilities act of Parliament of 2003 session paper number 14 and UNCRPD (united Nation convention on the rights of persons with disabilities) which Kenya ratified in 2008.

All in all, as I  normally say if we aren’t in the cake making we can’t be counted. when shall ablism tendency end?

 

The silent Killer in Kenya Guest writer Martin Mukenya.

Signs and symptoms of mental illness can

 vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions,

thoughts and behaviors.

Examples of signs and symptoms include:

Feeling sad or down

Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate

Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt

Extreme mood changes of highs and lows

Withdrawal from friends and activities

Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping

Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations

Inability to cope with daily problems or stress

Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people

Problems with alcohol or drug use

Major changes in eating habits

Sex drive changes

Excessive anger, hostility or violence

Suicidal thinking

Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and

pains. Risk factors

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, including:

A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling

Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one’s death or a divorce

An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes

Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (traumatic brain injury), such as a violent blow to the head

Traumatic experiences, such as military combat or assault

Use of alcohol or recreational drugs

A childhood history of abuse or neglect

Few friends or few healthy relationships

A previous mental illness What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to have times where you experience:

manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high)

depressive episodes (feeling low)

potentially some psychotic symptoms during manic or depressed episode PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER

The thoughts, feelings and experiences associated with paranoia may cause you to:

find it hard to confide in people, even your friends and family

find it very difficult to trust other people, believing they will use you or take advantage of you

have difficulty relaxing

read threats and danger (which others don’t see) into everyday situations, innocent remarks or casual looks from others. We all seem to be victims of Mental

illness, and sadly most people are suffering in silence either unknown to them, maybe shared to someone but it never made sense or society perceptions

for fear of stigma.

The stigma of mental illness in Kenya and by extension in Africa has caused many people to suffer in silence. In Africa mental issues are attributed to

either witchcraft or spiritual problems.

Lack of understanding also contributes as sited in this article

https://www.mugambipaul.com/tag/mental-illness/

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle

stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, you’re thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to

mental health problems, including:

Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry

Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse

Family history of mental health problems

Mental illness can make it difficult for someone to cope with work, relationships and other demands. The relationship between stress and mental illness

is complex, but it is known that stress can worsen an episode of mental illness. Most people can manage their mental illness with medication, counselling

or both.

Recently, the government launched the Kenya Mental Health Policy 2015-2030. The Policy states that 1 in every 4 Kenyans suffers from mental ill health

in their lifetime. That translates to 12 m Kenyans who will need medical attention.

Kenya has 88 consultant psychiatrists and about 500 psychiatric nurses serving a population of over 45 million people.

Our big obligation is to ensure that the right patients get the right care and treatment, at the right time, and in the right setting.

http://publications.universalhealth2030.org/uploads/Kenya-Mental-Health-Policy.pdf

 I know many can’t gather courage to discuss stress, depression, emotional health, mental health issues but please during this corona virus moment because

of the negative economic effects keep your yourself, family friends and members of this platform on check.

Mind is communication.

 

All in all, Kenyans are suffering silently. It’s a ticking set bomb. Many have committed suicide while men and women with disabilities have often an increase of mental health concerns.

 

 

 

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 

Martin Mukenya is a social change maker,

Entrepreneur. Mentor and one of the young leading strategic thinkers.

Why 2020 decided to put its foot in our behinds. Author Mugambi Paul

According to the world blind union, it is estimated 285 million people are Blind and vision impaired. worldwide with about 90% of them living in low-income countries.  Of all the school-age children with visual impairment, less than half were receiving education. 

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that has now enveloped the whole world, most governments took drastic measures of shutting down institutions of learning.

I affirm as a Blind fellow in the low-income country it is worse to be Blind at this Corona period.

This is because of the educational inequalities ranging from attitudinal, institutional and existence of the environmental barriers.

To put matters differently Blind and vision impaired persons are experiencing quadruple worries:

Lack of inclusive education Corona policies

Lack of skills and lack of   assistive technology,

lack of devices needed for reading and writing

Lack of available of even traditional modes of technology while at home e.g. Brail books, adaptive graphics.

Psycosocial distress.

Inaccessible built environments

Increase of discrimination

Additionally, all these issues have rendered individuals with blindness to suffer. Evidently in most countries they have provided alternative learning through the 4th revolution uptake of digital learning but not having the blind and vision impaired in mind.

Am very sad to say the list since the approaches and techniques adapted by most ministry of education has ensured Blind, visually impaired and Deafblind have been left behind.

Notably, over 80% of all incidental learning and the performance of activities of daily living are dependent on sight.  

The SDG slogan “don’t live us behind”” is unwanted ringtone to many blind and vision impaired.

The barriers experienced by many blind and vision impaired persons range from usage of non-visual chats, inaccessible contents, non-inclusive plans,

Lack of affordability of the radios and television among blind and vision impaired persons since poverty and disability are twin brothers.

