Kenya and Tanzania have signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a list of governmental provisions to serve people with disabilities around the world. However, most of the organisations serving people with disabilities in East Africa are privately managed. The impact of the convention on people with disabilities was unknown.
We partnered with two umbrella organisations, Shivyawata (Tanzania’s Federation of Disabled People’s Organizations) and UDPK (United Disabled Persons of Kenya), as well as a disability rights expert, Kirsi Saalo.
UDPK and Shivyawata carried out a pilot survey to assess the extent to which the governments of Kenya and Tanzania are or are not implementing the UN Convention, but their initiative needed to be scaled up to get an accurate understanding of the situation and to be presented to promote changes in public policy.
DataShift defined, tested, implemented and analysed a data collection survey on citizen perception of the two governments’ implementation of service for persons with disability.
First, we designed our research: questionnaires for adult and child participants to cover all the areas of interest; including access to education, healthcare, rehab, protection, and access to employment.
We devised a solution for easier data collection with AKVO; a mobile platform for collecting sensitive data, allowing for informed consent and the right to refuse an answer. Then we collected and analysed our data.
Shivyawata and UDPK have learned valuable lessons to apply in future initiatives and have a better understanding of the challenges they’ll face. They’ll both allow longer periods for data collection and piloting and always kick-off projects with offline, face-to-face meetings.
They got a better look at the scope of invisibility they’ll continue to face: it was hard to find and access previous research on children with disabilities and find people with disabilities to approach for participating.
Shivyawata and UDPK’s work was strengthened. They also broke linguistic barriers (UDPK received help from Shivyawata to reach Swahili-speaking communities in Kenya), and learned from each other’s advocacy strategies to improve their own data use.
Given the current lack of data to inform government programmes Shivyawata and UDPK have broken ground for better understanding and reaching people with disabilities in their regions. They’re also showing the government it’s possible to collect that data and utilise it for public benefit.