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Disability Caucus lobby for better share in county budget

Kakamega County Disability Caucus is lobbying for the needs of persons with disabilities to be fully captured in the County Budget document.

The Chair of the Caucus, Lucy Mulombi, said that people with disabilities understand the importance of the budget document that informs how the county government allocates and spends funds.

She was speaking during a training session for PWD budget champions at a Kakamega hotel in preparation for the county public participation forum for the County Fiscal Strategy Paper that will take place on the 15th of this month.

Mulombi, who also represents PWDs in the County Budget and Economic Forum Committee chaired by Governor Fernandes Barasa, noted that most times their issues were not fully captured for lack of awareness by disabled persons and aggressiveness to lobby for the same.

“From today on, we are going to lobby with the sector departments just to ensure that our priorities are 100 per cent captured,” she noted.

The training of the Budget Champions was supported by the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK), the Kenya Network for Women and Girls with Disabilities, and facilitated by International Budget Partnership (IBP) facilitator Paul Odongo.

Mulombi appealed to county officials to always invite budget champions during public participation forums who can articulate issues to come up with a budget that is disability-friendly and inclusive of gender issues.

She said that one of the ways that PWDs are enjoying the fruit of devolution is through public participation forums, and she asked the county government to always give them feedback on the memoranda they submit.

A PWD representative from Mumias West, Gregory Nanzai, called for inclusivity in the budget and urged the county government to give them the opportunity during public participation forums to make their contribution.

Barthes Wechuli Sifuna, the chair of the Navakholo Disability Initiative group, asked the county government to increase allocation to PWDs, women, and youth to enable them to establish businesses and other self-empowerment activities to generate their income.

“We are urging our Members of County Assembly (MCAs) to pass bills that come to the assembly so that PWDs get empowered through good legislation and financial support,” he added.

The IBP-trained Budget Facilitator, Paul Odongo, said that people with disabilities are now more informed of their rights than before and asked the county government to ensure that the allocation of funds for the group in the Annual Development Plan (ADP) is reflected in the final budget.

“PWDs are very important people in this community, and they should not be marginalised,” he added.

He also called for equipping Special Needs Education (SNE) schools and ensuring they have enough facilities to support smooth learning.

“We have seen disability mainstreaming in health. The county should take action on matters of Special Needs Education (SNE). The SNE school should be fully equipped, even if we have a vocational school or Early Childhood Development Education Centres(ECDE). They should cater for those facilities and also train enough special needs teachers so that they will be able to support the PWDs,” he said.

By Moses Wekesa

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