Niko Fiti economically empowering persons with disabilities

The Niko Fiti ‘Ability Beyond Disability’ Campaign is a Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Kenya Reinsurance Corporation that seeks to empower Persons With Disability to undertake their daily operations with minimal dependency, enable them to have access to education and employment thus resulting in economic growth. This has been achieved through the provision of mobility and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, special seats, try-cycles, canes, crutches, polio boots, urine bags, calipers and prosthesis. 

 

Since its inception in 2011, the Campaign has touched and changed the lives of over 2000 Persons with Disability in different counties across Kenya, through the provision of  assistive and mobility devices. The campaign has traversed the whole country through 5 caravans in the last 3 years, with a dedicated team that issued the various devices.

 

During the course of the campaign, hundreds of beneficiaries requested for financial help to either start businesses or boost the businesses they have as giving devices only ensures mobility and accessibility of PWDs and is only one step towards their rehabilitation.  

 

In a bid to meet its obligation of rehabilitating the beneficiaries, the Niko Fiti campaign has taken a different direction. This year, the campaign seeks to empower persons with disability by giving some form of financial assistance to the beneficiaries to enable them become self-reliant through business start-ups.

 

The campaign is under the theme “Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability” has seen Kenya Re distribute Mobile Vending Units as well as start-up stock to 160 Persons with Disability from Kibra, Kamunkunji and Kasarani areas of Nairobi County. This will give the beneficiaries a chance to contribute to the socio-economic building of the economy.

 

The beneficiaries have undergone financial management training in a move to enable them start up, run and grow their businesses. The training was on basic principles of governance, book keeping and basic finance to educate the beneficiaries on how to manage the profits they make to sustain their ventures in the long run. Plans are underway to establish a business park in Nairobi where the beneficiaries will operate from. 

 

Nairobi is being used a model satellite and its success will see the new initiative rolled out in other parts of the country. 

 

To assess the success rate of the new model, the Niko Fiti team has made site visits to some of the work stations of the beneficiaries. One of the beneficiaries visited was Gerald Munga a resident of Kibra, who operates his business at the Bus Station within Nairobi City Centre. Having received a Mobile Vending Unit and start-up stock just like the other beneficiaries, Gerald has managed to grow his business tremendously. He tripled his stock in about 2 months and bought additional stock different from what he received, to the amazement of his fellow businessmen.  

 

He attributes his success to the training he received from Kenya Re on financial management stating that it has enabled him keep his records and separate his profits from the money he puts back into the business. 

 

Mr. Munga says that he can now comfortably educate his children and take care of his family. He hopes to open a supermarket in the near future. “I am very grateful to Kenya Re for extending this kind of support to us. I see my dreams coming true because of the assistance given by Kenya Re and I know that I will succeed and live to see my dream come true,” he concludes.

 

Kenya Re hopes to extend this new model of the Niko Fiti Campaign to other counties across the nation and empower more persons with disability towards enabling them become financially independent.

 

Kenya Re is carrying out the campaign in partnership with Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) and Standard Group. APDK is charged with the responsibility of identifying the most deserving cases and fabrication of the devices and organises for their appearance at the distribution sites and Standard Group as the media partner.

 

Economic inclusion drive for people living with disabilities in Eldoret

It is with no doubt that the 300 beneficiaries from Eldoret County were overjoyed after receiving the mobility and assistive devices. This is in appreciation to the NIKO FITI – Ability Beyond Disability campaign. This is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative by Kenya Reinsurance Corporation in partnership with the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK). The distribution was held on 7th October 2016 at 64 stadium.

 

The provision of the mobile vending units, canes, stylus and diapers will go a long way in achieving personal mobility. Access to these devices is a precondition for achieving equal opportunities, enjoying human rights and living in dignity. Disability increases the possibility of falling into poverty by being excluded from participation in development initiatives.  In this regards, Kenya Re in conjunction with APDK conducted a two-day training workshop for the beneficiaries to equip them with various skills which will enable them to start their own businesses seamlessly.

