By Judith Gicobi
If a request put up by people with hearing loss is approved by the Communication Authority, they will be able to use the internet for video calling at a lower cost.
During SIM card registration, telephone providers should offer a category for a handicap, according to the proposal.
Because they do not make voice-only phone calls, those who register as deaf will receive heavily subsidized internet.
“Deaf people normally make video calls instead of the normal voice calls because video allows for signs. But video is extremely expensive,” said Habel Ouma, vice-chairperson of the United Disabled Persons of Kenya, the Nairobi-based umbrella organization that proposed the initiative.
He added: “Sim card registration should have a category for deaf persons so that they can get a waiver when calling other deaf people through videos.”
Ouma spoke in Nairobi during the introduction of Assistallapp, a mobile phone app that connects deaf people with interpreters, by local TV station Signs Media.
According to the Kenya Sign Language Interpreters Association, there are around 500 competent sign language interpreters addressing the needs of over 260,000 persons with hearing difficulties in Kenya.
The majority of interpreters work in cities, and the high expense of their services keeps them out of reach for low-income and rural communities.
The software aims to bridge this gap. It’s a type of mobile taxi service where a deaf person may order an interpreter right away using the app.
Kenya, on the other hand, has one of the world’s most costly data rates, according to speakers.