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Par-ability of sport in Kenya

Author: Gabriel Tabona
Copyrights: Gabriel Tabona

Par-ability of sport in Kenya

People with disabilities have the opportunity to maximise their participation in nation-building.

As noted in the 2010 Kenyan Constitution, people living with disabilities (PWDs) are recognised as important contributors in nation-building. Sport has magnified their abilities to exercise their rights in various ways.

Various sports efforts have become a key driving force through which PWDs can get the attention of policymakers. For example, Invictus Games have inspired wheelchair basketballers to advocate for conducive workplace environments. Employers are challenged to improve infrastructural setup to assure occupational safety, a key ingredient to achieve productivity, something witnessed during the 2018 FIFA World Cup with PWDs allocated special sitting areas.

Events like the Invictus Games can inspire PWDs to go beyond the workplace into harnessing political goodwill by being part of key decision-making processes. Their representation in parliamentary engagements has given rise to economic opportunities through government tenders like AGPRO.

The annual Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon, has continued to mobilise the country to not only raise awareness about avoidable blindness but to provide treatment to deserving beneficiaries in far-flung areas of Kenya to actualise their vision as demonstrated in their slogan, seeing is believing.

Disability in Africa is often viewed through a cultural lens. In given cultural setups, people with physical or mental impediments are stereotyped as cursed beings hence considered outcasts. But the East Africa Cup, an annual community-centred event, has intervened to demystify this perception with the Ability First Workshop, which goes beyond sensitising participants about the rights of PWDs in sport, to slotting them in sitting-volleyball. This becomes a starting point towards pioneering the use of sign interpreters in live sports commentary—something that has been mainstreamed by Kenyan TV stations in their daily news broadcasts.

Beyond the Paralympic Committee of Kenya, representation in mainstream sports governance is another key ability that PWDs should be keen on. Without their input, their sport needs may be overlooked. For instance, the Kenya Amputee Football Association can influence the Nairobi County government to co-opt them in the newly established Nairobi County Sport management board.

If PWDs access education, safeguarding their right becomes easier especially when it comes to image rights. Institutions like the Kenyan school for the blind and Kenya school for the deaf are pivotal in building capacities to protect PWDs from exploitation.

PWDs already possess abilities which they can harness to make the world a better place for all.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 14:09