Accessible Tourism in Kenya

Having recently published Best Practice in Accessible Tourism edited by Dimitrios Buhalis et al we are very aware of the importance of making tourism accessible to all regardless of people’s disabilities. In relation to this book, we were recently contacted by Peter Bodo Ong’aro, the Secretary General of Kenya Disabled Development Society (KDDS) based in Nairobi. In this post Peter tells us about his work and how the organisation collaborates with other charities.

The Kenya Disabled Development Society (KDDS) strives to empower people with disabilities through various projects. Its main objective is to help disabled people develop educationally, socially and economically and therefore fit into the mainstream society.

I have been appointed the Country Representative to Kenya  by Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES). GAATES is based in Canada and their mission is to promote the understanding and implementation of accessibility of sustainable built, social and virtual environments, including architectural, infrastructural design, transportation systems, habitat, and electronic information and communication technologies so that everyone, including people with disabilities and older persons are able to fully participate and contribute to society. You can find more information about the organisation at www.gaates.org.

As the Country Representative to Kenya my mandate will be to hold events, lectures, workshops and host an international conference on accessibility. I will be promoting universal design, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and accessibility. I intend to hold workshops in five or more major cities in Kenya and host the International Conference on Accessible Tourism (ICATO) in July/August 2012 in Nairobi. I will also be conducting accessibility assessments on facilities in the tourism industry with a view to establishing whether Kenya is indeed an ‘Accessible Tourist Destination’.

I am also a signatory to the Seoul Declaration on Vocational Competency Development for Persons with Disabilities 2011. I led the KDDS delegation to the 8th International Abilympics Seoul 2011 which was held in September last year in Korea. The Abilympics is Olympics of Abilities for Persons with Disabilities. 52 Nations attended the event. KDDS will send a very strong team to the 9th International Abilympics 2015 which will be held in Finland. We intend to host a Regional Abilympics comprising of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Kenya hopefully towards the end of the year in Kisumu City, Kenya.

KDDS works with many international organisations across the world. For details of these partnerships and information about KDDS see their website.

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