University of Nairobi staff members working at the front office serving students and members of the public are undergoing sign language training at the Central Catering Unit, from March, 16-19, 2015 in order to serve persons with disability better.
Speaking during the event, Prof. Isaac Mbeche, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs) who launched the function on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter M. F. Mbithi noted that the objective of the workshop was to train and sensitize staff on Kenyan sign language starting with selected front office staff from central administration before cascading the process to other units. The training will ensure that all service points at the university are manned by staff who are versed in handling people with disabilities and also sensitize staff on service provision to persons with hearing impairments.
Training of staff on sign language is in line with government disability policy requirements and it is one of the Performance Contract indicators.
Even before the government disability policy, the University of Nairobi had established the Kenya Sign Language Research project in 1991. The project was established with donor support and has continued to research on Kenyan Sign Language and in the process has produced materials that are useful to the deaf community.
During the 3 days workshop, University of Nairobi staff members were trained on several aspects of the sign language mostly ; greetings and self introduction, days of the week, months of the year, signing about food and drinks, signing about family members and medical signs.
The university has many students and staff with disabilities and hence the training session went a long way in sensitizing the staff to be able to handle such persons.