Mobile banking has seen a surge in usage across the world especially after the effects of the Corona virus, but there are several disadvantaged groups that still lack access to various banking services such the deaf people. While efforts have been made to enable deaf people access different services, banking has always remained a hurdle especially considering various security measures occasioned in the sector. This is about to change after the Kenya Bankers Association partnered with the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSD).
This is a good initiative that will promote inclusivity in the banking sector, which has always been a priority by the government in its efforts to increase access to financial services for all Kenyans. Latest reports indicate that the initiative by the Kenya Bankers Association is going to allow deaf customers access services just as conveniently. The partnership will see the development a first of its kind self-training app based on the Kenya Sign Language (KSL).
At the beginning, the app will include over 100 banking terms in sign language as well as about 10 bank-related phrases. According to the Chief Executive of Kenya Bankers Association Habil Olaka, the app is expected to make a major impact on building capacity among bank staff on the Kenyan Sign Language, thereby enabling promoting interactions between bank staff and the deaf community.
Deaf eLimu Banking app is expected to ease communication within the deaf community while promoting their access to various banking services according to the Deaf eLimu Plus founder Hudson Asiema. According to the 2020 banking industry persons with disability accessibility report, both deaf customers and bank staff reported frustrations due to communication barriers.
Kenya currently has over 150,000 deaf persons who are expected to benefit greatly from the app. And just like other customers, the deaf community also need to access services and treated with respect and dignity.