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Mobile Banking app for deaf customers eases access to banking services in Kenya

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Bankers are developing a mobile application to ease access to services for deaf customers, who study shows are the least satisfied clients due to communication hitches.

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) has partnered with the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSD Kenya) to develop the first of its kind self-training app that will use the Kenya Sign Language (KSL).

The platform will have at least 100 banking terms in sign language and about ten bank-related phrases.

“The app will play a huge role in building capacity among bank staff on Kenyan Sign Language, facilitating enhanced interactions among bank staff and the deaf community,” says KBA chief executive officer Habil Olaka.

The 2020 Banking Industry Persons with Disabilities Accessibility Report by KBA and FSD revealed that both deaf customers and bank staff experienced frustrations due to communication barriers.

The app, to be developed by software engineering firm Deaf eLimu Plus, will also aid the bankers to learn basic KSL to better their interactions with persons with hearing impairments.

Dubbed Deaf eLimu Banking, the app will ease communication and enable the deaf to access banking services, the Deaf eLimu Plus founder Hudson Asiema said.​

FSD Kenya chief executive Tamara Cook said the app will enable financial inclusion for the over 150,000 deaf persons in Kenya, according to 2019 population data.

“These are the clients of banks, and they need to have that kind of access and be treated with the respect that they deserve, but also make sure that they have all the information they need to fully utilise those financial services,” said Ms Cook.​

Samuel Musila
Samuel Musila
Passionate Software Developer and Tech content creator From Nairobi, Kenya

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