Inaccessible modes of learning and channels of media.

Someone should educate me how braille will be examined virtually!

Someone should tell me how the adapted sciences will be examined virtually.

To be a student in the corona era seems to be a torture chamber by itself.

Its not that blind and vision impaired were not facing these challenges before but Covid 2019 has excarnificated the experiences.

Another instance is the experiences of girls and women who are blind and vision impaired are at higher risk of gender-based violence and it’s on record with the self-isolation guidelines many will be taken advantage.

I won’t be surprised to know the pregnancy rates have increased.

Human rights reports in several countries have shown how persons with disabilities are stuffing in the hands of close relatives and family members.

 

Lastly, the real, refugee set ups and internally displaced individuals who are blind and vision impaired are worse hit since they aren’t able to access the alternative mode of learning and support mechanisms are not in place.

The voice of the Blind and vision impaired seemed to have been stung led by the lack of alternative formats of Corona and then ensured to instigate the burial ceremony by many state and non-state actors.

Moreover, most governments do not have inclusive emergency plans in place thus persons with disabilities come as a second thought.

Is this fair for many students who are blind and vision impaired?

UnCRPD, many constitutions expressly advocate for right to education.

All in all, even under normal circumstances, persons who are blind and vision impaired are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community. They are more likely to live in poverty, experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse, and are among the most marginalized in any crisis-affected community. COVID-19 has further compounded this situation, disproportionately impacting persons who are blind and vision impaired both directly and indirectly.

An integrated approach is required to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind in COVID-19 education response and recovery. It calls for placing them at the centre of the response, participating as agents of planning and implementation. All COVID-19 related action must prohibit any form of discrimination based on blindness and take into consideration the intersections of gender and age, among other factors. This is necessary effectively and efficiently to address and prevent barriers inclusion will result in a COVID19 response and recovery that better serves everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as building back better. It will provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations, reaching the furthest behind first.

 

governments need to put measures in place to ensure many blind and vision impaired persons do not fall in to the cracks.

I would like to see inclusive strategies adapted to ensure that no one is left behind.

 

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

How to stop “Discrimination” in the Corona era! a call by Public policy scholars.

Addressing discrimination and inequality in the global response to COVID-19

In the short time since the start of this new decade, life has changed dramatically across the world. COVID-19 has now spread to more than 185 countries. The number of recorded cases has surpassed 3.5 million. Families and friends across the globe are mourning the loss of more than 240,000 people. With the stated intention of controlling the spread of the virus and protecting lives, States are implementing unprecedented restrictions on movement both within and between countries (“lockdowns”), with significant and wide-ranging impacts on societies and economies.  

As these measures have taken effect, it has become clear that, while the virus is indiscriminate, the impacts of state responses are not. In late April, launching a new report, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres stated that the pandemic is a public health emergency “that is fast becoming a human rights crisis”. As that UN report highlights, there is clear and growing evidence that state responses in delivery of healthcare, in the implementation of lockdown measures and in policies designed to mitigate economic impacts are having disproportionate and discriminatory impacts. These effects are being experienced by all groups exposed to discrimination, including, but not limited to, older persons, children, persons with disabilities, women, ethnic and religious minorities and indigenous peoples, persons, persons living with HIV and AIDS, and migrants, refugees and stateless persons. They are impacting upon the enjoyment of rights ranging from freedom of movement to access to education and from access to information to an adequate standard of living, together, of course, with the rights to life and to health. 

These discriminatory impacts are occurring despite the fact that almost every State in the world has accepted international legal obligations to ensure the equal enjoyment of human rights, without discrimination. At a bare minimum, these obligations require that the State – whether through law, policy or practice – does not discriminate in its actions. They also create a duty to provide effective protection from all forms of discrimination by private actors and to make reasonable accommodation when required. These obligations apply to all: citizen and non-citizen, irrespective of their identity, status or beliefs. They are “immediate and cross-cutting”. They apply in respect of all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Crucially, while international law recognises that in states of emergency, States can limit the enjoyment of certain human rights, their obligations to ensure nondiscrimination remain – emergency measures must not discriminate either in their purpose or their effects.

As this unprecedented global crisis unfolds, it is clear that States are failing to meet their nondiscrimination obligations. Their responses – largely driven by a stated intention to protect lives – are having a wide range of discriminatory impacts. While many of these effects may be unintended, the lack of intent does not limit States’ obligations. Moreover, with new evidence emerging each week, it is clear that we cannot yet foresee the full range of discriminatory impacts which this crisis will engender. 

State obligations to assess and address equality impacts

We call on all States to incorporate equality impact assessment as an integral element of their ongoing public health, economic and social policy responses to the crisis. It is only through assessing the equality impacts of their policy responses that States can ensure that their actions comply with their binding non-discrimination obligations under international law. Equality impact assessment is the only way that States can anticipate and eliminate the discriminatory effects of their policy responses, including those which are unintended or unforeseen.

