Nairobi | 28 June 2019
Kenya got its first ever fleet of 25 Access Auditors, as Svayam, in collaboration with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Govt. of Kenya, organized a five-day ‘Basic Access Auditor’ training course in Nairobi during 24-28 June 2019. The training course was a part of the Phase One of the ‘Accessible Kenya Mission’ (a joint initiative of Svayam & NCPWD) which is aimed at bringing a large section of Kenyan society to the mainstream life and economic activities by raising awareness on accessibility of public infrastructure and transportation systems, among key stakeholders.
As Kenya is aspiring to provide more inclusive and friendly built environment to people of all ages and abilities, need of professionals who have an expertise on the specific needs of people with disabilities is growing. Traditional courses in rehabilitation, medical and para-medical, civil engineering, design, architecture, special education etc. do not exhaustively cover the subject well. The NCPWD has a mandate to issue adjustment orders to ensure accessibility in existing buildings; however, there is shortage of trained hands that can conduct access audits of built environments & services and provide recommendations to improve accessibility. Svayam has stepped in to fill this gap.
The launch ceremony of the ‘Basic Access Auditor Training Course’ saw the presence of Hon’ble Peter Muchiri, the Chair of Board of Directors, NCPWD, Hon’ble Mohammed Hussein Gabbow, Executive Director, NCPWD, and Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, Svayam, among other dignitaries and guests from various government departments and NGOs.
In his opening comments during the launch ceremony, Hon’ble Gabbow said: “I on behalf of my Government and all Kenyan citizens congratulate and thank Svayam and its Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal, for partnering with NCPWD to promote accessibility and inclusion through our joint initiative ‘Accessible Kenya Mission’. It is indeed a great opportunity for all of us to be part of this mission and work on raising awareness and bringing a much needed change that would benefit everyone and help in achieving the dream of inclusion, equality and social justice through accessibility. I am sure this will change our landscape and bring economic empowerment of fellow Kenyans with disabilities.”
Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, Svayam, who led the training, added: “The partnership between Svayam and the NCPWD is aimed at promoting accessibility in public infrastructure of Kenya to make mobility and transportation more inclusive and to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), several of them are linked to accessibility. As part of this collaboration, Svayam will contribute in capacity building of stakeholders through training courses and facilitate the strategies for achieving accessibility in built environment, public transportation and services in Kenya.”
Mr. Vashishth added, “To this end, Svayam is currently conducting this training program on Accessibility leading to certification of the first batch of Access Auditors. Applicants for the batch have been selected from the social development sector as well as public officials who are engaged in creating, managing or monitoring the public infrastructure as a part of their job.”
The response to the call for applications was overwhelming as numerous applications were received from Kenyan nationals. This unique crash course is based on ISO 21542 (approved standard by Govt. of Kenya). The training course was held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Nairobi.
The training days were long, involving course work, assessments and field visits. A total of 25 candidates successfully completed the course and will be on probation conducting access audit of at least 10 buildings identified by the NCPWD and submit reports for evaluation. On successful completion, their name will be entered in the ‘National Register of Access Auditors’ as a part of the ‘Accessible Kenya Mission’.
The National Council will share the access audit reports so prepared with the concerned departments/ministries for action in a time bound manner, post which adjustment orders will be issued by the Council.
The next training in the series for Kenya’s public officials, is scheduled to be conducted during 24 Sep 2019- 26 Sep 2019. For details visit here.