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
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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, inclusive employment and integrated education. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) 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
- 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
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.
- All means all! we cannot have proper digital inclusion if we leave people behind;
- We need stronger connections between schools, families and students because connections lead to commitment
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.
Covid19 has created new societal challenges and exacerbated existing ones however plethis is also an opportunity to rebuild our society in a more equitable