According to the 2019 Kenyan Population and Housing Census, there were 0.9 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) living in Kenya. This equated to 2.2% of the population at the time.
Many qualified persons with disabilities do not get opportunities to work for various organizations or occupy significant roles. So, they end up with insufficient experience because no one wants to take a chance on them.
The job market is filled with so many PWDs without jobs. Even though the country at large is facing a shortage of employment opportunities, it is worse for persons with disabilities.
In some cases, employers may have biases (conscious or unconscious) against persons with disabilities, refusing to hire or assign them to work projects because of their disability. Some employers think they are doing PWDs a favor by employing them, even though they have all the necessary qualifications.
However, it is not all gloom and doom. There are employers willing to take in persons with disabilities. The goodwill is there however, one of the main obstacles that they face is the absence of accessibility support.
If you want to hire someone in tech, for example, you might have to provide them with assistive devices to facilitate their work processes.
Challenges like these show that we need to take an affirmative action plan to drive economic workplace inclusion for persons with disabilities, and that is where the NCPWD career portal comes in.
In 2020, Fuzu partnered with i2i and the National Council for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) to create NCPWD-Fuzu, a digital platform to support persons with disabilities.
This platform helps PWDs grow their careers by providing them with opportunities to gain relevant skills and find suitable jobs in industries and roles they are interested in. It also helps employers to create inclusive workplaces, providing them with powerful tools to manage the end-to-end hiring process.
The onboarding process is personalised for employers and persons with disabilities. Users are taught how to engage with the career portal while employers are sensitized on the importance of hiring persons with disabilities and creating inclusive workspaces.
Employers that have recruited PWDs on NCPWD-Fuzu
Over 356 employers from both public and private organizations are registered on the portal. Some of these include EABL, Safaricom, KRA, StepWise, and Farmers Choice. The goal is to sensitize more organisations and encourage employers, large and small alike, to join and create inclusive workspaces for PWDs.
How employers can eliminate employment obstacles that persons with disabilities face
- Policy Change
One of the ways to eliminate employment obstacles faced by PWDs locally and globally is through policy change, especially at an organisational level.
From employment and accessibility support, to the percentage of the workforce comprising persons with disabilities, these are all things to be considered by top management.
However, it is important not to make decisions for PWDs but include them in It will help kill the stigma and unconscious biases we have as individuals.
the decision-making process.
So are there persons with disabilities in your boardroom when decisions are
being made? If not, how can you change that?
By building awareness across all levels of the organization , we can break the stigma and ensure PWDs are given equal employment opportunities and access to accessibility support.
Countrywide sensitization will also help solve most of the issues faced by persons with disabilities.
Persons with Disabilities don’t have equal access to learning resources. This means that we need to open up access and create more inclusive opportunities for skill-building and technical training.
Companies should consider partnering with organizations such as NCPWD to support Persons with Disabilities in their efforts to learn and grow.
The importance of hiring and providing equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities
- It creates an inclusive workspace for your organization and its people. The importance of diversity cannot be overstated. According to Great Place to Work, diverse and inclusive workplaces earn deeper trust and more commitment from their employees.
- When you give someone a job, you give them the economic backing to make independent decisions and make an economic impact on the people around them.
- Employed persons with disabilities offer mentorship to those without jobs. They contribute to the growth of others by providing insight and advice on the job market from a relevant perspective.
How employees can support PWDs in the workplace
Employees can support PWDs in the workplace by treating them with respect and dignity. Creating an inclusive work environment is not just up to management, it is up to every member of the organisation.
Working together can help take us one step further towards inclusivity.
Visit the NCPWD website to learn more about what the organization is doing for persons with disabilities.
If you are an employer looking to hire PWDs, send an email to NCPWD-Fuzu at firstname.lastname@example.org for end-to-end recruitment support and guidance.