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The Kenya Sign Language Club

Integrating Kenya Sign Language into hearing primary and high schools for deaf inclusion

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

How many deaf friends do you have?Or may be, actually you don't have any deaf friend?Why is that you don’t have one?Would it be that you shy away since you don’t know sign language?Deaf people are excluded because speech or voice dominates as choice of communication and mostly because hearing are not aware about the Deaf and or less bothered.Ever been excluded just because of who you are?How did that make you feel?Painful, right?The very barrier that exist is the very solution for inclusion!We are a spark that ignites children and youth to identify, relearn positive attitudes for deaf inclusion and strategically realize an inclusive society.The Kenya Sign Language (KSL)Clubs are integrated Deaf spaces where hearing students learn KSL,3rd official language, in hearing schools taught by Deaf Facilitators (Deaf Facilitators Model). This will reverse the status quo where today, hearing people teach KSL in the institution that promote inclusion. At the core, this is wrong.This deepens deaf exclusion.Deaf people have the opportunity to design and develop KSL as a language.KSL Clubs are an all children and youth led advocacy strategy to win the government approval to incorporate KSL as a compulsory language.Picture this,all children, youth using KSL a language of choice! Then,a deaf child would never guess if a hearing child is a friend!Inculcation of inclusion attitudes at a tender age of 5 to over 8,000,000 primary school going children is a perfect recipe for a generation change!

WHO BENEFITS?

The deaf youth facilitator’s have increased opportunities to gain decent employment,thrive through personal,professional development growth whilst creating positive impact.There is youth scourge-Deaf youth face layered challenges to accessing decent jobs.Hearing youth will gain unique employability skills around deaf culture,interpretation and social inclusion.Elimination of shame related to Deafness for the society will be realized. A new generation of fair balanced people through inclusion.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

We are a group of 11 Deaf volunteers aged between 18-27 years who recently completed a volunteer experiences in Nandi County with VSO Kenya,ICS Team.We created awareness on Deaf inclusion through the Inclusive Neighborhood Spaces .We will be collaborating with VSO Kenya to implement this idea.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Kenya
  • Rwanda
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

KSL club as an advocacy strategy may not work as a stand alone approach in achieving Deaf inclusion.Inclusion is more complex and will require integrated collaborations.Stakeholders (parents, pupils, communities,policy makers,Ministry of education) need to be consulted and involved in the development of the KSL approach.Issues of child protection were eminent as most parents of Deaf children consider this as important.Existing cultural barriers play a big role to children even at tender ages.Inculcation of the positive attitudes will need to done both ways(children vs Parents).There should be awareness campaigns geared towards attitude change by hearing teachers and the hearing society at large towards deafness and language. This should involve significant changes in conceptions and role behavior.Deaf facilitators availability and capacity will need to be evaluated. Not all Deaf people who use KSL will be great facilitators.We will pilot in integrated schools since the hearing and Deaf children share the same compound.It was really inspiring to meet Hillary who grew up learning KSL from his Deaf brother.KSL will be a core approach and implemented parallel with other interventions.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

KSL Clubs will be targeting new context and users.These are children in hearing schools and of the ages 5-17 years with an objective of generational positive attitude change to inclusion.99.9% of the KSL lessons targets professionals for career development purposes.Engagement of Deaf Facilitators as teachers of KSL rather than hearing people.This reverses the status quo and will give Deaf people an opportunity to design and develop KSL as a language and revamp existing rigid curriculum into deaf friendly.Deaf facilitators must be youth to tackle unemployment whilst developing professional skills.The model is efficient as its will use existing schools systems and replicable nationwide and globally.This social activism by children and for children towards Deaf inclusion.We are all Deaf and this will be Deaf Youth Led.We will have a grand opportunity to collaboratively lead our own change.Our team of has 4 skilled facilitators and have wealth of experiences teaching KSL in schools.VSO Kenya expertise in social inclusion and nationwide reach is a great plus.VSO will be enhancing our capacity through a Social Inclusion Training of facilitators course.Nothing for us without us!

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED?

