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EMPLOYABILITY

Speed up Persons With Disabilities Bill, players say

The bill is at the cabinet and is expected to be introduced in Parliament for debate.

In Summary

• At the moment, only two per cent of Persons With Disabilities are employed in Kenya.

• The latest government data on men and women indicate 3.5 per cent of Kenya’s population is living with a disability. 

Alice Wairimu speaks during the Disability Summit at the British High Commission
Alice Wairimu speaks during the Disability Summit at the British High Commission

Persons with disabilities want government to speed up enactment of the Persons With Disabilities Bill 2018, to improve their employment and service access.

The bill is at the cabinet and is expected to be introduced in Parliament for debate.

At the moment, only two per cent of PWDs are employed, while the group wants that number to be increased to five per cent. The latest government data on men and women indicate 3.5 per cent of Kenya’s population is living with a disability. In the report, 51 per cent of PWDs are female while 49 per cent are male.

Types of disabilities listed in the report titled “Women and Men in Kenya Facts and Figures 2017” include visual challenges with 60 per cent of PWDs being blind or partially blind. The hearing impaired are 28 per cent and those with speech challenges 24 per cent. The physically challenged, or those who cannot be fully in charge of their self-care are 63 per cent, and 21 per cent mentally challenged. Albinos are the least, at 0.4 per cent of the total population of PWDs.

Wilson Macharia, a visually challenged graduate assistant at Strathmore University and lawyer with Oraro and Company advocates said getting employment as a PWD poses its own special challenges, as recruiters mostly deny the best candidate a job due to their disability.

“I have done interviews and I was turned away just as I was about to be on-boarded in a job, when the company discovered that I have visual challenges,” he said in a recent interview. He said human resource practitioners especially those handling recruitment should be deliberate about increasing the number of PWDs in their organisations because otherwise little attention is paid to them when hiring.

Samuel Odawo, board member of National Council for Disability said the 2018 bill is expected to overhaul the 2003 Disabilities Act which did not have provisions for devolved government. It will also change the perception with which PWDs are handled with empathy, to be recognized as human beings with rights and dignity.