World Deaf Leadership
Name: Nickson O. Kakiri
Field of Study: Government/International Development
Nickson O. Kakiri is a Deaf Kenyan graduate from the Gallaudet University Washington DC, US (Class 2005, Major: Government with International Development focus). Born and raised in Nyanza province in Kenya, he is the present Chair of Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD), a grassroots national organization of the Deaf advocating for the linguistic rights of Deaf Kenyans.
The first recipient of Nippon funded World Deaf Leaders Scholar program at Gallaudet University, returned back to his home country in 2006 after graduating from Gallaudet as required by the WDL scholarship. Equipped with leadership and research skills he got from experience under the world Deaf leadership Program, during research study on "development Assistances desired by the Deaf Kenyans" sponsored by the WDL. The study has been shared through presentations at various conferences around the world including World Federation of the Deaf congress in Spain in July 2007. Using result of the research Study that emphasized on Deaf education priority needs of Deaf Kenyans, he has since set up a project in Kenya National Association of the Deaf called "Promoting Kenyan Sign Language in the field of Deaf Education" being funded by the Nippon Foundation.
Through this project, in collaboration with other Disabled People Organizations, World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the Kenya Deaf community under his leadership, has successfully lobbied for the recognition of Kenyan Sign Language as one of the languages and of the three official of the Kenya Parliament in addition to English and Kiswahili as stated in Article 7(3) (b) and Article 120(1) of the Kenya constitution. He is actively involved with disability movement in Kenya as seen; he was one of the leaders who submitted petitions by People with disabilities to Members of parliament in Kenya parliament with the official invitation from Speaker of National Assembly. Petition has since resulted into recognition Disability rights in Bill of rights on Article 54 of the constitution. The recognition, he believe academic institutions will be more interested in doing vigorous KSL research to promote it further in par with other languages in Kenya.
Apart from doing survey on "Development Assistances Desired by the Deaf Kenyans" and "how Deaf Women in Kenya view empowerment by education", he has co-presented papers on Deaf people in developing countries, and was also part of the Kenya National Disability Survey team that was commissioned by Government of Kenya.
Prior to his bachelor education in the US, he had worked with South Nyanza Association of the Deaf an affiliate branch of KNAD as a secretary General for 6 years. He is also co-founded Global Deaf Connection currently based in the US and own Deaf Safaris Ltd, a tour Company he is currently reviving to be back to business. Using UN Convention on Disability Rights and local Disability laws, he advocates for inclusive policies to enable equal participation of People with Disabilities and Deaf in society.
Nickson was also a PSO Netherlands junior professional and a disability mainstream development advisor at Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) Mongolia Disability mainstreaming effort (December 2007 to June 2009).
Kakiri is doing Master's studies in Development Studies at the University of Nairobi and is interested in International law and development issues towards people with disabilities.