Taking Digital Accessibility and Assistive Technology in Africa to the Next Level

 In a remarkable showcase of the human spirit, a three-day conference held in the vibrant city of Nairobi recently brought together individuals from around the world to champion inclusivity and honor the extraordinary accomplishments of people living with disabilities. With a focus of celebrating their achievements and sharing their inspiring stories, the event provided a platform for reimagining the possibilities for all individuals, regardless of their physical or cognitive challenges.

The conference, aptly named “Inclusive,” was a culmination of extensive planning and collaboration between local organizations and international disability rights activists. Held at Radisson Blue Hotel, the event welcomed delegates, speakers, innovators and guests from diverse backgrounds, all united by a shared vision of inclusivity and a determination to shatter societal barriers.

Day One of the conference set the tone with an opening ceremony that radiated warmth and anticipation. Distinguished guests, including government officials, influential business leaders, and renowned disability advocates, took to the stage to emphasize the importance of embracing the talents and potential of all individuals, regardless of disability. In her opening address, Irene Mbari-Kirika the Founder & executive Director inABLE highlighted the conference as a catalyst for transformative change and called for increased collaboration to ensure equal opportunities for all.

The subsequent sessions featured powerful keynote speeches and engaging panel discussions, with individuals who have achieved remarkable success despite their disabilities taking center stage. The audience was captivated by the awe-inspiring stories of courage, resilience, and unwavering determination. One such speaker was Bernard Chiira, who is the Director of Innovate Now Kenya, recounted his arduous journey, inspiring attendees with his unwavering determination and showcasing the extraordinary strength of the human spirit.

In another moving session, a panel of successful entrepreneurs with disabilities shared their experiences and discussed the unique perspectives that their disabilities brought to their work. From groundbreaking innovations in assistive technology to the establishment of inclusive workplaces, these remarkable individuals shattered preconceived notions and proved that disability is no barrier to success.

Day Two of the conference focused on practical workshops and interactive sessions designed to equip attendees with tangible tools and strategies for promoting inclusivity. Experts from various fields conducted workshops on accessible design, adaptive technology, inclusive education, and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Participants actively engaged in discussions, sharing best practices and fostering new partnerships to drive change in their respective communities.

The grand finale on Day Three showcased a remarkable art exhibition featuring works by artists with disabilities. The exhibition challenged conventional perceptions of artistry, showcasing diverse mediums and highlighting the artists’ unique perspectives. Attendees marveled at the beauty and thought-provoking nature of the pieces, emphasizing the incredible talent that exists within the disability community.

The conference concluded with a powerful closing ceremony, during which a declaration was signed by representatives from government, civil society, and disability rights organizations. The declaration pledged renewed commitment to fostering inclusivity, promoting equal opportunities, and dismantling societal barriers faced by individuals with disabilities.

The three-day conference left a lasting impact, inspiring attendees to rethink their own assumptions and biases while recognizing the immense potential of all individuals. It served as a catalyst for collaboration, fostering new networks and partnerships to create a more inclusive and accessible society.

As the delegates departed, empowered by the stories they had heard and the connections they had made, the spirit of the conference lived on. With their newfound resolve, they vowed to champion inclusivity in their own communities, paving the way for a brighter, more equitable future for people with disabilities worldwide. The conference was a resounding success, proving that when we unlock the potential of every individual, we unlock greatness itself.

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