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Public Participation Disability Inclusion Index Social Lab

The first Public Participation Disability Inclusion Index social lab was held at Strathmore University on the 3rd and 4th September as part of a two-year project; Participation Disability Inclusion Index (PPDII). PPDII’s overall exercise is implemented by Agency for Disability and Development in Africa – ADDA, Strathmore University – Law School and Persons with Disabilities – Kitui (PEWDAK), and will run from January 2019 to December 2020, with funding from VOICE Kenya.

This social lab is the result of efforts made to end exclusion of PWDs from public participation. The participants at the exercise were representatives of the partner entities and key beneficiaries of the project. Notable attendees included Stephen Kiema, Executive Director, Pewdak. Prof. Borja Lopez-Jurado, Ag. Dean, Senator Dr. Gertrude Musuruve and Senator Isaac Mwaura.

Inclusivity has been identified as a key to achieving sustainable development, because it provides the terms for addressing the extensive needs of each citizen irrespective of their unique contextual realities. Despite this being the set standard, Kenya still has more than 60% of its population excluded from participation in governance processes, and People with Disabilities (PWDs) top the list of the most underrepresented.

PPDII seeks to develop and pilot an index for five counties in Kenya – Kwale, Makueni, Kitui, Kajiado & Nairobi, using a collaborative Social Design process. The index is a tool that benchmarks existing programmes against best practices for promoting participation of the Persons with Disabilities in Governance process.

According to Senator Dr. Gertrude Musuruve there is need for better facilitation practices that aim to increase PWDs participation in all processes that involve them. “If persons with disabilities are included and given an opportunity, they perform extremely well. The opportunity is what is usually lacking.”  This statement succinctly captured the predominant discussion of the social lab. The senator and other speakers also highlighted the need to recognise ability as a dominating characteristic in each individual rather than dwelling on their disabilities.

The social lab was an interactive source of ideas set to revolutionising the culture of underrepresentation of PWDs. The format of the social lab provided a platform for the attendees to voice their grievances and concerns when dealing with constraints to participation. Additionally, the open platform of the workshop provided an opportunity to collect valuable information that would address the limitations to equal participation of PWDS. With the opportunities in mind, the social lab utilised the large pool of knowledge, wisdom and experience that the attendees possessed.

The outcome of the seminar was a framework for a prototype PPDII that will anchor the project’s next stage in the aim of promoting an all-encompassing inclusivity revolution for a brighter future.


This article was written by Neville Ramogo Otema

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