Factors determining integration of disability mainstreaming in agricultural extension services in the ministry of agriculture. A case of Machakos County, Kenya
Government Institutions are in the core business of providing essential services to the citizens in Kenya as a matter of necessity and right amidst rising populations of people with disability in rural areas. Previous studies conducted on disability mainstreaming have been mostly done in the developed world which embraced the medical and charity models of disability mainstreaming. However, many studies on disability mainstreaming have not directly considered disability in agriculture. This study therefore sought to assess the extent to which disability mainstreaming is integrated in agricultural extension services offered in Machakos County, Kenya using the social model. A descriptive survey research design was used that relied on both qualitative and quantitative data with a hundred and eight agricultural extension staff being the target population. Primary data was collected using questionnaires and focus group discussions and then analyzed using descriptive statistics to discover themes, patterns, associations, explanations and general statements about the relationships among categories of data. The results of the study indicate that the greatest challenge facing integration of disability mainstreaming in agricultural extension services in Machakos County is low awareness and training on disability which finally results in low attitudinal change among the staff. The extension coordination offices in their current states cannot also adequately provide for essential services to suit the physical needs of people with disability. Information dissemination was established to be largely through use of text based learning materials, thus inhibiting personalized learning and the provision of alternate formats when required by people with disability. The development of appropriate technologies by extension staff was inadequate and so people with disability could not immediately benefit despite their unique varied needs. From the study, it is recommended that the leadership of agricultural extension in Machakos County needs to enhance knowledge and skills of its staff on disability and inclusive development by providing trainings on disability awareness, improving physical environment, packaging and disseminating information in alternative forms and developing simple cost effective agricultural technologies for adoption by persons with disabilities. The study recommends that further research be carried out to assess the determinants of integration of disability mainstreaming in extension services, using the people with disability while applying the human rights based model. It also recommended that further research be carried out to determine other factors affecting research on appropriate technologies for integrating people with disabilities into mainstream society.