The Kenyan Constitution 2010 and Disability Act no.14 of 2003 provides different guarantees to Persons with Disability (PWD) in Kenya. PWDs have been denied these guarantees in many instances either deliberately or otherwise. In Isiolo County, the inclusion of PWDs in a meaningful development agenda has been a major challenge faced by the PWDs and as such the County Government of Isiolo contravened different facets of these constitutional guarantees. Some of these contraventions happen as a result of failure by PWDs to understand and utilize the available opportunities as provided by the law.
It is against this background that Merti Integrated Development Programme (MID-P) through the Department of Culture and Social Services organized a Lobby and Advocacy training for PWDS from the 10 Wards of Isiolo County.
The training was tailored to put into consideration achievements of the followings objectives
- Enable leaders of Disable person’s Organizations (DPOs) understand the principles of group leadership and dynamics
- Enables the leaders of different DPOs understand the existing legal instruments that protect PWDs
- Enables the leaders of DPOs to understand the existing opportunities that aim at empowering PWDs.
One of the action plans from the training was to come up with Bill/policy that support this marginalized members of the society.
In 2019, The Isiolo County Youth, Women and Persons with Disability Enterprises Development Fund Act and Regulations 2019 were passed. The law provides for the establishment of Youth, Women and Persons with Disabilities Enterprise Development Fund and promotes the new and existing micro and small businesses and industries. This will increase household income hence improving living standard. In reference to persons with disability who perceived to be burden to the community because of their dependency on others, inability to have a reliable source of income and also lack of opportunities to access finance to do business.
The enterprise fund monies is allocated through each cycle of County Integrated Development Plan and funds will be transferred from Isiolo County Revenue Account to Isiolo county youth, women and persons with disabilities enterprise development fund Main Account. In the 2019/2020 financial year, County Government of Isiolo has allocated 8 million for utilization by women, 6million for youth and, 4million for person’s disability a total of 18million revolving fund.
MID-P also supported the dissemination of the Act in Kinna, Merti and central wards to 120 members of group representatives to enhance the understanding of the Act. The participants developed action plans on how to access the fund from County Government. The process of put structures is in progress so that fund can be released to groups before the end of this financial year.
Mr. Mustafa Kuntulo, the Chief Officer for the Department of Culture and Social Services participated in the dissemination meetings. He emphasizes the commitment of the Department and support of the County Government Isiolo under the leadership of Governor. “H.E Dr. Mohamed Kuti has promised to empower and support vulnerable groups of the society. The county government has allocated 18million for this fund and will support business owned and operated by youth, women and persons with disability. This will increase household income hence improving living standard.” He thanked Isiolo County Assembly who enacted the Act and Regulations.
The commitment of the department is to ensure the vulnerable groups who need this finance most are supported through trainings and mentorship to increase entrepreneurial skills to engage in creating impactful business. The Chief of Officer said “This Fund is of great interest to the County Government. As you know empowering a woman is empowering the nation. We challenge the women to take advantage of the opportunity to access financial services for their businesses- an interest free loan especially for the Muslims. Youths are the upcoming generation and also have high population. The capacity building component of the Fund will focus on improving talent and innovations thus developing youth entrepreneurship skills which will impact creation of business opportunities. We would like our partners like MID-P to walk with us.”