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Visually impared at the forefront of decision-making



In the past, marginalised communities, particularly the visually impaired, have languished in the sidelines, excluded from decision-making processes of the county government. Key budget documents were cloaked in complex jargon, neglecting the needs of visually impaired individuals and failing to provide accessible translations. Voices of those who need to be heard the most were shut off. This exclusion led to a lack of participation from marginalized groups in public forums, hindering their ability to voice their concerns and influence government decisions. 


A transformative shift occurred with the intervention of the Chambua project, a beacon of change, funded by Voice, which empowered rights holders to demand their rightful place in governance. Chambua enriched our knowledge and practices, particularly on Gender Responsive Budgeting, through collaboration with COVAW. This partnership illuminated the critical role of inclusive budgeting practices in fostering equitable governance. Through the translation of budget documents into citizen-friendly formats and the transcription of these vital documents into braille, a door of inclusion swung wide open. Now, visually impaired individuals stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers, at the forefront of decision-making, actively articulating their concerns and needs, which the government includes in shaping new policies and priorities.  


This initiative on inclusion marks a pioneering step forward in the region, embedding the principles of equity and inclusivity into the very fabric of governance. The impact reverberates across every corner of Kisumu County, where budget documents that have never been transcribed into braille before, now grace the desks of every Member of the County Assembly office, as braille booklets, symbolising a triumph of accessibility and empowerment. The gender-responsive budgeting has become not just a concept, but a catalyst for transformative change, ensuring that no voice is left unheard, and no community is left behind. #NowUs 



When marginalised voices are silenced, entire communities suffer, but when those voices are amplified and included, real change can occur. True progress requires not only recognising the barriers that exist, but working actively to break them down. Inclusivity isn’t just a goal, it’s a moral imperative and a pathway to a brighter future for all.Geofrey Juma

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