Expanding Disability Inclusion in Kenya
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is working with key electoral stakeholders in Kenya, including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), election observers and disabled people’s organizations, to increase the accessibility of the upcoming August polls. Activities have included producing inclusive voter education videos, training disability rights advocates to observe elections for inclusion, and developing new materials to mainstream disability inclusion throughout the work of civil society organizations focused on women, youth, media and conflict mitigation. The Kenya Electoral Assistance Program is supported by the United States Agency for International Development
From May 8-9, Senior Access and Inclusion Specialist Virginia Atkinson, with co-facilitators from United Disabled Persons of Kenya, trained advocates to conduct an election access observation. Election access observations review the electoral process from the perspective of disability inclusion. Advocates contextualized IFES’ checklist with observation questions in compliance with Kenyan laws and policies. Advocates were trained to look for accessible polling station features, as well as inclusive processes such as poll worker training. The training also featured discussions with Naomi Mandela, who is one of nearly 30 Elections Observation Group long-term observers with a disability.
“We agree to a flawed legal process if we are not observers.”
– Stanley, Kenyan observer with a visual disability
The IEBC and IFES have collaborated to produce voter education videos inclusive of persons with disabilities, such as animations on voter registration and party nominations that feature interpretation in Kenyan Sign Language. Voter education radio spots and posters will also integrate images of persons with disabilities alongside other voters and the poll worker training video will include actors with disabilities.