Deaf children are prepared to thrive in Deaf space by attending Deaf primary and high schools and arent prepared enough to the realities that the 98% of the world is hearing.Most interventions prepare Deaf people to fit into the hearing community.Inclusion is the regular classroom(Speech) adapting to the child’s needs.Based on this definition,the world should adapt to their needs.Deafness is not a visible disability and doesn't require structural adjustment rather attitudinal(families and community) and this is usually hardest of interventions to achieve.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

Are there enough Deaf facilitators ?Do they have competencies to teach children?Will they need capacity building?
How shall we mitigate bureaucratic procedures for approval from Ministry of Education to start KSL clubs?
Are there existing Social Inclusion child friendly teaching approaches?
Is there adequate supply for Kenya Sign Language interpreters for regular schools in Kenya?

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Deaf inclusion isn't new and the KSL idea is new.Using the Deaf Facilitators model and targeting children as change agents is the key difference.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

The project will be implemented by the VSO ICS Deaf alumni in collaboration with VSO Kenya.VSO Kenya role is to provide technical support such as project management,advocacy and policy work and linkages to various stakeholders .We are also looking for collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development,Deaf Youth associations and innovation hubs to explore ICT opportunities for Deaf Inclusion.

In Kenya,Deafness is a source of shame for families and many parents don't know any Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) to enable them to communicate with their own children.Worse,it seen as punishment from God and parents are so embarrased and hide their children.You will find children will never say the light of day in a class.Poverty and prejudice mean deaf children and youth are often ignored and receive little support at school. Many people do not know how to interact with a deaf person - like how we may rely on lip reading, or good lighting and body language. This means that actively all the time,Deaf people are always fighting to understand and help others understand, which can be tiring.

According to the Kenya National Survey for Persons with Disabilities (NCAPD, 2008), about 4.6 percent of Kenyans experience some form of disability, and about 0.5 percent of Kenyans have some type of hearing impairment.In 2013, the Kenya Society for Deaf the Kenya Society for Deaf Children (2013) reported that out of 200,000 deaf children needing education only 8,000 were in school, A study by Kiaritha (2011) found that deaf students attending universities in Kenya make up 7.4% compared to 15.4% visually impaired and 77.2% physically handicapped. These findings indicate that parents of deaf and hard of hearing and the society generally have low expectations of deaf children regarding their educational potentials and career choices.

It is a sad fact that then nearly 90% of deaf individuals who finish their high school education, cannot effectively read and write, attain higher education or find meaningful employment. Consequently, a majority of the deaf living in Kenya experience poor socioeconomic outcomes. Based on these outcomes, the quality of deaf education in Kenya is indeed questionable.With this approach,we foresee Deaf children making a choice over hearing or deaf school.The KSL approach doesn't eliminate use of interpreters or Deaf schools,it will increase choices for Deaf people around school,choice of communication. Deaf diversity continues to be celebrated.

VSO Kenya’s vision is of a world without poverty and the mission is to bring people together to fight poverty. VSO Kenya is committed to fighting poverty through participatory approaches and engagement of key stakeholders as we believe people are the best agents of change and progress is only possible by working together. The International Citizen Service Deaf pilot engaged deaf youth from UK and Kenya in volunteering for development, to empower the deaf in Nandi and ultimately contributed towards enhancing integration of the deaf with the hearing people in Nandi.

The volunteering experiences have spurred us national volunteers to start KSL Clubs in hearing schools to tackle deaf exclusion.Our hypothesis is that Deaf Inclusion exists since speech dominates and hearing people arent aware of use of KSL. As such majority of hearing people aren’t aware about Deafness thus little interest in Deaf Culture.Evidently,KSL as a life skill necessary to build the relationship between the deaf community and the hearing community.We want to test this hypothesis through the KSL Clubs.Our dream is world where everyone uses KSL.Article 7(3) advocates promotion, development, research and use of Kenyan Sign Language, while Article 120 confers KSL as one of the three official languages of the Parliament.

