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Banks launch sign language training platform for employees

banks

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) CEO Habil Olaka speaks at a past event. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

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Summary

  • The platform dubbed eLimu, will be hosted on a website and a mobile app that contains self-training tools with 100 words and common banking environment terminologies with video demonstrations and notes.
  • According to 2019 census statistics, 2.2 percent of Kenyans are living with some form of disability.
  • The app was developed and will be moderated by Deaf eLimu Plus Ltd, a deaf-owned startup company that provides innovative educational products and tutorial services in sign languages.

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) has set up an online platform to train the sector’s workers on bank-environment sign language to help improve access to financial services for the deaf.

The platform dubbed eLimu, will be hosted on a website and a mobile app that contains self-training tools with 100 words and common banking environment terminologies with video demonstrations and notes.

According to 2019 census statistics, 2.2 percent of Kenyans are living with some form of disability. Of this population, only 0.5 percent are included within the formal financial system despite inclusion having risen to 82.9 percent.

“People with disabilities constitute one of the most underserved segments of the population across jurisdictions. Despite gains achieved through initiatives geared towards promoting access to financial services in the last two decades, financial inclusion has not sufficiently impacted our clients with disabilities,’’ said KBA chief executive Habil Olaka.

The app was developed and will be moderated by Deaf eLimu Plus Ltd, a deaf-owned startup company that provides innovative educational products and tutorial services in sign languages, with funding from KBA and FSD Kenya.

Central Bank of Kenya governor Patrick Njoroge said the app would improve access to financial services for deaf people, and called on banks to further improve access by coming up with more tailor-made solutions targeting the community.

The new platform has come out of recommendations from the KBA’s People with Disability Digital Accessibility Project.

"The project proposals are broad in scope, and touch on a wide spectrum of challenges faced by bank customers with disabilities, including independently accessing mobile banking applications, online banking channels, bank websites, bank statements, and ATMs," said Dr Olaka.

In order to improve access to banking services, the KBA has recommended that lenders train their staff who deal with customers on Persons with Disabilities Etiquette and basic Kenyan sign language.

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