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United Disabled Persons of Kenya
The United Disabled Persons of Kenya, UDPK is an umbrella organisation of National and grassroot associations of persons with disabilities in Kenya. Currently, UDPK has eighty-six member associations. Four of the eighty-six are National associations while the remaining are regional grassroot groups. The four are:
Kenya Union of the Blind (KUB),
Kenya Society of the Physically Handicapped (KSPH),
Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped (KSMH) and the
Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD).
Most of the grassroot-based groups represent all disabilities, namely; visually, physically, hearing challenged and mentally handicapped.
To realise a barrier-free society where persons with disabilities enjoy equal access to opportunities in all spheres of life.
United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) is a cross disability organisation that seeks to unite groups, Associations and Organisations of disabled persons, for purposes of empowering and enhancing their advocacy role. UDPK also aims to undertake programs on Public Education and awareness, targeted particularly at stereotypes biases and attitudes unfavorable towards the disabled persons.
UDPK was formed in 1989. Between 1989 and 1993, the organisation's activities concentrated on lobbying the government to revise policies whose implementation has had a negative effect on disabled people.
Where Persons with disabilities have spoken up on their own, they tend to be more believed; but relying on self advocates alone excludes parents and other useful allies. Where the disability movement has been most successful is in situations where useful alliances have been formed.
The program envisions a world where persons with disabilities, who are born in free and equal in dignity and in rights, lead a meaningful life that utilises their innate potential to the full; for their own benefit and for the society that they live in.
The program exists to facilitate the fostering of a united disability front, that will strengthen the voices of persons with disabilities as they strive for full participation and equalisation of opportunities; bearing special regard to gender equity and concerns of children with disabilities, towards a life of dignity, integrity and humanity.
* We have created a Disability Caucus, which has brought together over 50 of actors (organisations and individuals) in the disability field.
* Through the participation in the Safari Park talks, the program created political space for persons with disabilities in the political arena.
* The program played an active part in the nomination process of Hon. Josephine Sinyo to parliament.
* The political space created with the appointment of Hon. Sinyo to parliament saw the disability movement acquire two commissioners with disabilities into the Constitutional Review Commission.
* We are in the process of reviewing a Disability Bill that was officially handed to us by the Attorney General to review before presentation to the Cabinet and to parliament for eventual enactment.
Demystifying disability. The majority of our people believe (as in the olden days) that disability is retribution of past deeds by the ancestors. We know that congenital disability is caused by lack of sufficient nutrients intake in expectant mothers, alcohol abuse, smoking and or environmental pollution .
Disability issues have never been mainstreamed by the government, which has the principal responsibility of liberating the innate potential of its citizens; or by the major development non-government organisations. In fact disability issues are so low down the development agenda that they do not feature in the development jargon.
The rights of persons with disabilities have been trampled by our society in such a way as to be denied justice (through the lack of interpreters for the deaf in courts of law), access to social amenities, public utility buildings and transport, discrimination in job and educational opportunities et al.
Discrimination is manifested from within the family, to the community and the wider society. When resources are few, the disabled who are perceived to be the least productive, are the last to be accessed those resources. The top priority of the resource allocation goes to the able bodied male members of the family, able bodied female members, boys with disabilities and finally girls with disabilities.
To be disabled and female, one suffers a double disadvantage. This goes to show why even in large development NGOs programs that cover persons with disabilities are either non-existent or if present are so small as to be insignificant. Even when programs for persons with disabilities are present hardly does one meet high caliber staff allocated to the program.
The Way Forward:
Persons with Disability as self advocates. Where persons with disabilities have put their case forward, people tend to believe them more. Persons with disabilities need to be empowered to believe in themselves, and their rights to self-actualisation. Where their self worth has been enhanced, they have overcome their disabilities to play significant roles in their societies.
We do not need to look to the Stevie Wonders or Homer as role models, for we have our own. The Chairman of UDPK, Mr. Sam Kabue is a Director with the National Christian Council of Kenya (NCCK). Hon. Josephine Sinyo's achievements in Parliament are already history -- the list is endless.
As we enter the new millenium, we want to empower our lot to speak for themselves. To be made aware of the UN instruments from which we can draw the legitimacy of our advocacy from.
Our goal to be availed educational and employment opportunities that will allow us take our duties and responsibilities with other citizens of this country and of the world.
The Advocacy Program
The Advocacy And Action Program was set up with the following aims and objectives:
1. To advance the human rights and equal opportunities of disabled persons in Kenya, thereby enhancing their quality of life.
2. To advocate the implementation of the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (UNSR).
3. To strengthen and develop the institutional capacity and effectiveness of organisations of disabled persons, including their ability to mobilise resources.
1. To investigate and evaluate the degree of implementation of the UNSR, and make proposals for subsequent action.
2. To develop a strategy for the promotion and implementation of these proposals and related initiatives.
3. To collect and analyse data and information on disabled persons and their organisations.
4. To encourage co-ordination, co-operation and joint action, particularly with regard to the UNSR, among participating organisations.
5. To identify and generate financial and technical resources for the institutional development of disability organisations.
We intend to pursue a two pronged strategy:
1 The empowerment of self advocates, through clusters (communities) of Persons with Disabilities and through them the wider public and
2 Sensitise top policy makers - The Parliamentarians; in order to influence them.
In pursuing this strategy, will will do the following:
First, we will train at least two persons with disabilities from each province, bearing in mind their gender and disability in a Training of Trainers one -week Workshop.
In the first phase, four districts will be selected, where the Provincial trainers a minimum of another 48 trainers. These forty eight trainers, who will be drawn from our district based organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs), will facilitate further trainings as part of their official functions, with support from the centre as will be deemed necessary.
The whole process will be closely documented and together with the lessons learnt will be published and shared at a stakeholders meeting in the third year.
Second, we will also organise a general workshop for parliamentarians to make them understand what our core issues are and mobilise them to support The Disability Bill that has emerged from the work of The Task Force set up to review The Laws Relating to Persons with Disabilities. We will also lobby the House Working Committee on the same bill to make sure it is enacted into Law.