Equality impact assessments must be aimed at identifying and eliminating the actual or potential discriminatory effects of State policies. They should also ensure that policies and programmes respond to and accommodate the different needs of diverse groups with due consideration to intersectionality and that they do not create or exacerbate inequality. 

In order to ensure that States comply with their international legal obligations, equality impact assessments should be pre-emptive, coming before new policy measures are adopted and before any changes are made to policies which are already in force. Where measures have already been adopted, equality impact assessment should be undertaken as an urgent priority. Where discriminatory impacts are identified, measures to eliminate any discrimination or inequality of impact should be taken with immediate effect. States must ensure that they involve and consult all groups at risk of discrimination and experiencing inequality in conducting equality impact assessment. States must ensure that equality impact assessment is an essential element of their monitoring and review of policy responses to the pandemic and of their on the ground effects. Both initial assessments and ongoing monitoring must be informed by the collection of data on the experiences and outcomes of groups exposed to discrimination

All policy responses to the crisis must be subject to assessment, including those relating to the management of healthcare and other resources, the restriction of civil liberties, closure of businesses and educational establishments, adaptation of support services, economic and social protection programmes, immigration and border control and the use of new information technologies. The actual or potential equality impacts of actions by both state and private actors must be assessed.  

A renewed commitment to the creation of an equal world

Furthermore, we call on all States to emerge from the current crisis with a renewed commitment to the elimination of all forms of discrimination and the creation of a world in which all are “free and equal in dignity and rights”. The wide range of unintended discriminatory consequences of state responses to the crisis – ranging from the increased exposure to the virus amongst ethnic minority populations to the rise in domestic violence – only serve to underline the deep inequalities within our societies and the failure to address the systemic discrimination which feeds them. 

This crisis has shone a harsh and unforgiving light on these existing inequalities. We must emerge from it ready to forge a world in which all can participate equally. Arundhati Roy has described this pandemic as a portal, “a gateway between one world and the next”. We call on States to ensure that we walk through this portal leaving no one behind, and with a shared determination to create an equal world.

Hope beyond COVID-19 Author Mugambi Paul

Africans with disabilities are largely left out of the African governments. coronavirus response despite being uniquely affected by the disease, as discussed by the international disability alliance, several disability experts and Views expressed in different social media platforms.

 

Palpably, The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of our daily lives, but its impacts are especially acute for disabled persons, who may

struggle with challenges like finding reliable and safe in-home care or physically adapting to enhanced hand-washing guidance.

But the coronavirus outbreak has also created opportunities for more equitable inclusion after the pandemic ends.

How might the pandemic disturb those who have disabilities?

For disabled persons, all the general challenges that come with the pandemic certainly apply, but there are additional barriers. The first is communication—getting

information can be more difficult for people with vision, hearing, and even cognitive disabilities, as popular news sources may not be accessible, especially

when information is changing quickly. I’m Blind and can attest to that. Keeping all of us informed is key to the COVID-19 public health response,

but information is not always accessible to the disability community, for instance data visual charts are not understood.

The second barrier involves adopting recommended public health strategies, such as social distancing and washing hands. For example, frequent hand-washing

is not always feasible for people with certain types of physical disabilities. As a public scholar I know the value of these strategies, but public health

policies often do not consider people with disabilities, leaving a gap in guidance. Those who have personal aides like sighted guides for Deaf blind and Blind individuals, and caregivers also need to be considered,

as they cannot participate in social distancing in the same way that others are.

The third, equitable access to health care, is a long-standing barrier worsened by COVID-19. This ranges from getting a coronavirus test to being seen

in an emergency room. For instance, drive-up testing may be impossible if you rely on state mobility services. There are also existing barriers in health

care settings that are exacerbated as the industry aims to meet the surge of COVID-19 cases. For example, the use of personal protective equipment, including

masks, can make communication more difficult for patients with hearing loss.

Additionally, the allocation of medical resources is a concern. There’s fear that medical resource allocation, including ventilators, may be discriminatory

against patients with disabilities. In Europe and united states of America some organization of persons with disabilities and human rights bodies have filed complains about these rationing policies. This issue echoes an underlying misconception

that people with disabilities can’t have a high quality of life and therefore the lives of disabled people may not be prioritized.

What lessons can African government learn from inclusion in Corona response for disabled persons?

in some countries, there has been a shift toward telehealth for nonurgent medical visits. That has provided challenges but also future

opportunities for the disability sector. We must ensure that telehealth visits are accessible to patients with vision or hearing loss or other disabilities

in order to maintain equity in health care delivery. If accessibility is prioritized as we make this change, a transition to telehealth could open the

door to a more accessible health care system.

