Government Representatives

Government involvement is essential to meeting the needs of children with disabilities. Throughout the world, there is widespread discrimination against people with disabilities, poor implementation of policies designed to protect these individuals, and inadequate funding and legislation in support of people with disabilities. Additionally, some government officials in our focus areas still believe that curses, witchcraft, incest and evil spirits cause disabilities. Correcting these misperceptions of disability through meetings and workshops often inspires government leaders to uphold existing legislation and either develop or expand laws to include children with disabilities.

In Kilifi County, each government representative oversees populations of approximately 5,000 to 15,000 residents. Therefore, working with just a few government officials often has a large impact on community beliefs and behavior toward children and families impacted by disabilities.

  • Educate the community about the true causes of disability and the rights of children with disabilities

  • Create new disability officer positions at the county level

  • Hold families accountable for ensuring their children with disabilities have access to medical care and education

  • Improve classrooms and facilities in special needs schools

  • Ensure qualified teachers are being hired for special needs schools

  • Start vocational institutions that admit students with disabilities

  • Increase scholarships for children with disabilities to attend specialized boarding schools

  • Arranged for food donations to families of children with disabilities

  • Support income generating projects to help families impacted by disability


Inspiring the Kenyan Government to Act  

The goal of Kupenda’s disability advocacy training workshops is to inspire and empower local leaders to do all they can to support children with disabilities in their communities. One of the recent workshops inspired parents and community leaders to identify 76 children with disabilities that needed help accessing medical care and education. Unfortunately, there were no schools close enough for these children to attend. In response, the parents and leaders used what they’d learned in our workshops to fight for their children’s right to specialized education. In just a few months, their group inspired the local government to donate 10 acres of land for a new school that will serve 140 children. The government also committed to paying the salaries of the school’s teachers. Read the full story here.

Motivating the Kenyan Government to Support Schooling for Children with Disabilities

Kupenda has become a role model to other organizations, leaders and families around the world. Last year we saw the impact of this when our work inspired a Zambian social worker named Felistus to open her own organization serving children with disabilities. She called this organization Lilato. Using Kupenda’s model for training local leaders as disability advocates, Felistus and several leaders in her community raised over $4,000 to buy assistive devices for children with disabilities. This caught the attention of the local Zambian government, which then offered Felistus a plot of land where she could establish Lilato’s headquarters. Read more about our work with Felistus and Lilato here.

Rallying Support for a New Disability Bill

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 guarantees people with disabilities the right to participate in political and public life. Despite this legal guarantee, people with disabilities in Kilifi, Kenya have been largely left out of political decision making. A few years ago, Kupenda helped local leaders draft a new Kilifi County Disability Bill but the local government set up a feedback system that largely excluded people with disabilities. In response, Kupenda worked with seven of their trained pastors to bring together more than 400 people with disabilities to share their feedback on the bill with local government leaders. This helped the bill’s content to become more realistic and relevant to the needs of people with disabilities in Kilifi. The bill was then passed into law in 2022. Click here to read our full story about this important bill.