Standard Chartered Bank Kenya has formally joined the Kenya Business & Disability Network (KBDN), as part of its ongoing efforts to achieve inclusivity in its workplace.
The admission into the network comes just months after the lender inked a partnership with disability welfare crusaders Sightsavers and Light for the World where it pumped Sh97 million to launch a two-year employability programme for disabled jobseekers.
The bank joins 11 other organisations in the network among them Safaricom, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Coca-Cola Kenya.
KBDN is an employer-led initiative, hosted by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), which brings together organisations to promote disability inclusion in workplaces.
Following the admission, StanChart has pledged to double the number of disabled employees in its workforce from eight in 2021 to 20 by close of this year. The number currently stands at 13.
“We, in private sector have a critical role to play. We not only have the moral duty to promote and facilitates the hiring, retention, and professional development of people with disabilities but we also have the opportunity to impact in area of dire need and yet achieve our business objectives while at it,” said StanChart Kenya chief executive Kariuki Ngari.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2021 estimated youth unemployment rate to be at 13.8 percent, with the gap widening even further for those living with disabilities.
In Kenya, 2019 census statistics indicate that 2.2 percent of citizens are living with disability, and 80 to 90 percent of these remain unemployed.
The figures have occasioned a shift in global opinion as to what constitutes ethical treatment of the disabled, with organisations increasingly embracing disability as a human rights issue.
In December last year, the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) set up an online platform dubbed eLimu to train industry workers on bank-related sign language.