Several studies have underpinned, THE ISSUES OF PRE-PANDEMIC CARE DELIVERY ONLY BECOME MORE URGENT IN A TIME OF CRISIS BECAUSE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES HAVE OFTEN NOT BEEN CONSIDERED IN

A DISASTER OR PANDEMIC PLANNING.

While there’s a lot of pressure and certainly a high demand to meet the COVID-19 surge, it is still crucial to make sure that the organizations of persons with disabilities and disability experts

is being considered. It’s truly a remarkable and challenging moment for African health system, but the needs of the disability community can’t fall through

the cracks. The issues of pre-pandemic care delivery only become more urgent in a time of crisis because people with disabilities have often not been considered

in a disaster or pandemic planning. We need to learn from this crisis and ensure disability is part of future pandemic planning.

For those in the disability community who require in-home care or essential services when away from home, what steps can be taken to minimize the risk

of spreading the coronavirus while still receiving necessary care and assistance?

People who use in-home support care need to make sure that they have contingency plans for their care needs in case a caregiver becomes ill. Caregivers and community

organizations should also consider changing their staffing to the best of their ability in order to minimize spread. For instance, instead of three rotating

caregivers being assigned to an individual, assign one for a longer period of time. For people with a primary caregiver in the home, more flexibility in

paid time off or sick leave can minimize exposure while also meeting the care needs of the individual. What’s really important is to engage the individual

and the disability community at the policy level.

Furthermore, MANY disabled persons ARE AT HIGH RISK OF COVID-19, BUT THEIR PERSPECTIVE IS NOT BEING INCLUDED IN THE EFFORTS TO ADDRESS INEQUITIES IN THE RESPONSE.

For instance, most Kenyan policy directives are not disability inclusive.

 

In a moment when many providers have had to alter their operations due to the pandemic, what are ways to advocate for essential services and treatment

for the disability community?

The best approach is to ensure that whenever we’re talking about inequity or differences in the COVID-19 response, disability is part of the discussion.

Many people with disabilities are at high risk of COVID-19, but their perspective is not being included in the efforts to address inequities in the response.

This includes understanding the unique challenges of this community during this crisis.

We also need disability data. There is currently no systematic reporting of COVID-19 testing, infection, mortality, or outcomes by disability status.

This is evident by the daily media updates from different countries.

For example, in east Africa important differences in this data by age, geographic location, underlying health condition, estate location and race have emerged. These data have been

critical for allocating resources and directing policies, as well as highlighting underlying disparities and elevating discussions around these health

gaps. But for people with disabilities, an often-ignored health disparity population, we don’t even get counted. And this is not just the case for COVID-19.

Disability data is infrequently collected in this type of public health and medical surveillance, which limits opportunities to address disability inequities.

As a public policy scholar and expert on diversity and inclusion I affirm and recommend the data being reported should be 15 % or more are persons with disabilities “WHO 2011”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, what impact and legacy do you think it will have for those living with disabilities?

I’m an optimistic person, and though it can be hard to think positively right now, there is an opportunity to change how we include people with disabilities

in this moment. COVID-19 has elevated that conversation, and the legacy should be a continued focus on disability disparities and constant efforts to address

disability inequities.

As we all make substantial changes in our daily lives, such as working from home and adjusting how we connect to others, look to people with disabilities

for guidance, as we have always used alternative strategies. We are the vanguards of resilience. My hope is that COVID-19 will bring more understanding,

inclusion, and opportunity to the African disability community.

 

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.

Australian Chief Minister Award winner

“excellence of making inclusion happen”

 

Will corona 2019 be the answer of removing the disabled Kenyans under the bus by the policy makers? “WHY WE MUST ADDRESS STRUCTURAL INEQUALITIES” Guest Author Mildred Omino

 

World Health Organization declared Coronavirus Disease (COVID19) a pandemic on March 11,2020 following presence of 118,000 cases in over 110 countries and territories around the world with a sustained risk for further spread. At a media briefing, Dr. Tedros, The WHO Director General called upon sectoral and individual involvement in the fight against COVID-19.

Two days after the declaration of the Pandemic by WHO, Kenya recorded the first case of COVID19 amid panic and speculations among the citizens. Prior to the declaration, the disease outbreak was surrounded by myths such as “Children are immune to the Virus”, “The virus can’t survive in high temperatures”, and “The virus affects old people”. With all these myths, Kenyans felt safe since the myths presented a favorable situation to majority of the population. Some of the quick measures enforced by the government of Kenya were, closure of all learning institutions, establishment of COVID emergency response committees at both national and county level as well as regular media briefings on the situation of COVID19 as well as national guidelines on how to contain the virus.

As the virus made top agenda both globally and nationally with infections spreading pretty fast, there was little or no focus given to the impact of the virus on people with disabilities from basic actions such as access to information to critical measures such as emergency response measures to the pandemic.

