Australia Awards scholar praises disabled access at the Australian National University

Peter Chemweno is a high-achieving Kenyan Australia Awards scholar who also happens to need a wheelchair to get around. The former Deputy Director of the Directorate of Committee Services at Kenya’s Parliament (the National Assembly) is currently finishing his final-year Masters of Public Administration examination at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Peter has come a very long way in life since he grew up on a farm in the Elgeyo Border Settlement Scheme in Western Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County, 300 km from the capital of Nairobi. 

“I want to use my research into public policy making to improve governance in my country. This is a very important area in Kenya, which needs to be developed further. Leadership, management and good governance are the keys to deliver effective and efficient government and public sector management”, Peter said.

Peter chose to study at the Australian National University because of its international reputation as a leading research university, and said he had gained cutting-edge knowledge in public sector management as a result.

At the Australian National University, he lived on-campus and was impressed by the ease of the working and living environment for people with a disability. “It affords me the peace to study well and be in close proximity to resources like the library. The buildings are also quite accessible for people like me.”

Since he arrived to start his Australia Awards Scholarship in January last year, Peter has also been struck by the natural beauty and friendliness of Canberra.

“Being a person with limited mobility, I was provided with an electric scooter, which enabled me to get around campus more easily. Another thing that has made it easier for me is the high standard of infrastructure in Canberra’s town centre.”

Like many on-Award scholars, Peter has had to live apart from his family and loved ones, and is looking forward to getting home to see them again. Despite missing them, he will return home with valuable new life skills as a result of his on-Award experience. “During this Scholarship, I have learned to be more independent because it is easier to get around. And I have also become quite a good cook!” he says.

Copyright: Australia Awards Global 

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