AUCD Announces PFP-IDE Alumni International Small Grant Recipients

AUCD and the PFP-IDE team are proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 PFP-IDE Alumni Small Grants competition. Mini-grants will fund the expansion of five ongoing projects in East Africa created and led by PFP alumni after participating in the U.S. Fellowship. The PFP-IDE Program issued individual and group grants to eight PFP alumni in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Read below to learn more about their projects and how the small grants will support their work:


Susan Masila (Kenya) 🇰🇪

Susan Masila and Kenya Ministry of Education officials at UNICEF conference on inclusive education.
  • Susan Masila will evaluate the impact of inclusive physical education on learners with and without disabilities in Nairobi County.
  • Susan’s small grant will provide funds for the launch an inclusive physical education partnership between the Kenyan Ministry of Education and Special Olympics Kenya which she developed as the former director in 2018.
  • The project will operate in 3 public schools in Nairobi and examine how inclusive physical education can be an effective tool for strengthening inclusion within the classroom setting too, as well as the community.

Maria Omare (Kenya) 🇰🇪

Left: Maria Omare. Right: Children in Kibera, Kenya reading Somesha books developed by The Action Foundation.
  • Maria Omare is the executive director of The Action Foundation Kenya (TAF Kenya).
  • She will use small grant funds to expand TAF Kenya’s Somesha Stories Project, which creates and delivers accessible learning materials to children with disabilities in Kenya.
  • Somesha Stories enables 1,300 children between 5-9 years and their teachers and caregivers to access stories and learning tools in English and Swahili that use Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
    • Somesha’s original content includes written stories in English and Swahili, as well as illustrated and animated stories, and guidance on inclusive education and COVID-19 for families and teachers.
  • She will also use the mini-grant to adapt Somesha’s android mobile app on inclusive education for iPhone and Macbook.
    • The Somesha app provides virtual stories, access to mental support, and inclusive education tools for children with disabilities, families, and teachers.
  • Somesha has won awards from UNDP Kenya, the Zero Project, and many other organizations. Read more about Maria’s work on this initiative in this PFP-IDE blog post.

Bijal Lal (Tanzania) 🇹🇿

L: Bijal Lal & her U.S. mentor Dr. Margo Izzo from Ohio State University; R: Bijal and her U.S. mentors lead a virtual teacher training in Tanzania.
  • Bijal Lal is a special education teacher and expert at Al Muntazir Special Education Needs School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • Bijal’s small grant award will fund the expansion of AMSEN-OSU Nisonger Center ECHO Tanzania, an online teacher training partnership she created to deliver virtual professional expertise on disability issues from the U.S. to Tanzania.
  • AMSEN-OSU Nisonger ECHO Tanzania enables secondary teachers at the school in Dar es Salaam where Bijal works to learn best practices on inclusive education, individualized supports, and transition from experts at the Ohio State University Nisonger Center, where Bijal spent her PFP Fellowship in 2019.
  • University trainees in Ohio also learn about disability inclusion and programs in East Africa by participating in the initiative’s Zoom sessions between Tanzanian teachers and U.S. experts.
  • The small grant award will fund the expansion of Bijal’s initiative to 3 public schools in Dar es Salaam, and will enable teachers and trainers in the U.S. and Tanzania to have a new set of standing monthly meetings to share specialized knowledge and address specific needs.
  • Read more about Bijal’s work on this initiative in this PFP-IDE blog post.


Elizabeth Shiakamiri, Martin Kavua, and Vincent Ogutu (Kenya) 🇰🇪

Left: Martin Kavua and Elizabeth Shiakamiri at an inclusive education conference in Nairobi.
Center: Martin Kavua and Vincent Ogutu after delivering an inclusive education training to disability professionals in 2018.
Right: Elizabeth with her U.S. mentor, Dr. Martin Blair, director of the University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities.
  • Elizabeth Shiakamiri is a Programme Manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability, Vincent Ogutu is Head of Programmes at Cheshire Disability Services Kenya, and Martin Mwongela Kavua is a Special and Inclusive Education Specialist at the Ministry of Education in Kenya.
  • They will review early intervention in 5 counties across Kenya, collect data, and develop an advocacy plan to support early childhood intervention and improve services such as early diagnosis, family support, and school enrollment.
  • The evidence they collect will be used to create an Inter-Agency Early Intervention Framework for All that will guide advocacy for disability policy reform in Kenya.

Ronald Kasule and Hassan Waddimba (Uganda) 🇺🇬

Read about Ronald & Hassan’s project here.

Hassan Waddimba (left) and Ronald Kasule (right) discuss inclusive employment on the radio in Uganda in 2018.
  • Ronald Kasule is the founder of the Digital Ability Support Network System (DASUNS), which connects Ugandans with disabilities to trained accommodations and service providers. Hassan Waddimba is the founder of Grassroots Strategies Africa, an organization that supports youth leadership in gender equity, disability inclusion, and social justice.
  • Ronald and Hassan will use their small grant to fund ongoing development of DASUNS, a historic online platform that enables Ugandans with disabilities to identify and pay for professional support services that enable them to participate in the community.
  • Small grant funds will also be used to sponsor training and guidance to Ugandan employers and service providers on how to deliver necessary supports and reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.
  • It will also be used to monitor and evaluate public services and propose improvements that can make social programs in Uganda more inclusive.