Kenya and Bangladesh employment programme

10,000 women and men with disabilities are to benefit from an innovative inclusive employment programme in Kenya and Bangladesh led by international pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire.

We’re very optimistic about the positive differences the project is set to make on the employment opportunities for men and women with disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh.

The Innovation to Inclusion (i2i) programme has been awarded funding through the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Aid Connect stream. i2i brings together a consortium of influential partners from the Global North and Global South who will work collaboratively to ensure persons with disabilities, a critically underutilised talent pool, are actively recruited and retained in meaningful employment in the private sector.

Tiziana Oliva, Executive Director — International at Leonard Cheshire, commented:

‘Programmes like i2i are essential in bringing together expertise from a diverse group of contributors, who all offer a unique and insightful perspective on the challenges people with disabilities face all over the world.

‘We are pleased that this funding will allow us to test new and innovative approaches to improve the employment landscape in Kenya and Bangladesh, that can then be replicated.

‘Equal access to decent employment is an absolute necessity for people with disabilities and it’s important that we work together to develop frameworks that can be implemented in low and middle-income countries in order to affect change and create more inclusive societies.’

The i2i consortium will focus on the following key areas to ensure sustainable change for women and men with disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya:

  • Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) will be at the forefront of positive advocacy initiatives informed by high-quality data and evidence on disability and employment 
  • Strengthen national governments to have comparable and relevant disability data to monitor and implement inclusive strategies and policies
  • Work with private sector employers to make workplaces inclusive for persons with disabilities
  • Improve and strengthen the skills of persons with disabilities to gain and retain employment

Digital and technology-based solutions will be developed, tested and validated throughout the i2i programme demonstrating the potential for change of successful interventions that strengthen inclusive employment models in low and middle-income countries. 

Richard Boden, Senior Policy Advisor at DFID, commented:

‘With technology being a central theme of DFID’s first ever disability inclusion strategy, initiatives like i2i will be instrumental in demonstrating the power of collaboration and innovation in bringing about tangible solutions to the barriers people with disabilities face around the globe.

‘We’re very optimistic about the positive differences the project is set to make on the employment opportunities for men and women with disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh.

‘Insight and learning from the project will no doubt have an impact beyond these two focus countries, broadening the potential to make meaningful change in the wider disability sector.’

Media enquiries

For further please contact Erin O’Reilly via erin.o’

Notes to editors

The i2i consortium consists of:

  • Leonard Cheshire (lead),
  • the World Bank,
  • the International Labour Organization (ILO),
  • European Disability Forum (EDF),
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM),
  • CBM,
  • Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub),
  • Plan International UK,
  • Action Network for the Disabled Kenya (ANDY)
  • Bangladesh Business and Disability Network (BBDN). 

This latest funding follows an 8-month co-creation period, a year-on from the Global Disability Summit where the Aid Connect grants were announced. Consortium partners worked closely with persons with disabilities and DPOs during the co-creation period to examine: existing social protection policies and practices and how they link with employment; the current availability, accessibility and affordability of mainstream and assistive technologies used by persons with disabilities to engage and be retained in the work place; and ways data on disability and employment had been captured in each country.