From the prototyping,we realized that KSL club advocacy strategy may not work as stand alone approach in achieving Deaf inclusion.Inclusion is more complex and will require integrated collaborations.Stakeholders (parents, pupils, communities,policy makers,Ministry of education) need to be consulted and involved in the development of the KSL approach.Issue of child protection were eminent as most parents of Deaf children consider this as important.Existing cultural barriers play a big role to children even at tender ages.Inculcation of the positive attitudes will need to done both ways(children vs Parents).There should be awareness campaigns geared towards attitude change by hearing teachers and the hearing society at large towards deafness and language. This should involve significant changes in conceptions and role behavior.Deaf facilitators availability and capacity will need to be evaluated. Not all Deaf people who use KSL will be great facilitators.We will pilot in integrated schools since the hearing and Deaf children share the same compound.It was really inspiring to meet Hillary who grew up learning KSL from his Deaf brother.KSL will be a core approach and implemented parallel with other interventions.

Our dream stands-Imagine all children in primary and high school learning and using KSL as a language of choice!Imagine the First KSL university in Africa as well as the first Deaf Innovation Hub for Africa for Deaf people!Imagine most corporates learning and using KSL. Imagine Deaf youth accessing and enjoying more choice over what they study!A world where you are you and live your life purpose. Leave no one behind!





SHARE ONE SENTENCE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS PROJECT TO HAVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, AND ONE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO GET THERE.

Developing children and youth as social inclusion champion through KSL clubs.

How might we work collaboratively with all the actors to attract and develop children and youth into social inclusion champions?

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Under $100,000

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work
  • Within 100 km of where our team does most of its work
  • Within 500 km of where our team does most of its work
  • More than 500 km from where our team does most of its work

HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN WORKING ON THIS PILOT PROJECT TOGETHER?

  • Between 6 months and a year

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JOINING AMPLIFY'S PORTFOLIO OF INNOVATORS?

We are interested to learn and share,collaboratE and network with like minded people on social change.We are also very keen to use this platform to challenge all innovators and the ideo platform to intentional relook their work for Deaf inclusion and social inclusion broadly.
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Team (11)

Nancy's profile
Antony's profile
Antony

Role added on team:

"Antony Were lead in prototyping and documenting findings in Bungoma County,Western part of Kenya.Antony has degree in Special Needs Education and passionate for inclusion."

Josephine's profile
Josephine wakonyo

Role added on team:

"Josephine, 19 years and the youngest member of the team led in prototyping in Nakuru.She has volunteer experiences working as assistant teacher in a Deaf school."

Joyce's profile
Joyce Mathew

Role added on team:

"Joyce Matthew has been our Technical adviser on Special Education.She was key informant in understanding history of KSL. She supported in the prototype planning.She has worked in Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) and in Ghana as Special Education Needs Adviser."

Robert's profile
Robert Gichia

Role added on team:

"He is an accomplished KSL interpreter and works voluntarily to support with accessing information through interpretation services.He supported the Nairobi team prototyping."

Dorcas's profile
Dorcas Imerina

Role added on team:

"Dorcas role was design thinking,prototyping planning and actual delivery.She was the Nairobi Team KSL Facilitator and conducted interviews as well."

Wanjiku Thuo's profile
Wanjiku Thuo

Role added on team:

"Wanjiku is an accomplished KSL interpreter and offered access to communication to the Deaf team during the design thinking stage and feedback phase."

Penninah's profile
Penninah Waturi

Role added on team:

"Peninah lead the whole team through the design thinking,prototyping planning and delivery and collation of information from all four sites.She kept all of us on our toes!"

Gerishon's profile
Gerishon Muhawani

Role added on team:

"Gerishon took lead in the initial design thinking and prototyping planning phase."

jane's profile
jane Nduta j

Role added on team:

"Jane is an accomplished Deaf specialist.She lead the Nandi team in prototype planning,delivery and collation of feedback."

Daniel's profile
Daniel Munyoroku

Role added on team:

"Made all amazing videos!!"

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Photo of Wanjiku Thuo
Team

The countdown begins, 11 days to the grand announcement. This has been quite a journey worth taking, alot of learnings and until we realise our objective, there is no reason whatsoever to stop here.

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