 

Upon receiving the devices, the beneficiaries attested that their lives would now change for the better. Having learnt so much, they can now adequately boost their income to provide for their families. They added that they will advise others back at home to register with APDK and be future beneficiaries of similar initiatives. The beneficiaries reiterated that the devices will enhance functional independence and make daily living tasks easier by helping them travel, communicate with others, learn, work, and participate in social and recreational activities.

 

The residents from West Indies, Huruma, Maili nane, Langas and Kisumu ndogo were called upon to join the cause in order to completely eradicate the stigma associated with disability during the roadshow. The 2016 Niko Fiti na Kenya Re ambassador, Phelix Odiwuor a.k.a Jalango was also present to mobilize the public to support the initiative and help in complete eradication of stigma associated with disability in Kenya.

CSR

Kenya Re has for many years contributed to the national kitty on disasters. The Corporation also contributes directly to the local community for more impact and to establish long term stakeholder engagements. It has supported children’s homes and participated in the annual Matter Heart Run and Stanchart Marathon. In addition, the Corporation sponsors academic excellence awards in Kenya’s tertiary institutions.

However, in 2011 Kenya Re reviewed this strategy and opted to sustainably focus on one major Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to establish impactful long term stakeholder value. Various considerations were made including taking an initiative in education and environment or support for persons with disability.

The Corporation opted for the latter for its uniqueness as no other corporation had adopted such a CSR initiative before and recognizing the huge magnitude of need that existed in this area. The campaign was dubbed
Niko Fiti’ Ability Beyond Disability.

2014 Niko Fiti Campaign

At the beginning of 2014, Kenya Re set aside KSh29 million for the Niko Fiti-Ability beyond disability campaign with the long-term objective of supporting paraplegics and donating assistive devices to special learning institutions that cater for persons with disabilities.

 

The 2014 edition of the campaign themed Niko Fiti- Ability beyond Disability Journey saw the first caravan headed to Western Kenya flagged off on 2nd July, 2014.  Between 2nd and 4th July, the caravan transversed Kisii, Kisumu and Busia regions distributing assistive devices to 465 beneficiaries - 87 in Kisii, 93 in Kisumu and 285 in Busia. Beneficiaries came from far and wide including counties like: Nakuru, Eldoret, Bungoma, Vihiga, Kakamega, Homabay, Siaya, Migori, Nyamira and Migori.

 

Living with disabilities can be challenging. People who do not have any disabilities may find it difficult to understand the plight of those who do. The personal stories of those living with disabilities offered a refreshing perspective on the meaning of life and the ability to endure an entirely new way of living. One such story is that of Henry Makokha, a beneficiary from Busia who says he regained his self-esteem after he received a prosthesis for his right leg that was amputated following a bone infection. As a teacher, he can now concentrate on his students as he is now able to teach full time which was not possible before he received the prosthesis from Kenya Re.

 

The second caravan of the year 2014 went to Mt. Kenya region where 677 mobility and assistive devices were distributed to hundreds of beneficiaries. This caravan covered Murang'a, Embu, Kerugoya, Mikinduri and Isiolo regions. Kenya Re remains committed to improving the quality of life for persons living with disabilities and empowering them to go through their daily activities with minimal dependence on other people. 

The Campaign Launch and Fundraising

The Corporation officially launched the “Niko Fiti” Ability Beyond Disability, Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign on November 3rd 2011 at an event officiated by the Vice President of Kenya, Hon Kalonzo Musyoka. During the launch assistive devices comprising of 15 wheel chairs, 3 tricycles, 2 cushions, 1 walking Frame, 2 crutches, 5 white canes and 50 boxes of incontinence urine bags were distributed to 78 beneficiaries through Organizations of Persons with Disabilities. The beneficiaries were derived from a needs assessment exercise that had been carried out by Kenya Re in conjunction with Association of the Physically Disable of Kenya (APDK). The devices facilitated their mobility and enabled them to bolster their social and economic stature.

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