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Good Jobs for Disabled Workers

With the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the world has agreed to “promote full and productive employment and decent work for all” by 2030. But, though the SDG agenda fails to acknowledge it, success will be impossible without addressing the unique – and formidable – challenges faced by disabled workers.

NAIROBI – Employment delivers more than a paycheck. It also offers personal independence, social status, and the self-esteem that these assets bring. For people with disabilities, these benefits are particularly valuable – and particularly difficult to access.

With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the world has agreed to “promote full and productive employment and decent work for all” by 2030. For a young country like Kenya, where 21% of the population is aged 19-24, progress is particularly urgent, in order to convert a youth bulge into a demographic dividend. But, though the SDG agenda fails to acknowledge it, success will be impossible without addressing the unique – and formidable – challenges faced by disabled workers.

In developed countries, 50-70% of working-age people with disabilities are unemployed. In the United Kingdom, a 2017 study indicates that disabled job seekers submit 60% more applications than their non-disabled counterparts before they secure a position. Only 51% of applications from people with disabilities result in an interview, compared to 69% for non-disabled people.

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