12TH SESSION COSP 2019 – June 13, 2019 (5 minutes) UN HQ – New York; USA
Technology Solutions for Engaging and Retaining Persons with Disabilities in the Workplace
Practical experience from Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY)
Compiled by Ngao Mwavuna
Demographics require companies to adopt the concept of targeting customers with the principle of human diversity. They need to create new products that are attractive to both persons with and without disabilities which is key to success in Universal Design and that is what the Innovation to Inclusion (i2i) Program promotes both in Bangladesh and Kenya with the private employment sector. Products that follow the principles of Universal Design don’t separate but integrate diverse customer groups, and they substantially increase a company’s target market thus enhancing productivity leading to recognition of the critical role of the underprivileged societal groups including persons with disabilities. This recognition spearheads not only tailored products but also employment opportunities.
In realizing the economical opportunities of Universal Design; technological solutions are a necessity ranging from the built environment, accessible information and online training modules both for persons with and without disabilities to build on their social inclusion skills. Internally through establishing a workplace culture of inclusive design methodologies allows organizations to prototype and evaluates new applications of accessible technologies.
In Kenya Summer Source has managed to develop online training modules to build self – esteem among potential job candidates with disabilities through orientation of different organizational work cultures and literature on interviews’ presentations and meeting performance standards as well as sources and train on skills for online jobs for persons with disabilities.
Riziki Source has managed to collect information of graduates with disabilities; ranging from certificates to post graduates both in the rural and urban set – ups through a text message format using a basic phone ( not a smart phone). This has made it easier to act as a referral base for recruiting firms or companies with affirmative actions on employment for persons with disabilities such as Safaricom, Mkopa, Deloitte and Kenya Quest Finance Limited.
Kenya Quest Finance Limited a financial management company has a debt collection application that enables persons with disabilities work within their homes anywhere in the country to follow on debt collections for mobile loan defaulters.