Sunday, 20 May 2007

KSLIA - the Journey

KSLIA the journey - Reflections from the April Interpreters Training

Kenya Sign Language Interpreters Association was set up by a group of 20 local interpreters after a training by the first Deaf Education US Peace Corps Volunteers in September of 2000. Prior to this training there were several short term trainings conducted by KSLRP/KNAD dating back to 1980s and 1990s. Several Interpreters were trained in interpretation theories and code of ethics. These core interpreters from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia later replicated that training to their counterparts and it was hoped that these efforts would result in a stronger force of interpreters. Development in the other countries are hard to trace, however, in Kenya those efforts have been translated into an association. Like many countries in the world, interpreters in Kenya are rarely available, usually seen as('unqualified') due to the fact that most are usually friends to the Deaf, family members or teachers of the Deaf and largely there is a deficiency due to the lack of a training program/certification process.

KSLIA is an indigenous initiative evolving and strengthening the face of the Interpreting profession in Kenya. Kenya has a huge interpreter community that is active and isolated. Many Interpreters are working in various settings all over the country with little or no formal Interpreter training. KSLIA is in the forefront advocating for the establishment and sustaining of training programs all over Kenya. KSLIA hopes to improve and elevate the standards of Interpreting in Kenya through the following objectives:

a) To secure official recognition of interpreting profession by the Government, various service providers and the general public

b) Encourage and promote initiatives in improving the standards of interpreting and interpreter training and pay scale of interpreters depending with their level and skills of interpretation through certification.

c) Cooperation with other recognized bodies concerned in the welfare of the deaf and in provision of S.L Interpreters throughout the world.

d) Awareness creation on Deafness and Interpreting through publication of information materials

e) To collect and raise funds for the achievement of goals and objectives through membership fee, subscription, contribution, gifts or donations, commissions and payments, fund raising whether in money or otherwise from both members and non members.

f) To maintain and administer a registry of Interpreters in Kenya, including certification and license maintenance procedures.

g) Enforce a code of ethics and mediate conflict between the Interpreters and their clients.

KSLIA is working towards the establishment of a training program and a certification process for it's membership.

Global Deaf Connection (GDC), Deaf Aid (KRITD project), and KSLIA have set up the second national workshop for KSL/English interpreters in April 2007. This brought together more than 15 Interpreters from all over the country, the workshop's focus was on "Interpreting: Theory into Practice" this workshop was a follow up to the training held in August 2006 in Machakos. Further to this there is the final phase of the training to be conducted in December 2007. These training have been sponsored by GDC through a USAID grant with additional contributions from Deaf AID and KSLIA.

As a result of these trainings and the training needs assessments and feedback received from participants, there is a great need for a fully fledged training program focusing on all aspects of Interpreting from Language training, actual interpreting, various skills needed to the code of ethics. KSLIA will be in the steering wheel to ensure that the views, needs and aspirations of the Kenyan Interpreters are articulated and addressed by future trainings.

KSLIA envisions its role in a three pronged approach - the three C's - Certification of members, Continuing education for the practicing Interpreters and Conflict resolution through enforcement of the Code of Ethics.

Drafted by KSLIA (C) 2007.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

a letter from a HH teacher

Mzee Bubu got this letter from someone who was asked by one of the teachers at Humble Hearts.

Mzee Bubu wants say sorry not 100% full information. Want see 100% truth he agrees.


Dear Mzee Bubu,

I do hope you will publish this as I know you will want to see the truth being exposed and all that.

some teachers at Humble Hearts have got in touch with me about your comments about Humble Hearts. They have said that:

Beatrice is quite good with the children - she is often a teacher to them for almost nothing (no pay etc) and a mother of the children there. Often she is more than a mother to them when their own mothers don't have time for them - a lot of love is given.

She always have the time for deaf people there - she often believe that deaf people's skills come first - that is why Humble Hearts is Kenya's first proper bilingual school where KSL and English are used equally.

With her drive, the School is running quite smooth, following the KCPE/KCSE curriculum.

She have a very good relationships with the teachers - very friendly to them, often being there for them when they need help. If the teacher have problems etc, she is always there for them as a friend.

Her work is professional.

The salary she pays the teacher usually accords to what the school budget is i.e. if lower the budget is, the lower the wages will be - as the School is not funded by the Government yet. Humble Hearts is a private-run school to support the deaf children.

If she go and pay the teachers the higher wage, the children will not have their free meals etc - they would strave and get malnutrition - that is not the proper way of learning things at Humble Hearts. We have to look after our children here and ensure that they will never go hungry or naked when at school.

Of course, it would be lovely if we can have more money but where can we find the money? Beatrice works 24 hours 7 days trying to find more money and it is not easy for everyone here. In fact, when we have staff meetings, we would talk about our lives and our hardship, she would always say that she wish she have the money to pay us well so we can lead a very comfortable life. That applies to deaf and hearing teachers - in fact we are paid much the same.

If we are frustrated and not happy with our wage, we can leave the school by now - but look at us, we are still there - it is because we believe in Beatrice's vision in providing quality education and a loving atmosphere for our children. That is why we are quite satisified with our work cos we enjoy coming into the school and doing our part.

Perhaps you can help us by getting people to donate more money to the School - it is the only school in Kenya where our teachers are fairly knowledgeable on KSL rights, KSL Linguistics etc etc - we do have teachers who often interpret for our children etc - in fact we do have an interpreter-in-training working here as a teacher.

If you can help, help us then :-)


one teacher at Humble Hearts

Monday, 07 May 2007

Rest in Peace, Dr Albert, We Shall Miss Ya

PLANE WRECKAGE UNCOVERED IN CAMEROON. Searchers in southern Cameroon have found the wreckage of a Kenya Airways plane that went missing on Saturday, officials confirmed. The plane, which originated in Ivory Coast, came down after taking off in heavy rain from Douala en route to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The Boeing 737-800 was carrying 114 people from more than 20 countries and was found in mangroves close to the airport in Douala, officials said. An airline spokesman confirmed an American, Dr. Albert Henn, was among passengers.


* the director of Liverpool VCT Services in Kenya.


* Dr Albert made Liverpoolo VCT a positive model of a inclusive and progresive employer by working with the Deaf community by employing Deaf people themselves to run their VCT program.

* Dr Albert gave our 15 deaf people the good jobs at VCT even thought most of them do not have academic qualifications. Dr Albert gave them generous pays which is a positive step forward. He trained them first before employing them.

* He had been working since 2003 (ish)

* over 6,000 deaf have received VCT services. If not for Dr Albert, more and more deaf people will die from HIV/AIDS. He gave a lot of deaf people the hope much needed.

* He did many other things but he gave Kenya's deaf community a strong sense of pride and empowerment by respecting us.

We shall miss you, Dr Albert Henn. May you rest in peace and that your work will be continued. For that we will never forget you. And that there will be a palace awaiting your arrival as you much deserve for your hard efforts.

yours in our Father's hands,

Kenya's Deaf Community