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Myths on Employment of Persons with Disability

In healthy, progressive and developed states, institutions and organizations, no one should be left behind. 

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In healthy, progressive and developed states, institutions and organizations, no one should be left behind. 

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Unemployment is a major global crisis, with younger people at the sharp end of the situation. In Kenya, 5.3m people aged 18 to 34 years are not working.  

The rate of new job creation in Kenya has been falling. In 2018, only 78,400 new formal jobs were created, down from 114,400 in 20171. And many of these new roles did not meet the thresholds for decent formal job opportunities, according to the World Bank. 

According to the same survey, the unemployment rate in Kenya was due to fall from 10.9% to 10% by 2020, but this prediction had not factored in the curveball of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

People with disabilities, especially women and girls, have faced marginalization and discrimination in the job market for many years.  

People with disabilities make up 10-15% of the world population, yet 80-90% of those of working age are unemployed in developing countries. This is a worrying statistic that must be addressed by all sectors of society.  

Disparities can be attributed to a lack of policies and guidelines. Where policies do exist, implementation is patchy due to perceptions that it is expensive and time-consuming for companies to adjust physical workspaces, provide appropriate information and communication technology and create an inclusive work culture for employees with disabilities. 

Negative stereotypes, myths and misconceptions around people with disabilities have also contributed to economic exclusion, especially for women. Prevailing attitudes in Kenyan society, tremendously limit the involvement of women with disability in all spheres of life – access to education and health services, the use of public transport, participation in civic rights and, of course, access to private-sector employment opportunities.  

Traditionally, people have believed that women with disabilities cannot actively participate in employment opportunities. 

But private companies have a duty and responsibility to adhere to international laws, including Article 27 of the UNCRPD and the International Labour Organization’s Convention on Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, as well as state laws. All of which clearly drive the agenda for the increased employment of people with disabilities.  

We cannot talk about development and building the economy of a nation, while at the same time neglecting a huge number of people who can contribute. In healthy, progressive and developed states, institutions and organizations, no one should be left behind. 



  1. KNBS Census 2019 report 

  2. 2019 Economic data survey 

  3. The Star News Paper 15th July 2019 “Kenya’s unemployment rate to rise – World Bank” 

  4. WHO/World Bank report on disability 

  5. Disabled still face hurdles in job market’, The Washington Times, 5 December 2005 


By Godfrey Oneil Kibet, Project Manager, Inclusive Employability, Plan International Kenya.

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