Brian Malika is an Inclusive Disability Employment Fellow with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, a former youth task-force member on youth employment with the British Council’s Nairobi office, columnist at Project Syndicate, contributor at iVolunteer International, Youth Partner at Wellbeing For Women Africa and Founder of One More Percent.
- Can you please tell us about your organization, One More Percent, and how your work supports advocacy and better employment opportunities for young Kenyan women with disabilities?
One More Percent is a grassroots-based organization that was formed in 2017 to advance gender equality, particularly within the employment sector, for women and girls who have a disability.
Recent research has shown that Kenyan employers are afraid to hire workers with disabilities because they think that they are more expensive, and that employees consider working alongside colleagues living with disabilities to be annoying or embarrassing.
At One More Percent we are challenging the negative perception towards hiring people living with disabilities, especially women and girls living in rural Kenya who we believe face intersectional discrimination.
So far, One More Percent has been able to train 40 girls and young women (including those living with disabilities) on policy advocacy skills so that they can be able to follow-up with local governments to offer fair employment opportunities for women living with disabilities.
- How are you challenging the stereotypes and misconceptions held by employers and workers to create a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities?
I have challenged these stereotypes and misconceptions by writing an article for an international think tank called Project Syndicate which was published by different media outlets around the world such as Global Diaspora News, The Jordan Times, and East African Business Week.
- What legal resources and support structures for people with disabilities would you like to see in Kenya?
First of all, I would like to commend the Kenyan constitution for having set the standard for disability employment in the country through the disability employment law. This law requires that at least 5% of all public service employment opportunities be reserved for people with disabilities. However, an analysis of the Kenyan public service shows that less than 2% of those jobs have been filled by Kenyans with disabilities 9 years after the law’s passage.
The reason that it has become an uphill task for Kenya to actualize her disability employment law is that there lacks a framework to prepare Kenyans with disabilities for those jobs. Most are not accommodated by technical and educational learning centers, and this translates to their low employment figures. Therefore, I would like to see more measures taken to improve education and learning opportunities for students with disabilities so as to better improve their transition from training to employment.