Globally, the world is home to approximately one billion people with disabilities, eighty percent who live in developing countries and 2-4% experience significant difficulty in functioning. With the increased prevalence of chronic diseases this number is bound to increase. People with disability experience poorer health outcomes, have less access to education and work opportunities, and are more likely to live in poverty than those without a disability. The global situation of people with disabilities as outlined by WHO and World Bank is replicated in Kenya

 

Why We must address Structural Inequalities experienced by persons with disabilities:

In the Wake of COVID19, WHO and respective government ministries of health have developed and advanced key messages around hand hygiene, social distancing, quarantine, isolation of suspected cases and staying at home”.

Majority of persons with disabilities have been missing out on key messages on containing the virus for various reasons such as lack of sign language interpreters during media briefings, lack of information in accessible formats, complexity in messaging for people with intellectual disabilities and “complete cut off on information for poor disabled persons who can’t access television, internet, smart phones merely because the information channels has been social media, radio and television”.

Social distancing has proven to be the most difficult outcome for people with disabilities who are constantly and in fulltime need of personal assistance and personal guides for basic services such as self-care. Little or no information is available for personal assistants of persons with disabilities on best ways of offering care to persons with disabilities during this pandemic, thereby leaving people with disabilities to act in their own discretion.

More so, hand sanitization goes beyond hands all the way to assistive devices such as crutches, calipers, prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and white canes just to name but a few. This aspect in itself compounds the cost of sanitizers used by persons with disabilities. And for those who do not have assistive devices and are forced to crawl or walk while touching surfaces, the situation becomes even more wanting! The whole aspect of sanitization is either compromised or too expensive if at all it is achievable.

 

The New Normal:

With the outbreak of COVID19 most people are working from home with exception of those who are providing essential services which must be provided on site. Companies/businesses and individuals have quickly adopted to “working remotely” as the only feasible way to contain the spread of the virus. Interesting enough, most jobs in both private and public sector which were presumed to be undertaken in office setting are currently being done from home with support of Technology. One would rightfully think that this “New normal” is the ideal situation for people with disabilities who courtesy of their disability would conveniently work remotely and on ‘’flexi schedules”.

The reality check reveals that majority of persons with disability are unemployed with key reasons for unemployment being inaccessible workplaces i.e. lack of elevators and ramps in office buildings, high cost of hiring sign language interpreters and personal assistants as well as the cost of making adjustments/modifications to office buildings to ensure that they are disability friendly. These scenarios have prompted most potential employers to hire people without disabilities and simply forget about the nightmare of “reasonable accommodations” that would create an employment opportunity for a person with disability.

Potential Employers have also lamented that persons with disabilities lack the requisite qualifications for various jobs. The case of structural inequalities is well demonstrated in education system where learners with disabilities struggles to get education that would adequately prepare them for the job market. The systemic challenges boil down to physical accessibility of learning institutions, inadequate adaptive technology to support disability specific needs, lack of assistive devices and limited or no resources allocated to meet disability specific needs. A small percentage of learners with disabilities make it to higher education whereas majority do not transition from basic education to higher education

Inequitable and socially unjust systems have led to underemployment and unemployment of persons with disabilities leaving most of them to work in the informal sector or to be totally unemployed and a few employed in private and public sector. Post COVID19 it would be important to offer equitable education and employment opportunities now that we know that most jobs can be done remotely without heavy investment on physical infrastructure. Policy makers should desist from policies that lump all vulnerable groups together but rather develop policy guidelines that speak to specific guidelines on how to mitigate the unique challenges of the different vulnerable groups, whether Children, Women, Persons with Disabilities or old people.

 

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 

Mildred Omino

Founder,Women and Realities of Disability Society

Feminist and Disability Rights Champion

Will it be the “White smoke” from the 10 billion Cash transfer to the disabled Kenyans? Author Mugambi Paul and DR Siyat.

Over the last 3 weeks the Kenyan government has been excoriated on the measure it would avail to the poor due to the hard-economic times and the coming in of Covid-2019 pandemic. Talking of poverty,

several studies show disabled Kenyans are the largest minority who face this tragedy.

Kenyans with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the current situation, as we are by all-natural disasters and major crises. It is vital that our

voices are part of developing solutions, innovating, problem solving.

as 2 experts we are deeply concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled Kenyans, chronic ill persons and the elderly. Bearing in mind that Kenyans with disabilities are among the Kenya’s most marginalized and stigmatized even under normal circumstances.

This requires us all to act, interact and communicate in different ways than we are used to. However, the social inequalities

degeneration COVID19’s impact on Kenyans with disabilities are not new. The risk in the response to the current crisis is that disabled Kenyans

will be left behind once again. The good news is that we already know what works. Fundamentally, we need social justice, equality of opportunities and

decent work.

According the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities “The pandemic is an unprecedented public health,

social and economic emergency that requires swift and effective action by Kenyan public and private sectors, and the society at large.

