RU and Africa Institute of Deaf Studies and Research sign MOU

On Monday, 18th July, 2016 Riara University (RU) and Africa Institute of Deaf Studies & Research (AIDSR) announced the official collaboration between the two institutions to provide training, capacity building, and research in the field of deafness. The collaboration was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Prof. Robert Gateru, Vice-Chancellor, RU and Prof. Michael Ndurumo, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AIDSR. The activities of the MOU will be coordinated under Riara University’s School of Education.

In his remarks, Prof. Ndurumo, observed that the field of deafness is one of the most neglected areas in terms of skilled manpower. He emphasized the need to invest in training professionals dedicated to serving in this field, in order to meet the demands of the increasing population. In Kenya, the current population of deaf and hard of hearing persons is approximately 2.3 million and growing. Sub-Saharan Africa has an estimated 36.8 million persons with hearing loss or hearing impairment. This includes 17,300,000 children and youth under the age of 24 years. Prof. Ndurumo further pointed out that hearing loss is one of the chronic conditions reported by aging adults. In Africa, one-third of adults aged 65 and above have hearing loss or hearing impairment.

Acknowledging the importance of developing a sustainable workforce to serve in the field of deafness, Prof. Gateru stated that this initiative would go a long way in bridging the dialectal gap with the Kenyan Deaf Community. He stated that the partnership will work towards advocacy, empowerment and communication in order to improve accessibility to quality services as well as equitable employment opportunities. This will be achieved through engaging the broader community in training programmes that focus on Deaf Studies, Deaf Culture, Psychology of Deafness, Sign Language and Research, among other areas.
Prof. Gateru noted that citizens with loss of hearing or hearing impairment are unfairly excluded from many facets of society such as courts of justice, financial institutions, schools and institutions of higher learning, conferences and conventions, among others. This is mainly attributed to lack of skilled manpower in areas such as sign language interpreting, a gap that RU and AIDSR are seeking to address through this partnership.

The two institutions expressed their intention to team up within the scope of their joint and unique strengths, to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of the Kenyan Deaf Community. Overall, the partnership aims to produce educators, policy makers, curriculum specialists, sign language interpreters, counsellors and mental health practitioners among other professionals, to not only serve in the field of deafness, but also to enhance Kenya’s broader vision of inclusive opportunities for all, in line with the Social Pillar of Vision 2030. Kenya Vision 2030 is key stakeholder in this collaboration.

The MOU signing was witnessed by various partners and stakeholders including: Dr. David ole Sonkok (Chairperson, National Council for Persons with Disabilities), Ms. Ada Mwangola (Ag. Director Social and Political Pillars, Kenya Vision 2030), Mr. Geoffrey Wathigo (National Chair, Kenya Association of Parents of the Deaf), Mr. Abdi Abdille (Chairman, Muslim Deaf Association of Kenya), Mr. George Gachanja (Programme Coordinator, Kenya Society for the Deaf) and Mr. Essollom Kamau (Proprietor, Aberdares View Academy). Other witnesses included Ms. Sheila Mbiru (Chairperson, AIDSR) and Prof. Faith Nguru (DVC-Academic Affairs, RU) among others. All partners present committed to ensuring full actualization of the objectives of the MOU.

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1 Comments

  1. Great opportunity to impact on the lives of the deaf and hard of hearing in Kenya, the region and beyond.

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