Leonard Chesire Disability, through its East and North Africa regional office based in Nairobi, with a project office based in Kisumu, is implementing this 3 year (July 2013 - June 2016) DIFD Girls' Education Challenge program. This program, which is being implemented in 50 government funded primary schools in five districts (namely Kisumu East, Siaya, Migori, Mbita, and Kuria East Districts in the Lake region), is addressing the physical and social barriers to education for girls with disabilities between the ages of 5 to 22 to ensure that 2,050 disabled girls in 50 schools receive a full, quality, and inclusive primary education.
The goal of this program is to improve the life chances of marginalized girls, and has four specific objectives:
1.) To increase awareness and capacity of duty-bearers and service providers to respond to the needs of disabled girls;
2.) To improve enrollment and retention of disabled girls in mainstream primary schools;
3.) To improve quality and accessibility of mainstream education for disabled girls; and
4.) To improve knowledge and evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of inclusive education.
This program is working with school communities, including parents and caregivers, 600 teachers, 650 School Management Committee (SMC) members, and non-disabled children to respond to the needs of disabled girls and to change negative attitudes towards disabilities in general. Additionally, the project seeks to increase awareness and capacity, surrounding the needs of disabled girls, of duty bearers and service providers, such as education officers, policymakers, media, health officers at district hospitals, local administration, DPOs, and NGOs. This program has a focus on the physical, economic, and social barriers to education. There is also a focus on piloting new ways of involving fathers and male relatives in supporting disabled girls' education and of empowerment disabled girls to advocate for their rights.
Specifically, this program aims to improve the physical environment in the 50 schools by undertaking adaptations to school buildings, latrines, and compounds, to ensure that the schools are accessible to disabled female students. This program also provides accessible learning materials and teaching aids so that all variations of disabilities are catered to. Five pilot resource centers (one per district) will be launched to provide accessible education and support materials to the schools, parents, disabled girls, and other stakeholders.