This region boasts of many vibrant organisations such as Ethiopia National Association of the Blind (ENAB), Eritrea National Association of the Blind (ERNAB), Kenya Union of the Blind (KUB), Lizzie Dan La Main of Mauritius, Tanzania League of the Blind (TLB), Uganda National Association of the Blind (UNAB).
This is a region that is home to diverse cultures and languages: French in Madagascar and Mauritius; Arabic in Sudan; Kiswahili and/or English in Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Uganda; and Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia with their widely spoken national languages and very little room for English -a challenge for enhancing networking and experience-sharing between our member organisations in the region.
This is also a region that has realised quite a few policy and political gains, particularly in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Ratification of the Convention, promulgation of disability laws, and enactment of special needs education policies, among other gains.
Many visually impaired persons, who have worked at AFUB or have been trained by AFUB, hold prominent positions in the disability fabric in their countries: Joseph Wallugembe, AFUB Youth Link Person to the Board, is now the country director of the Action on Disability and Development (ADD), Thomas Ongolo of Kenya, former AFUB Executive Director, who is now a key program officer at the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities. Fred Haga of Kenya is the AFUB regional officer for East Africa.
Likewise, women leaders from the region have been active both at AFUB and beyond. DR. Elly Macha from Tanzania served as AFUB Executive Director from 2005 to 2010; Mary Kalimuna from Tanzania, one of the visually impaired MPs in Tanzania, is the AFUB Women's Representative for East Africa; and Frances Candiru, UNAB president, is the first visually impaired woman to be elected WBU Second Vice-President.