Bella Rodah Kisiangani is the executive director of Affected Community Integrated Initiatives & Services (ACIIS), in Nairobi, Kenya. ACIIS is a group that promotes full inclusion of persons with disabilities, particularly adolescent girls and young women.
As the leader of ACIIS, Bella handles administrative matters and manages the organization’s microfinance programs, which provide small loans that enable women with disabilities to start their own small businesses. ACIIS’s microloans have supported a diverse group of businesses led by individuals with disabilities, including carpentry workshops, shoemaking firms, and grocery stores, among others. Bella maintains ACIIS’s partnerships with finance institutions, the Kenyan government, other NGOs, and the country’s media.
Bella also has ties to Kenya’s national media, including the Daily Nation, the largest newspaper in Kenya, and Radio Jambo, the country’s second biggest radio station. She plans to leverage her connections to both to advance her Fellowship project’s profile and impact.
Bella will engage Kenya’s microfinance institutions and small banks to give small loans to women with disabilities and their families that they can use to set up small businesses, building upon ACIIS’s existing work. She will also train local businesswomen with disabilities to become community leaders and self-advocates who can mentor other women with disabilities to become small entrepreneurs as well. Bella will use her good relations with Kenya’s media to promote the project and will identify ideal participants in collaboration with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), which advises Kenya’s government on disability rights issues.