A project protecting the fundamental freedoms of Deaf people in Kenya brings together Deaf leaders, sign language interpreters and allies to promote Deaf-led legislation.
The Kenyan Constitution of 2010 recognizes KSL as a national language, thanks to successful advocacy by Deaf leaders, disabled people and the 2008 ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disabilities (UNCRPD). However, Deaf individuals do not have access to qualified KSL interpreters, creating barriers to education, employment, public information, justice systems and more.
MIUSA is working with the Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD) to craft a new national Kenyan Sign Language Act, and to prepare Deaf constituents and allies to advocate for passage of the new law. This rights-based legislation would ensure provision of Kenyan Sign language interpretation and other auxillary services to enable Deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind community members to participate fully in all aspects of society, and would establish certification and registration of KSL interpreters.
The technical team guiding the legal drafting process includes the U.S National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Legal Society of Kenya (LSK) and U.S. and Kenyan Interpreter Educators. The draft bill incorporates recommendations in consultations from Deaf constituents, advocates and KSL interpreters, who will also educate their communities and conduct advocacy activities to promote the bill. Learn more about trainings and advocacy here.
We are excited for this opportunity for Kenya, to serve as a model for Deaf community members and allies to take leadership in legal and policy advocacy.