The East Africa innovation ecosystem is fast-evolving and the ‘African Silicon Valley’ is becoming a reality in Kenya. At the same time, Assistive Technology (AT) is increasingly needed and scarce within the East African Community.

 
Image of the local partners meeting in Nairobi, Kenya
 

In July 2018, the Government of Kenya (GoK) and the UK Government co-hosted the Global Disability Summit (GDS) in London. GDS was an injection point in global thinking; a call to do things decently to ensure no one is left behind. The Governments were joined by a number of notable private and NGO partners who committed to creating more inclusive schools, work places, communities and environments.

A core part of ensuring inclusion is provision of the AT that people need. Items such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, and eyeglasses are all classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Priority Assistive Products (APL). However, globally, 90% of the one billion people who need AT do not have access. It is a tragedy and leads to millions of unfulfilled dreams.

The UK Government – through the AT2030 Programme – is investing in testing a variety of quick start solutions to understand how we can develop a demand-driven ecosystem for AT which ensures innovations can quickly come to market globally. In time, this work will be taken to scale by AT scale a new global Partnership for AT (https://atscale2030.org/).

AT2030 is investing in developing an East African Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem in Kenya – AT2030 Innovate Now (AT2030 – IN). It will be led by local partners with a track record of delivery feeding into a global consortium. Its focus will be developing African innovation with a global reach. AT2030-IN will develop an inclusive innovation model which works for Kenya, has impact across East Africa, and which can be replicated globally. Our aim is to enable Kenya to be a world leader in AT innovation.

The Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub, alongside a number of notable partners, including: WHO, Clinton Health Access Initiative, UNICEF, Safaricom, Microso , Humanity & Inclusion and Motivation – have developed the following plan to bring this vision to life.