We are looking for Commonwealth citizens to share their views ahead of the 2024 Heads of Government Meeting. Sign up to take part

Supporting young women living with disabilities to influence policy on comprehensive healthcare

  • Amount funded: £60,000
  • Year: 2023
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Locations: Kenya
  • Grant stream: Open grants call

Young women living with disabilities in Kakamega County, Kenya, face difficulties accessing health services due to cultural, institutional and structural barriers. Poor communication between service providers and young women living with disabilities.

Project partners
Sisari Women Initiative Group (SWIG)
View more detail
How we are helping

This project aims to promote meaningful participation of young women living with disabilities in decision-making structures and processes, to improve access to healthcare services and instill acceptance and respect within their communities.

About the project

Despite efforts by the Government of Kenya, including devolution of healthcare services, many rural counties in Kenya struggle to meet the health needs of young women living with disabilities, who face institutional and structural barriers accessing healthcare services. Some of the issues faced by young women living with disabilities include lack of communication from service providers, discrimination and stigmatisation, high costs and limited availability of high-quality health services. Crucially, young women living with disabilities face exclusion from decision-making processes and structures.

The Sisari Women Initiative Group (SWIG) will engage with local stakeholders, civil society organisations, healthcare providers and facilities, and local government. The project aims to train 300 young women living with disabilities as volunteer civic educators, peer educators and policy champions, to participate in decision-making processes so that healthcare services better meet their needs.

This will be achieved by:

  • training young women living with disabilities as civic educators on health and disability rights and as policy advocates to engage with county government officials
  • establishing ‘score card committees’ in 12 sub-counties, training members of these committees on the use of score cards to accurately assess access to quality healthcare, implementation of health policies and inclusion of young women living with disabilities in governance processes within the county
  • working with score card committees to develop a report for the consideration of the County Health Minister and County Assembly leadership
  • convening county-level health and disability policy advocacy and stakeholder engagement forums with strong involvement of disability rights organisations operating within the county
  • conducting county-wide community outreach and sensitisation on health and disability rights using creative expression
  • distributing relevant information, education and communication materials.

As a result of this project, it is hoped that young women living with disabilities will be able to meaningfully participate in policy discussion on health and disability rights; community attitudes will shift towards improved acceptance and respect, with a reduction of stigma, discrimination and violence; and access to quality healthcare information and services for young women living with disabilities will be improved.

Project Partners
Sisari Women Initiative Group (SWIG)

Sisari Women Initiative Group (SWIG) is a registered community-based organisation, led by and focused on young women living with disabilities. SWIG is dedicated to the promotion of health and wellbeing of vulnerable and marginalised young women, especially those living with disabilities, among rural communities in Kakamega County. SWIG has five key areas of work: promotion of general public health; economic empowerment; promotion of inclusive education; and legal and civic empowerment.

Commonwealth Foundation logo

We support people's participation in democracy and development by providing grants, platforms, and expertise.