Kenyan Sign Language (English: KSL, Swahili: LAK) is a sign language used by the deaf community in Kenya and Somalia. It is used by over half of Kenya’s estimated 600,000 deaf population (Wikipedia)
Origin of Kenya Sign
Origin in 1960s with 2 deaf schools in the west; spread during the1970s-80s, with standardization over that time. (Okombo & Akach 1997)
• 46 primary schools, 4 secondary schools, 35 units
(serving 8300+ students) (U.S. Peace Corps Survey 2007)
• Evidence for some (limited) influence of ASL and/or
Signed Exact English in the lexicon (Hochgesang 2007;
Roberts 2009; Morgan, Gilchrist, & Burichani, in prep)
• No more than 20% full cognates with ASL; “not a
creole of ASL.” (Roberts 2009)
• Interactive video dictionary of 991 QuickTime movies.
• Joint project of the KSL Research Project (U. of Nairobi) & U.S.
Peace Corps volunteers (2
Where Can I learn Sign Language in Kenya
1. COFA Institute of Technology in Rongai
Cofa Institute of Technology is found along Magadi Road in Ongata Rongai. It offered introduction to Sign Language, Deaf Community and culture and Figures spelling among other united. They pay 7500 shillings per modules. The entry grade is a D plain and the course length is only 6 months
2. Thika Technical Training College
Thika Technical Training Institute is one of the best tertiary institutions in Thika. The institute is run by the principal and the deputy principle though there are other important personnel like departmental heads and the support staff. This is where you learn basic Sign Language. The course will take 3 . It is associated with the Associated Sign Language Resource Center
3. Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE)
Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) was established in February 1986. It is based in Kasarani at the Roysambu Roundabout. The Institute is run by a council appointed by the Ministry of Education. The institute offers the following programs at both certificate and diploma level:
(a) Consultants in Special Needs Education
(b) Community Based Rehabilitation Officers.
(c) Sign Language Interpreters
(d) Braille Transcribers
The entry grade for this course is a c-
4. Sikri Technical Training Institute for the Blind and Deaf
Sikri is based in Oyugis. Some of the courses offered at the institution are Sign Language is offered by the Rehabilitation and Communication Department in the institution.
More details at Sikri Website
5. Machakos Teachers Training College
Machakos Teachers Training College was started in 1958 purposely to train female students but later male students joined in. It is based in Machakos. Since its inception, the institution has been offering T3, T2, T1 and T1- up-grader teacher training courses. In addition,the college caters for students with special needs like visual,hearing and physical impairment. Sign Language is offered by the Language department.
See also: Difference Between Impairment and Disability
Karen Technical Training Institute for the Deaf is a Public Tertiary Institution under the state Department of Science and Technology that started in 1990 to offer Technical Training to the Deaf Youth in Kenya.
The Institute trains Students mainly at the level of Artisan, Craft and a few in Diploma courses; resulting from the minimal number of Deaf Youth who successfully complete the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the very few who even proceed to the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Level. the Institution offers Sign Language From intermediary, Intermediary and Advanced Level.
Kenya Sign Language Interpreters Association
once you graduate from one of the above Sign Language Schools, you can enroll into Kenya Sign Language Interpreters Association. It was set up by a group of 20 local interpreters after a training by the first Deaf Education US Peace Corps Volunteers in September 2000. Prior to this training there were several short term training conducted by KSLRP/KNAD dating back to 1980s and 1990s. is an indigenous initiative evolving and strengthening the face of the Interpreting profession in Kenya. It hopes to improve and elevate the standards of Interpreting in Kenya
How to learn sign language
- Take a class. …
- Learn online by watching videos. …
- Join a sign language group, deaf club or visit a deaf café …
- Take an online course. …
- Hire a private, qualified sign language tutor. …
- Watch and mimic interpreters. …
- Ask your Deaf friends and family teach you. …
- Use an App. (Hearing Like Me)
Kenya Sign Language Exams
Here are some of the Link to the past papers for the course. Go through this link and check the previous past papers. Exams
also click this Link
See Also: Autism
Why Is It Important to Learn Signs at Early Age?
The benefits of learning the language at an early age are numerous. It is used by:
- hearing children of deaf parents,
- hearing siblings and relatives of the deaf,
- hearing adults who are becoming deaf and are learning ASL from other deaf individuals, and
- a growing population of hearing, second-language students learning ASL in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary classrooms.
Studying this language promotes better awareness of and sensitivity to the deaf and hard of hearing community. As someone proficient, you will develop a strong appreciation for deaf culture, and you can promote understanding and acceptance of the language among others.
3. Career Opportunities from Learning Signs
One especially exciting career path open to bilingual hearing professionals is interpretation. There is a great need to increase the availability of qualified interpreters in the community and mainstream programs in schools and colleges/universities. Some places interpreters are in demand include hospitals, courts, governmental agencies, community activities, and local, county, and state legislatures. (Leading with Language)
Eight interesting facts about Sign Language
1. There are about 600,000 known sign speakers in Kenya — both deaf and hearing. However, since not all of them are registered, there could be many more, using perhaps cruder forms of the language, scattered all over the country.
2. The alphabet in signs is easy to learn. Once you have mastered that, you can finger-spell any name. The same goes for the roman numerals.
3. In America, the Great Plains Indians developed a fairly extensive system of signing, more for intertribal communication than for deaf people, and only vestiges of it remain today. Sign language is now the fourth most-used language in the US and some similarities still exist between Indian sign language and present-day ASL. This means that KSL too might bear similarities to Indian sign language.
4. Deaf History Month is observed from March 13 to April 15 every year, so take some time to learn a sign or two.
5. There are hundreds of sign dialects in use around the world. Each culture has developed its own form of sign language to be compatible with the language spoken in that country. In Kenya, however, because the sign language is basically an adaptation of American sign language, few non-hearing and hearing sign language users can sign in Kiswahili or mother tongue.
A Kenyan sign language dictionary was published in 1991 with the help of the UN Peace Corp Volunteers, who have recently developed an interactive digital dictionary — all you have to do is search for the word and the gesture appears.
6. The Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD) is a national non-governmental organisation formed and managed by deaf people. It was established in 1986 and registered in 1987 under the Societies Act. KNAD is also an ordinary member of the World Federation of the Deaf.
7. There are other organisations that cater for the deaf in Kenya. They include the Kenya Sign language Interpreters Association (KSLIA), Humble Hearts School in Nairobi, Kisii School for the Deaf, and Kenya Christian School for the Deaf, Oyugis, where KSL is the language of instruction.
8. Humble Hearts School is Kenya’s first bilingual sign school where KSL and English are taught on an equal footing. Kedowa School for the Deaf in Kericho District also uses KSL for instruction and is unique among deaf schools in Kenya in that more than half of the teachers at the school are deaf themselves. (Daily Nation