Standard Chartered Bank has joined the Kenya Business and Disability Network. This comes off the back of a two-year employability program being carried out by the bank in partnership with Sightsavers and Light for the World.
The initiative, launched under the Bank’s FutureMakers employability pillar has enabled Sightsavers to work with Organisations of People with Disabilities (OPDs) and is seeking to increase the confidence and job readiness of 790 young jobseekers with disabilities through a combination of soft skills training and mentoring.
The breakfast meeting, which included representatives from the private sector, the Federation of Kenya Employers, and members of the Kenya Business and Disability Network, touched on disability inclusion matters with a focus on how people with disabilities earn, learn, and grow in an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Speaking during the event, Kariuki Ngari, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Kenya said, “We, in the private sector have a critical role to play. We not only have the moral duty to promote and facilitate the hiring, retention, and professional development of people with disabilities but we also have the opportunity to impact areas of dire need and yet achieve our business objectives while at it.”
In Kenya for instance, ILO estimates that the youth unemployment rate was at 13.84 percent in 2021 with the gap widening even further for youth with disabilities. This means that more capacity building is needed to ensure that PWDs have access to skills, resources, and systems that enable them to fully participate in the workforce without bias.
In April this year, Standard Chartered in partnership with SightSavers and Light for the World launched a Kes 97M Futuremakers Inclusive Employability program which aims at supporting young people, particularly girls and people with disabilities to find jobs through work readiness and vocational training. The program creates opportunities to support young people to become job-ready by providing training, mentoring, and an employment network to young people and supports employers to become more disability confident and inclusive of people with disabilities. Through KBDN, the program is providing the corporate sector with an opportunity to share good practices and adopt inclusive practices in their business.
Commenting on this, Kariuki Ngari said, ‘’For an employability program to become sustainable, we need to develop both the demand and the supply side and engage wider labor market stakeholders including business communities, universities, government and associations for people with disabilities to become the catalysts of inclusion in the broader labor market. Today, I am delighted to formalize our membership of the KBDN by signing the Inclusion Road Map.”
The Kenya Business and Disability Network (KBDN) is a unique employer-led initiative, hosted by the Federation of Kenya Employers and supported by the International Labour Organisation and Sightsavers. Members include the private sector, organizations of persons with disabilities, and NGOs.
KBDN works to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in workplaces countrywide. It does this by demonstrating the clear business benefits of employing people with disabilities and highlighting the valuable contributions they bring to workplaces of all kinds.
KBDN promotes and facilitates the hiring, retention, and professional development of people with disabilities. KBDN aspires to raise awareness about the business and human rights case for disability inclusion in the workplace and highlight the positive relationship between disability inclusion and business success.