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MMUST’s Aids Control, Gender and Disability Mainstreaming Unit Advocates for Inclusion of People With Disabilities in the University System During Disability Awareness Day

The participants posing for a group photo after the event.

The Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology’s AIDS Control, Gender, and Disability Mainstreaming Unit (ACGDMU) continues to advocate for the inclusion of People with Disabilities (PWDs) in the University as they celebrate Disability Awareness Day which was conducted on 8th March, 2023. The event themed, 'Transforming Solutions for Inclusive Development; the Role of Fueling an Accessible and Equitable World' was marked by a procession from the University Library to the Graduation Square where the exercise was held. This was graced by the Registrar (Planning, Research, and Innovation), Prof. Alice Ndiema who was representing the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Planning, Research, and Innovation), Prof. Charles Mutai.

Speaking during the event, Prof. Ndiema noted that the University has ensured the inclusion of the PWDs in the infrastructural development. She commended the work done by the Unit in ensuring the welfare of the PWDs in the University. “The Unit touches every member of society. Society ignores PWDs but most of us are disabled in one way or the other. This day is important to all of us, let us walk together and support each other,” she urged. She emphasized the need for establishing a Directorate and a Centre in the University where PWDs can access more equipment. 

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From left; the Registrar (Planning, Research, and Innovation), Prof. Alice Ndiema, the Director of Quality Assurance, Prof. Danstone Lilechi, The National Council for Persons with Disabilities Officer (Kakamega County), Ms. Priscah Akoth, and the Coordinator of ACGDMU, Prof. Gladys Mengich at the event.

The National Council for Persons with Disabilities Officer (Kakamega County), Ms. Priscah Akoth who was accompanied by Mr. Andrew Simiyu, noted that the Council is committed to supporting the PWDs to ensure their comfort in society. She highlighted the activities that the Council offers to the PWDs including; registration of all PWDs, empowerment programs, disability mainstreaming, and job placement opportunities.

“The world has evolved and PWDs are well taken care of; there are innovations that support the group to ensure inclusivity. Let us know our rights as stated in the Constitution so that our voices can be heard. I urge you to take care of yourselves and the environment around you. PWDs are potential people; we are here to walk with you,” she stated.

Expressing her delight, the Coordinator of ACGDMU, Prof. Gladys Mengich pointed out that the Unit recognizes everyone under PWDs. She stated that everyone is able and should be given equal opportunity in the community. “As we honor this day, let me remind you that we have a role to play in society. We are committed to supporting this initiative to bring together the PWDs in the University as well as the community. It is an important day for all of us,” she said.


Prof. Mengich making a remark.

Further, Prof. Mengich acknowledged that the event is one of the indicators in the performance contract that the Unit has achieved this quarter. She added that this is an important exercise that not only creates awareness of the unit but also promotes the inclusivity of PWDs as required by the government. This provides an avenue for us to work and study together.

According to the Director of Quality Assurance, Prof. Danstone Lilechi who is also the Chairperson of the Disability Mainstreaming Committee, disability comes unexpectedly and aging is a disability that no one can run from. He stated that the event is more of a thanksgiving of what God is doing in our lives. He urged the group to have confidence that they have a special ability and can make it in life just like others. “We all go through challenges in society. This day should be celebrated by everybody, anything can happen in life. PWDs should be accepted and become part of the system. MMUST has employed a number of staff that is disabled. Let us include everyone in our aspects of promotion, appointments, job opportunities, and accessibility of various facilities in the University,” he said. He guaranteed the support of the committee in mainstreaming disability issues.

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Prof. Lilechi addressing the participants.

The Educationist and Psychologist, Ms. Pauline Adhiambo who was representing the Dean of Students, Dr. Bernadette Abwao, tackled areas where the office contributes towards the inclusivity of the PWDs in the institution including; MMUSO leadership, hostels, training staff to assist in sign language, as well as games and sports for the PWDs. “The Office ensures integration of the PWDs in all activities and I believe we shall improve on the service delivery to  support their welfare in the University,” she said.

Sharing his Success story, the Dean (School of Agriculture, Veterinary Sciences and Technology), Prof. Jacob Wakhungu, who is also a member of the Disability Committee, urged the group that they should not carry the burden of disability. “You are abled differently. Do not listen to what the community says about your condition. Have confidence in yourself and be the champions of the PWDs in the community. As you continue with the journey, appreciate yourself and move on,” he said. He advocated for sensitization of disability to the young generation in secondary schools so that they can appreciate disability at an early age.

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The Dean SAVET, Prof. Jacob Wakhungu (in grey suit),  the Chairperson, Masinde Muliro University Students Association Committee, Mr. Patrick Ogutu (far right) together with other participants listening keenly.

The Chairperson, Masinde Muliro University Students Association Committee (MMUSAC), Mr. Patrick Ogutu, applauded the University for considering the special group and their inclusion in various events. “There is a need for recognition of the talents of the PWDs and involving them in the decision-making in the University. I believe we shall organize more events to celebrate the special group,” he said.

MMUST staff present were; Ms. Selipher Sabatia, Ms. Adelaide Imbuka, Mr. Richard Shamala, Ms. Gavin Nyarotso, Ms. Eunice Pundo, Mr. Kennedy Anjieho, Ms. Lilian Kundu, Mr. Sylvester Makhulo, Ms. Jacqueline Olweny, Ms. Tabitha Kwasira, Ms. Priscah Avion, Ms. Tabitha Kwasira, Ms. Salome Mbaika, Ms. Jane Muwika, Mr. Benson Muhanji, Mr. Vincent Mwoka, Mr. Manoah Bornface, Mr. Daniel Korir, and Mr. Joseph Mugo. Also present were; the Representative- MMUSO Special Interests group, and MMUSO Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.

As the University marked Disability Awareness Day, the special group was reminded that they have equal opportunities in the community. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 (Chapter 4, Article 54) requires a person with a disability to have: access and facilitation in educational institutions, reasonable access to all places, access to device material, and be treated with dignity.

 Additionally, at least 5% of elective and appointive positions are to be for PWDs. This will build their confidence within the University as well as in the community.

By Verna Awuor

Photos by Shiundu Masafu and Wangari Wambugu 

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