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5 Ways the Kenyan Government Gives Support to Persons With Disabilities

According to the 2019 Kenya National Housing and Population Census, Kenya has an estimated 0.9 million persons with disabilities persons with disabilities, equating to 2.2% of the country’s population.

Kenya disability welfare | © Pixabay

Goverment support for people with disabilities (Pixabay)

 As the nation strives to achieve through inclusion and accessibility the disability mainstreaming  it envisioned in Vision 2030, the government is taking some steps to support PWDs. The majority of the support is administered through the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), a state corporation established through the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 14 of 2003.

The steps take to support persons with disabilities are as follows:

  • 1

    Economic Empowerment

    The Kenyan government supports persons with disabilities in Kenya by offering them economic empowerment through various programs such as the Cash Transfer for Persons with Severe Disabilities (PWSD-CT). Administered by NCPWD, the program aims to improve the capacity of caregivers supporting children and adults with disabilities who are in need of full-time care/ 

    With the funds - 2000 shillings are given per month per household - the Kenyan government also hopes to improve the quality of life for people with severe disabilities. Above all, the government hopes that the funds will cushion the beneficiary households from the negative impact of disability. 

    For a household to qualify for this program, it must have a person with severe disability requiring permanent care, must be impoverished, and no member may be on another Cash Transfer program. In addition, no member of the beneficiary household may have a regular income or receive a pension.

    Besides the PSWD-CT, the NCPWD facilitates the provision of grants for Economic Empowerment to community and self-help groups targeting persons with disabilities. These groups may be for persons with disabilities themselves or for their caregivers. The program aims at promoting self-sufficiency in income generation among persons with disabilities and equipping the members with the skills to acquire loans and  grow their ventures.

  • 1

    Infrastructural and equipment support to institutions supporting Persons with disabilities

    Through NCPWD the government also offers grants to various institutions that provide social services to persons with disabilities. The grants are aimed at ensuring the maintenance and improvement of the institutions. The eligible institutions include social services organizations among them non-governmental organizations, as well as educational institutions such as special schools.

    Some of the projects that qualify for this grant include those which aim to improve the accessibility of facilities for persons with disabilities. An example of this could be daycare centers that  want to improve the accessibility of  their washroom .

    Equipment grants support projects such as the equipping of University ICT facilities to make them friendly to students with vision disabilities and equipping of special schools with furniture that is comfortable for students with disabilities.

  • 2

    Educational Assistance

    Besides economic empowerment and infrastructural support, the government supports persons with disabilities in acquiring education by offering them financial aid. The funding aims to enhance the enrolment, retention, and completion of studies by persons with disabilities. The support covers education at primary, secondary, vocational centers, colleges, and a first university degree.

    The funds cover up to 75% of the total fees, with the beneficiary expected to contribute the remaining 25%. However, beneficiaries in formal employment are expected to contribute 50% of the total course fees. In exceptional circumstances, financial aid covers 100% of the total fees. In such instances, the beneficiary or their guardian is expected to provide evidence of extreme poverty that makes it hard for them to contribute towards their school fees.

  • 3

    Provision of assistive devices and services

    Assistive devices and services are products made to promote independence among persons with disabilities. Assistive devices include crutches, wheelchairs, prosthetic legs and arms, hearing aids, surgical boots, among others. Assistive services include Sign Language interpretation.

    The government supports the provision of assistive devices and services through NCPWD’s National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities (NDFPWD). The support prioritizes beneficiaries for whom the devices and services would most significantly  enhance learning, training, or work experience.

  • 4

    Offering incentives to potential employers of Persons with disabilities

    Through the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2003, which among other things provides for the rights and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, the government offers incentives to potential employers of persons with disabilities in Kenya. These incentives are meant to encourage more employers, especially in the private sector to offer employment opportunities to persons with disabilities.

    Article 16 (1) of the Act allows a private employer who engages a person with a disability for employment to apply for a deduction from their taxable income an amount equal to 25% of the total amount entitled to the employee as salary and wages.

    Under Section 2 of the same Article, private employers who go out of their way to make their physical environment comfortable and accommodating for persons with disabilities are entitled to more tax deductions. The initiatives by the employer could be improvements, modifications of his private facilities, or the availing of special services to provide “reasonable accommodation” for employees with disabilities. Under this Section, such an employer qualifies for deductions from his net taxable income amounting to 50% of the “direct costs of the improvements, modifications, or special services.”

    With such incentives to employers, the government is trying as much as possible to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace.

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