12TH – 14TH MAY 2022


Deafblind Reality in Africa: Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals – Opportunities and Challenges



We, the participants at the Deafblind International 1st Africa Conference on deafblindness held in Nairobi and online from 12th to 14th May 2022, representing more than 35 countries,

AFFIRMING the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons as enshrined in the charters of the United Nations and the African Union;

RECOGNIZING the rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities as expounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa;

CONCERNED that deafblindness remains an obscure and unrecognized as a distinct and unique disability in many African States;

APPALLED by the continued denial of the rights and freedoms of deafblind persons in Africa, particularly in the areas of health, education and social inclusion;  

AWARE of the challenges faced by families in Africa while bringing up their children who are deafblind; 

CONCERNED, further, of the low level of knowledge, research and evidence on deafblindness in Africa;

RECALLING the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind and to reach those furthest behind first; 

Therefore resolve to:

  1. Strengthen our collaboration in promoting the rights of persons who are deafblind in Africa;
  2. Promote the DBI Africa Network as a platform for sensitization and exchange of information, knowledge and expertise on deafblindness in Africa;
  3. Continue awareness creation, collaboration and exchange of knowledge through the convening of a 2nd DBI Africa Conference within the next four years.

We further call upon:

  • African Governments to:
  1. Institute legislative measures to recognize deafblindness as a unique and distinct disability; 
  2. Strengthen early identification, intervention and referral of children with deafblindness at the community level;
  3. Implement social protection and other programs to ease the burden of care for families of children with deafblindness; 
  4. Design and implement educational and training programs suitable for persons who are deafblind to enable them transition into the world of work;
  5. Ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and other regional and international instruments that promote the rights of persons who are deafblind;
  • Institutions of higher learning in Africa to:
  1. Create opportunities for admission and pursuit of higher education by persons who are deafblind;
  2. Expand teacher training and other specialist programs in the area of deafblindness; 
  3. Promote research, knowledge creation and dissemination in the field of deafblindness;
  • Development agencies and service providers to:
  1. Increase investment in programs for deafblind persons in Africa, with particular focus on countries where deafblind services are furthest behind;
  2. Promote inter-agency and inter-sectoral collaboration in the provision of services to persons who are deafblind;
  3. Undertake action research to enhance the relevance of programs and services for persons who are deafblind; 
  4. Include persons who are deafblind and their families in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs and services.