The Kenyan government estimates that over 3 million people of its population have a disability which exemplifies the need for Special Olympics Unified Schools. Of these, thousands are school age children with intellectual disabilities, where challenging economic circumstances may result in their social, developmental, education and health care needs being overlooked.
With the support of Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Special Olympics Kenya seeks to expand its Unified Schools program to 100 schools in 20 counties over the next three years. In this expansion, the Program aims to recruit and retain Unified athletes with and without intellectual disabilities by:
- Training coaches in Special Olympics Unified Sports
- Expanding the number of Special Olympics Unified Sports offered
- Increasing the number of Special Olympics Unified Schools
In March 2019, Special Olympics Kenya conducted Unified Sports competitions in football and netball for 40 schools country-wide.
They held one or more Interschool Youth Leadership Forums within 10 schools in Kajiado and Kisumu counties, including those within the ages of 12 to 16 with and without intellectual disabilities. The topic of these forums were "Intellectual Disabilities and Demystifying the Myths."
Special Olympics Kenya also monitored the planning of local school Games. Of the 90 teachers representing 10 counties trained as Unified Sports coaches, 60 teachers demonstrated advanced event management expertise and were utilized in the planning of school games to be held in their respective regions. The Ministry of Education national athletics games were held this year in Kakamega County from 10 – 12 April.
With a steady increase in coordinated sports trainings and competitions, Special Olympics Kenya recruited over 2,000 Unified athletes and partners in the month of March. Additionally, Special Olympics Kenya engaged each of the 40 participating schools for the project in all three components of the Unified Champion Schools model (Inclusive Youth Leadership, Whole School Engagement and Unified Sports).