Deafblind Reality in Africa

25 May 2022

We recently participated in Deafblind International’s Conference on Deafblindness in Africa.

Muthami Mutie, from Sense International Kenya, tells us about his experience at the conference.

We were so excited to be a part of this conference as, not only was it the first Deafblind International conference to be hosted in Africa, but it was also being hosted in our own capital, Nairobi at the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE).

The conference was an excellent forum to:

  1. Raise awareness about the needs of persons with deafblindness across Africa
  2. Share our success and inspire further support in promoting the rights of persons with deafblindness
  3. Exchange knowledge with partner organisations
  4. Establish networks and communities of practice on deafblindness
A woman speaking from a lectern and a woman sat at a desk
Naomi Lugoe, Director of Sense International Tanzania, presented on inclusive education and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4.5 (inclusive and equitable quality education).

Sense International was a key partner in coordinating the conference. Thanks to our supporters we were able to bring together staff from Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, the UK and Uganda.

A man holding a microphone standing in front of a screen
Sazzad Kabir, Development Manager at a partner of Sense International in Bangladesh, presented on vocational training for youth with deafblindness in Bangladesh.

We had an opportunity to exhibit our work during the conference. Below is my colleague Faith demonstrating eye screening to the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, who was a chief guest during the conference.

We also had an active role in presenting and moderating several sessions throughout the 3-day conference. Here are some snaps of my colleagues presenting:

Michael Sebuliba, Director of Sense International Uganda, presented the findings of a study on minimum standards for inclusive education for learners with deafblindness.

Overall, we felt the conference was an amazing opportunity to bring together organisations working towards the common goal of improving the lives of people with deafblindness across Africa.

Below is a concluding statement from Richard Mativu, Director of Sense International Kenya:

“The Conference, being the first of its kind in Africa, was a great platform for researchers, governments and private sector organizations to come together for a 3-day event focused on the rights, welfare and needs of persons with deafblindness in Africa.

Many African countries are yet to recognize deafblindness as a distinct disability with unique needs and interventions. We were pleased to see that following on from the conference, several resolutions were made targeting governments, civil society and families.

We at Sense International, will be reviewing the resolutions and identifying those we can take a lead on.”

Richard Mativu