The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection has launched a National Disability Mainstreaming Strategy to guide public and private sector institutions to mainstream disability agenda in their internal structures and systems.
Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ambassador Ukur Yatani said the strategy will promote the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the social-economic and political development of the country.
In a speech read on his behalf during the International Day for PWDs on Tuesday at Kinyambu Girls Secondary School by the Director of Administration State Department of Social Protection Unit Ibrahim Maalim, the CS urged both public and private institutions at the national and county levels to use the strategy to promote equality and equity among the PWDs.
“During the Global Summit 2018, the government committed to address various issues that enhance inclusion of PWDs in the society and the strategy is one of them,” said Yatani.
He also said that the ministry is in the process of establishing a regional Assistive Technology (AT) Hub to produce assistive devices that are appropriate, affordable and of high quality to be used in the Kenyan terrain.
“The hub will research on the appropriate assistive devices and to achieve this, we plan to collaborate with other partners and stakeholders including the African Union (AU),” said Yatani.
The CS decried stigma and discrimination of PWDs but said the government in partnership with Disabled Persons Organizations (DPO) has developed a booklet to demystify disability.
He added that the Disability Awareness Booklet will be used by all government department, private sector and other non-state actors to tackle stigma and discrimination against PWDs.
The CS said the ministry is also committed to deliver programmes and services to PWDs aimed at uplifting their social and economic status among them the cash transfer programme.
“One of the greatest government milestone is the progressive increase of cash transfer programmes for PWDs with an annual budget of 1.2 billion shillings,” he said.
Ambassador Yatani also said that the ministry was providing technical skills to PWDs in the 12 vocational rehabilitation centres across the county besides provision of start-up tool kits for graduates.
“Last year the government provided tool kits worth Sh4 million to graduates to enable them start income generation activities,” Yatani said.
Speaking at the same event, Makueni Governor Prof. Kivutha Kibwana called for the fast tracking of the employment of 5 percent of PWDs in the country’s private and public sector workforce as envisaged in the constitution.
“The National Assembly, the Senate and the county governments should be at the forefront of implementing the 5 percent requirement,” he said.
He reiterated his government’s commitment in mainstreaming of the disability agenda in its activities.
“10 percent of bursaries in every ward is set aside for PWDs while we have also facilitated 5,000 PWDs to register with the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya (NFDK),” said the governor.
Kibwana said that his government was also establishing a Sh30 million vocational centre at Wote town.
He said the centre which is expected to be operational from next year, will provide technical skills to PWDs with the aim of improving their lives.
The governor also said that his government will ensure the construction of buildings within the county is PWDs friendly. “No building will be allowed without a ramp,” said the Kibwana.
The chairman (NFDK) Dr. Peter Muchiri said that plans are underway to register the PWDs at the county level so as to get the correct statistics.
Also in attendance was Makueni County Commissioner (CC) Maalim Mohammed among other dignitaries.