Petition on the recognition of the white cane

Petition on the recognition of the white cane

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Open Institute started this petition to National Transport and Safety Authority(NTSA) and

This petition is on behalf of Kenyan Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) for submission to the National Transport and Safety Authority(NTSA), the National Construction Authority (NCA) and the Kenya Roads Board (KRB).  It aims to highlight the concerns of DPOs and persons with vision impairment regarding the recognition and respect of the white cane user on Kenyan roads and in the transport sector in general.

The white cane (also known as a guide cane) is an important mobility tool for blind and visually impaired persons.  It is recognized as a symbol of safety, independence and respect for the inherent dignity for our community. Article 54 on Accessible environments in Kenya’s Disability Act (2003) and article three of the principles enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) speak to these principles. 

The inclusion of accessibility features for white cane users is also in line with the obligations stipulated under Article 9 of the CRPD on accessibility, Article 20 on mobility and the sustainable development goal number 11 on accessible cities and human settlements. 

We are cognizant of a lack of proper regard by motorists and other road users for the role that the white cane represents..

Therefore, in a bid to support and better promote awareness of the needs and challenges faced by white cane users in Kenya, we call for NTSA, NCA and KRB to fully adopt Universal Design (UD) in our transport sector. Universal Design is; ”the design of any building, street, product, service or technology To be accessed, used and understood by the widest spectrum of people possible. No matter their age, size, ability or disability“. We hope that your action on these matters will result in influence in our legislation and ultimately positively impact life for all Kenyans:  

  1. Safe movement is an essential condition for the social participation of all. Because moving safely is a fundamental and inalienable human right, we are greatly concerned about the safety of our cities for blind and vision impaired persons.  The reality of inaccessible transport infrastructure enhances exclusion of persons with vision impairment. We thus advocate to Kenya Roads Board for the development and enforcement of global Universal Design standards across Kenya’s roads.
  2. We call upon NCA to enhance safe and accessible urban spaces that can be accessed and used by white cane users.
  3. We call upon the Kenya Roads Board and National Construction Authority to ensure construction of tactile markers, consistency in working streetlights, sonic traffic lights, drop curbs, safe crossing points, a frequency in clear disabled parking slots and universally designed walkways that facilitate the safe use of a white cane on our roads.
  4. We call upon National Transport and Safety Authority to sensitize and train motorists to yield the right-of-way to every white cane user.
  5. We call upon National Transport and Safety Authority to develop and adopt adequate awareness programmes on the white cane as a form of Non-Motorized Transport NMT) within the national driving training curriculum, to ensure motorists and traffic authorities adhere to Traffic rules.   

As we strive to be a developed society and participate in the modern world, we must think and inclusively work to broaden societal participation to diverse needs of populations in our country.   Apart from being a human right of every citizen to participate in his/her life’s endeavours, inclusion also symbolizes to the world that Kenya is prepared to be counted among the socially astute countries – which is good for business, for tourism, for investment.  

Our advocacy is not just for our good alone.  Our conviction is that a more inclusive, accessible and equal society will lead to better living conditions for us all. We envision a world, a Kenya in which we, blind and vision impaired persons, can participate fully in any aspect of life we choose because we can live up to the same ideals that the rest of the world aspires to – building inclusive, egalitarian societies.  

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!