We know that COVID-19 is more serious for those with underlying health conditions and particularly those who are immunocompromised. What does this outbreak mean for the Kenyan Disability community?

Both national and county Governments should ensure they take

all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of disabled persons, aged and persons with chronic illnesses] Ilo 2020 WHO 2020 UN 2020 HI 2020 [.

 Legal framework:

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that people with disability have the right to health without discrimination

on the basis of disability, including access to population-based public health programmes (Article 25) and that governments also have a duty to take all

necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk (Article 11).

 

Facts to consider:

Providentially, even in non-pandemic circumstances, people with disability are more likely than the general population to have health issues, compromised immunity, increased

risk of morbidity, comorbidities and are more likely to die from preventable causes] Whiteford 2011 DFID 2013, HI 2015un 2012].

According to several studies Some disabled Kenyans will be unable to maintain social distancing

practices because they rely on support workers for vital daily personal care, such as eating, drinking, walking, mobility toileting and dressing.

in addition, disabled Kenyans often rely on family, friends and care givers to provide essential services. During the Corona pandemic, these people may not be able

to provide their usual support.   

Also, in different Kenyan social media platforms disabled Kenyans like many in the broader community, are expressing anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of course, this nervousness is exacerbated by the feeling that they are being left behind or ignored by Kenyan government, private sector and community Corona responses.

Background of social assistance programmes:

Current social assistance programmes include the Older Persons Cash Transfer Programme; the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer Programme; the Persons with Severe Disabilities Cash Transfer Programme; the Hunger Safety Net Programme; and the Urban Food Subsidy Programme. The effective implementation of these programmes is constrained by challenges such as how to refine inclusion and exclusion criteria and how to determine appropriate transfer amounts.

 

Corona Rescue plan:

We acknowledge the efforts made by Kenyan government by the issuance of the additional 10 billion Kenyan shillings to the ministry of social protection for the vulnerable population in form of cash transfer.

Definitely in the coming days disabled Kenyans expect a white smoke at the NSSF building which houses the ministry of social protection in Kenya.

Most disabled Kenyans are highly expectant of the policy regulations and guidelines on the 10 billion promise by the executive order by the president of Kenya.

Unequivocally, with proper feedback mechanisms and regular consultation disabled Kenyans will be able to know if cash transfer policy programmed will meet their policy needs.

In other words, disabled Kenyans will comprehend how  the 10 billion cash transfer injection to the inua jamii will target the current registered severe disabled persons, elderly, orphans and vulnerable children or it will be meant  for targeting additional new  vulnerable individuals due to the effects of  of Corona 2019. Arguably, much of the debate about cash transfer among disabled Kenyans programmes revolves around the issues of targeting. This is because with the current strategy only severe disabled persons are targeted and considered.

https://labour.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/MLSP-Strategic-Plan-2018-2022_17.09.2019.pdf

 

 

This will be a great test as different stakeholders and policy makers in the social protection department scratch their heads on the right footing on which to take in the implementation policy framework.

Will the policy makers ensure inclusion of other disabled Kenyans since they are also mostly vulnerable?

We believe the cash transfer will avert the short-term impact of the Corona crisis and attenuate its long-term negative effects on human development outcomes.

Nonetheless, it is one thing to say that Kenya with Inua jamii -like programmes are sheltering the more vulnerable from the worst consequences of the Corona crisis, and another to recommend that Inua jamii programmes be designed and implemented during a crisis Lehmann, C. (2012. Several steps are involved, political will is required, and funds must be committed. The ministry of social protection has a pivotal role to ensure coordination, operation and more resources even from development partners.

We observe, the Cash transfer programme will be effective if it will be implemented under a sustainable social protection strategy. Such a strategy should enable better coordination among programmes, between the national and county government ,and among the different international players in order to avoid duplication of effort and waste of resources.

For instance, Mombasa have already started a SMS service asking those who aren’t in the Cash transfer to register “widows, orphans, persons with disabilities, and persons with pre-existing conditions into the emergency plan

Has Mombasa county link up with the national cash transfer programme?

Data base and registration for the cash transfer:

Due to social distance directive as a preventive measure of spread of Corona. Will the ministry of social protection work on vigorous registration, collection of data and automation of all new persons with disabilities, orphans and the elderly?

Or will the ministry of social protection synchronize the current departments databases of children services, NCPWD and   department of social development under the strategic guidance of the National Social Protection Secretariat programme?

This will enable to identify the unmet needs through geographic, demographic and welfare status.

Furthermore, quite a lot of reports indicate the current enhanced single registry adapted through the social assistance programme has improved efficiency and reduction of bottlenecks experienced when the ministry of social protection had 3 separate registries [development pathways 2020[.

Through this policy integration the ministry has    a clear database and actualize its programmes effectively Bobonis, G. and F. Finan (2019).

