Elizabeth Shiakamiri | Nairobi, Kenya

Elizabeth works as a program officer for Sense International, a prominent international NGO dedicated to promoting the rights of Deaf-Blind individuals. She helps administer and implement the organization’s activities in Kenya and contributes to projects that provide educational services for children and young adults with deaf-blindness and complex sensory impairment.

Elizabeth manages community-based education projects that train mainstream primary school teachers to provide home-based lessons for children with disabilities. Her projects also help non-inclusive special needs schools transition into becoming Regional Training and Resource Centres, where local teachers can be informed about early intervention techniques and best practices. Elizabeth also is a member of the national Technical Review Committee, tasked with studying and implementing the Kenya Special Needs Education Policy.

Prior to the ADA International Fellowship Program, Elizabeth worked for Kenya’s National Council for Persons with Disabilities, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Handicap International. She has more than a decade of professional experience in the public, nonprofit, and higher education sectors, which she uses to ensure that teachers in Kenya who partner with Sense International have access to critical training and technical support.

As an ADA International Fellow, Elizabeth was interested in learning how to provide inclusive early childhood education services in state primary schools where children without disabilities study. She is keen to embed inclusive practices within education at the community level so that students with disabilities have superior alternatives to non-inclusive special needs schools that are few in number and often far away from home.

For her project, Elizabeth created an early childhood intervention training program for primary school teachers at early childhood development education centers in three counties in Kenya. The teachers participated in training pertaining to a number of topics, including assessment and placement of students with disabilities, as well as strategies for improved resource allocation. The project placed particular emphasis on supporting the early childhood needs of students with deaf-blindness and multi-sensory impairment.

Elizabeth spent her Fellowship at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana under the supervision of Dr. Martin Blair.

To read Elizabeth’s project progress report click here.

Elizabeth learns about Native American culture at a powwow in Montana