People with disabilities, particularly women, have lower chances of finding employment than their peers, because of discrimination and inaccessible workplaces. Globally, employment rates for men (53%) and women (20%) with disabilities are lower than for men (65%) and women (30%) without disabilities. But by excluding people with disabilities from the labour market, countries can lose as much as 7% of their national GDP.
In Kenya, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the barriers and challenges experienced by persons with disabilities, among them the youth. Apart from facing societal stigma, they also face the risk of plunging into acute poverty with the economic downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Against this backdrop, Light for the World Kenya, the Standard Chattered and Sight Savers International, launched the second phase of the youth up-skilling intervention, dubbed Employable, that targets students with employability training schemes as it works to address the inclusivity barriers that underpins the growth and economic development of students with and without disabilities.
Through the program, Light for the World targets to reach more than 6,000 students from secondary schools, technical and vocational education and training institutes and universities. Through the intervention, Light for the World will work to increase the confidence of young people with and without disabilities and develop their networks through careers talks, employability skills training, mentoring, and job shadowing.
The program will also see our EmployAble Consortium Partner, Sightsavers work with Organisations of People with Disabilities to increase the confidence and job readiness of 790 young jobseekers with disabilities including 150 jobseekers with a visual impairment through a combination of soft skills training and mentorship.
”To build highly inclusive societies, we need to create employable opportunities for all, inclusive even for those who are often overlooked or underserved due to structural barriers. In Kenya, this is true for people living with disabilities. While a lot of progress has been made, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure that they are able to participate fully in the economy without discrimination or bias. Last year, we launched the Standard Chartered employability program in partnership with Light for the World which we are pleased to be continuing. We are glad to also continue our long running partnership with Sightsavers by building on their work with jobseekers and employers to increase disability inclusion in the workplace. We remain committed to promoting greater economic inclusion for disadvantaged young people and look forward to further partnership with the two organizations,’ said Kariuki Ngari, the Standard Chartered Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Light for the World Country Director Stephen Njenga said, “as Light for the World, we are committed to advancing partnerships that ensure inclusion of people with disabilities across the board. The up-scaling of the Employable program is therefore timely and will be critical in strengthening partnerships and investments towards helping students prepare for the job market, navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and recover from the adverse impacts of the pandemic.”
“Sightsavers is keen on fostering deep relationships with like-minded partners to ensure that we are advancing the needs of people with disabilities. The funding provided will also support the IT Bridge Academy, a project that is co-funded by GIZ; to train young people with disabilities to launch their careers in IT with a nine-month CISCO-certified training course followed by a three-month internship. It will build on Sightsavers’ work with private sector employers to help them become more inclusive employers,” said Moses Chege, Kenya country director, Sightsavers.
Through the initiatives, the Standard Chartered Bank, Sightsavers and Light for the World will not only strengthen the employability skill for students but also work with like-minded actors to provide occupational mentorship opportunities including, internships, career talks and drills, apprenticeships, job shadowing and recruitment opportunities.