Such database can enable the ministry to build an array of indicators on disabled persons, orphans and vulnerable children, elderly socioeconomic conditions. Therefore, this is a powerful tool for mapping the different needs. and they could be used to guide other policies. Like the current need of food, water, soap and hand sanitizers.  Moreover, Registries enhance monitoring of the poorest families’ access to social services and infrastructure in a more calibrated way than household surveys. The latter, though they are nationally representative, are often based on small samples that do not facilitate sound analysis for local-level interventions. This knowledge base allows rapid crisis response when programmes may need to expand in order to cover a larger proportion of those that fall into poverty.

Key considerations for the cash transfer:

We consider that the ministry of social protection will cast tis net wider in order to seek input from people with disability, leading disability experts, organizations of persons with disabilities and advocates

in developing their dedicated cash transfer strategy, and in particular, in its COVID-19 Coordination

secondly, Disabled Kenyans with disability, particularly slum dwellers and rural inhabitants, may be disproportionately affected by the pandemic due to increased risk of

infection, higher number of co‑morbidities and because of underlying health conditions such as chronic diseases and respiratory illnesses. Numerically speaking, most disabled persons in Kenya live in slum areas and rural areas without basic amenities. Some live-in solitude while others have been housed.

Most of the disabled population and other low-income earners live hand to mouth. This is to say, COVID-19 will spread rapidly and is especially dangerous to people living in close proximity to others in closed settings [WHO 2020].

Worse still, Thousands of adults and children

with disabilities in Kenya live in segregated and often overcrowded residential settings where they can face neglect, abuse, gender-based violence, and inadequate health care and lack human Rights.

Of particular concern are women and girls with disabilities.

This affirms that disable Kenyans are survivors in this country [KNHR 2015]

 

Thirdly disabled Kenyans continue to face barriers in accessing health care, including prevention, testing, screening and treatment for COVID-19. Fourthly, disabled Kenyans will be   unable to access regular and vital medications and therapeutic services due to low supplies and restrictions in access. Fifthly, disabled Kenyans may not have access to mental health services at a time when the need for accessible and responsive mental health is heightened. Sixthly,

disabled Kenyans will be unable to easily access essential health supplies to keep themselves safe, such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitiser and sterilising

Equipment.

lastly are worried that discrimination or unconscious bias could impact their access to critical and lifesaving health care during this crisis.

to we hope the measures taken will ensure the needs of all Kenyans with disabilities are included in

the response to the pandemic.

As experts we appreciate and acknowledges the challenges that national and county governments and private sector are facing during this pandemic.

 

We call upon all national and county governments to ensure that, in their responses, they include dedicated disability strategies to protect and support disabled Kenyans.

Long term solutions:

We opine that Kenya is still a developing nation We therefore suggest inclusion of one our BBI recommendations which we presented at the task force in February 7th, 2020 as a long-term solution.

  1. Ministry of social protection to establish a disability employment service department under the national employment authority since the authority is in charge of all Kenyans in need of employment. so that they are able to execute employment needs of persons with disabilities Through this agency real disability mainstreaming will be achieved. If this recommendation will be adapted, we believe rapid change will take place. We opine disabled persons won’t need to be in cash transfer for long since cash transfers are not meant for long term programming.
  2. We hope the ministry of social protection can take advantage of the Corona crises to execute of reasonable accommodation plans in all its organs and offer vital lessons to both public and private sector.

All in all, our policymakers will have to come up with a homegrown resolution for ensuring disabled Kenyans rights are protected. And this will not be easy.

 

 

 

The views expressed here are for the authors and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.

Dr Siyat is a  independent  consultant and systemic advocacy service provider.

 

Why Social Isolation is a Greek term to the disabled Kenyans: Author Mugambi Paul

Several studies indicate that in an emergency person who are disabled, aged and who have chronic illnesses are mostly left behind and most at risk [Help age 2012, HI 2019, UN 2020, WHO 2020].

This is because persons without disabilities will be fighting and running away for their fate. As evidenced many Kenyans have started to go back to the rural places.

 

As a public policy scholar and with lived experience of being disabled and advocate for inclusive approaches in both humanitarian and development spheres.

I am concerned on the current and feature effects of Corona on lives of disabled Kenyans and chronically ill people who are currently falling into cracks.

In other words, they are

being hit and particularly hard by the virus outbreak and access to support services seem to be becoming scarce and finally

will be cut as the crisis worsens.

Evidently, in Nairobi and other major towns Panic buying of cereals, groceries, toilet papers, hand sanitizers and other protective equipment, which also disabled and chronic ill people need have suddenly doubled the prices and also have started to be scarce.

I  observe,  Kenyans without disabilities  and who can stockpile are the ones who are probably less at risk because they were able to rush out to the shops, whereas a lot of disabled Kenyans like  me,  elderly, e and persons with   chronic illnesses just can’t get these commodities.

