Social Entrepreneur from Kenya Wins Prestigious Global Fellowship
NAIROBI, KENYA - Fredrick Ouko of Nairobi, Kenya, has been selected by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public as a member of its global fellowship of leading social entrepreneurs. Fredrick is creating an equal opportunity and barrier-free society for youth with disabilities, both inside and outside the formal workplace. In doing so, he is unlocking their previously untapped potential within society and challenging the myths surrounding the employability of people with disabilities. To achieve this, the organization he founded—Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY)—is engaged in capacity building as well as advocacy activities at the national and international levels. Its Job Placement and Livelihoods Project, for example, trains disabled youth in skills for work, such as computer skills, entrepreneurship and job searching, as well as helps them to gain direct work experience through work placement. To date, the project has facilitated the employment of more than 30 young disabled people in Government Ministries, institutions and corporate bodies as well as enabled more than 100 to access internship opportunities.
“We believe and strongly uphold the fact that disability rights are human rights,” said Fredrick. “There cannot be development in any country if persons with disabilities are still placed on the periphery of the mainstream development processes.”
In addition to its work in employment, ANDY also has programs that address human rights, health, capacity development, and sports and recreation issues for disabled youth. These programs help them to develop the skills and confidence they need to become active agents of change in their lives and communities. They also aim to remove unfounded fears and discrimination towards people with disabilities, which is still common in Kenyan society.
“We are very encouraged by Fredrick Ouko`s innovative model and we believe that this idea, in Fredrick`s hands, will continue empowering people with disability and changing societies’ perspective toward them,” said Salim Mohamed, Ashoka’s Representative for East Africa.
Fredrick Ouko joins 50 other Ashoka Fellows from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda elected since 2001 and more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows globally.
About Ashoka: Ashoka is the world's leading network of social entrepreneurs – extraordinary changemakers, who find new solutions to social problems; like Muhammad Yunus, who pioneered the microfinance sector. Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, Ashoka supports social entrepreneurs with stipends, professional support and access to its large network of global peers. Ashoka has elected and supported more than 3,000 social entrepreneurs in 70 countries to date. For more information, please visit www.ashoka.org.