inABLE a nonprofit organization that empowers the blind and visually impaired with computer assistive technology, has partnered with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to develop the national ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Accessibility Standard.
The development and eventual enactment of a National ICT Accessibility Standard will promote the digital inclusion of people with disabilities (PWDs) and older persons.
Through this partnership, public and private sector digital products and services including websites, mobile applications will be more accessible and usable by all Kenyan citizens.
“This will have a crucially positive impact on public and private sector digital products and services by making them more accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities and the elderly” said Irene Mbari-Kirika, the Founder and Executive Director of inABLE .
On his part, KEBS MD Bernard Njiraini noted the timeliness of the development noting that the Covid 19 pandemic has exposed a consequential digital divide and dire need for accessible digital platforms”, as the world quickly shifted to digital platforms, including virtual meetings, working from home, home schooling and even the government shared more public health information, the lack of access to vital online services disconnected millions of people, especially PWDs”, explained Njiraini.
Further Njiraini reiterated the bureau’s commitment to delivering meaningful and operational standards that enhance the lives of Kenyans.
seeks to drive digital inclusion for all including people living with disabilities through several laid out measures.
They include, the requirement that ICT services and emergency communications made available to the public are provided in alternative accessible formats for PWDs.
That existing legislation and regulations be reviewed to promote ICT accessibility for PWDs in consultation with organizations representing PWDs as well as ensuring that websites of government departments and agencies comply with international web accessibility standards and are accessible for PWDs.
In light of these, over the next few months, KEBS and inABLE will be working together with other stakeholders, including the National Council of People with Disabilities in Kenya (NCPWD), Communications Authority (CA) and ICT Authority and individuals with lived experiences, to draft the national ICT accessibility standard.