This is coupled with high poverty levels among the disabled Kenyans.

On the other hand, the Cabinet secretary of Health gave a directive prioritizing the elderly and persons with disabilities in the queuing system in the supermarket [daily nation Friday March 2020[

This pronouncement shows that disabled persons have started to be brought in in Corona conversations though much needs to be done in order not to live us behind. If this directive will be followed, we are yet to see.

 

Could the Kenyan supermarket borrow a leaf from Tesco in the United Kingdom or supermarkets in Australia?

In both nations they have reasonable accommodation for ensuring disabled persons, elderly and persons with chronic illnesses are able to shop comfortable and provision of delivery for those with large shopping.

The Corona virus has equalized us all and it has led to the realization that what works for all works for disabled too] UN 2006 UNDP 2017 ILO 2019 Whiteford 2019].

 

Dilemma of social distance: you

 

Social distancing is not an option for disabled Kenyans. The Kenyan government and more so the ministry of health and disability stakeholders need to go back to the drawing board in order to address the needs and priorities of disabled Kenyans so that we can have inclusive corona interventions.

Of course, many Kenyans with out disabilities take things for granted. This is because most will never fit in to our shoes till when they join our disability club.

For instance, Kenyans    with a disability, who rely on care givers and support workers for daily living and sighted guide services including washing and dressing.

I am talking about people with spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, sometimes people with intellectual disability, psychosocial disability, the elderly, Down syndrome,

that might need assistance with showering, with going to the toilet.

Moreover, social stigma in Kenya is still ripe,

Shoppers who ar blind and vision impaired will not get sighted guided assistance in the shopping spree due to the continued pronouncement by Kenyan government that we should be one metre point five away and avoid handshakes.

in case the president issues an executive order of total or partial lock down, I observe the disabled will be worst hit even withing there local surroundings.

Did you know most of the local shopping areas are highly squeezed and have low ventilation?

How will my fellow wheelchair users avoid assistance not being close while many of the wheelchairs in Kenya are manual?

Furthermore, some disabled creep on the floors!

How will they shopwith out contacts?

Most Kenyan roads are inaccessible how will the Blind and vision impaired avoid falling in to ditches and trenches?

Our independence and self estieem by the use of assistive divides is being questioned!

How can this non handshake apply to mobility impaired persons like Blind, Crutch users, wheelchair users?

Does the Cabinet secretary of Health and policy makers know our devices are metallic?

What if the care giver is infected and need to self-isolate?

This will make Disabled persons become at higher risk,

Additionally, the actual time and effort of finding somebody else, finding the right person that’s going to fit, as well

as then training someone up from scratch again, is a huge effort for people with very high support needs who are going to be in that really high-risk category. The ministry of health needs to train its front-line staff on basic disability inclusion tips

 

Why are the disability sector and stakeholders silent as the lack of disability inclusive Corona continues?

Are they contributing to uninterrupted discrimination and injustice to the larger wanjikus with disabilities?

I suppose they are hiding and later after the Corona era is over, they will claim we were left behind!

The Kenyan media should rise to the occasion and speak on behalf of the disabled Kenyans and persons with chronic illnesses.

Contribution by disability sector:

The disability sector, human right bodies and other policy stakeholders have the role to monitor and report the government organs on the said implementation.

This is actually time for disabled experts, disabled persons organizations, human right bodies state organs practising disability mainstreaming should contribute to more inclusive Corona interventions.

What if the Kenyan disabled stakeholders changed tact and start to advocate for now the silent revolution of reasonable accommodation being implemented?

To put it differently why doesn’t the disability sector join the table instead of awaiting to be in the menu?

I opine, Kenya has great public policies on reasonable accommodation now is the right time to,

push for implementation.

let me illustrate

What if the disability sector and stakeholders pushed the national construction authority now to publish and implement real accessibility standards of buildings?

Most likely we shall have makeshift hospitals. Will they be accessible?

Why don’t the disability stakeholders within their budgets adjust and contribute to the ministry of health on inclusive approaches?

For instance, developing Kenyan sign language clip on how to prevent Corona virus then distribute to the mainstream media and social platforms?

Why don’t the disability stakeholders produce material into braille and distribute all over the country through the free matter for the blind service offered by poster corporation as entrenched in the persons with disabilities act 2003?

Does the disability sector know the time is now for implementing the Marrakesh treaty?

Could the global commitment made by Kenya government, private sector and disability stakeholders be revisited in the area of innovation and make non-metallic assistive devices?

 

All in all, this coronavirus comes with a silver lining. At least, it will pep up people to take normal civic sense to a higher status. So that besides coronavirus

we actually end up also fighting other issues like discrimination faced by Kenyans with this will lead to breaking some if not all the barriers that disabled Kenyans face.

 

 

The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.

 Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.