If you have been following up on us at Ability, by now you should be familiar with our project on advocating for more accessible buildings and streets for everyone, but especially for people living with a disability ( Leave no one behind). After weeks of calling out volunteers to help the open institute in mapping our city, Nairobi, which begins on 29th April and throughout May.

We finally had our training and guess what? Everything turned out well. We are glad that the volunteers came in good numbers and we were able to take them through the training process of how they will be collecting data around Nairobi’s private/public streets and buildings.

We were a bit hesitant that volunteers would not turn up because of the bad weather, but the 36 participants that attended were enough to take us through the day. Crystal Asige- Project Lead, and Kevin Kavai from the open institute Tech team took the volunteers through the questionnaire form using their smartphones.

We had all the materials needed for the training ready, the set up of the event space and equipment, the wheelchairs (thanks to The Association For The Physically Disabled Of Kenya (APDK),  blindfolds, and earplugs. We also had support from Pauline from Nairobi Design Institute https://nairobi.design/ Who taught the volunteers the importance of universal Design and Engineer Njeri, from ITDP: The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, who also took the volunteers through the ideal design for Nairobi – to become a more inclusive and accessible city.

The volunteer’s reaction towards the training was exceptional. Most of them were students from different universities and professionals with an interest in sustainable and accessible environments. They asked a lot of questions about Ability Programme and the team did not fail in explaining to them exactly what it is and also how Ability came about to be how and where it is right now. They were happy to have gotten the chance to go through the Ability training throughout the day and were eager to start mapping Nairobi on the 29th of April 2019.

During the training, as an important aspect of the programme, the volunteers were told to divide themselves into groups and challenge themselves to go through the whole day simulating a particular disability. Each group got three volunteers each one of whom got on the different types of disability simulation. There were people who were on wheelchairs and in blindfolds whose experiences were influential to their involvement in the mapping exercise. The volunteers were very excited about the simulations because it gave them a chance to live in the shoes of a person’s living with disabilities.

As a team, we are very excited about the turn out of the volunteer’s and also their participation during training. The best way to explain our joy is by saying that our objective as a team is mission accomplished. We are grateful to the volunteer’s and also the team that came to support us not forgetting those who offered us their equipment for us to use. A big thank you to Signs TV who provided media coverage for the volunteer training day.

We are prepared and excited to map our beautiful Nairobi city! If you are still interested to be a part of this exercise, kindly get in touch on ability@openinstitute.com or our text line 0796401654.

Please watch our videos on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zD6oNPnDig