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 Tuesday, April 01, 2014


The Vive Digital Plan Colombia was awarded at the Office of the United Nations in Vienna, as "one of the 15  Innovative Policy 2014" , in view of their impressive contributions to the disabled population for the Zero Project, an international initiative working for a world without barriers .

Vive Digital, program through which the Ministry of ICT is driving the transformation of the digital ecosystem in the country, was highlighted at an international summit on accessibility.

They stressed about the impact of ConVertic , the software that the Ministry put tfree of charge to more than 1.2 million people with visual and hearing disabilities enabling them to use the computer and surf the Internet . And in 2014 more than 800 centers provide technological tools that promote accessibility.

More than 400 experts in accessibility and disability worldwide extolled the work of MinTIC , for its programs for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Vive Digital Plan of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies was shortlisted as one of 68 innovative policies in Project Zero. Globally the company meets and models that improve the quality of daily life and the legal rights of people with disabilities.

The references provided by the Project Zero said: Respecting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , approval for disability rights , innovation in approach and legal instruments application implementation that delivered measurable and identifiable improvements and easily transferable to other countries.

Recognition also highlighted the achievements of Vive Digital Plan on access to the Internet, and noted that, in contrast to other countries in South America, Colombia makes major investments in information technology .

Similarly, the annual report of Zero Poject , highlighted the commitment and performance of Colombia at work for the rights of people with disabilities.

Under the slogan "No one can enjoy a human right if there is no access to it", the Project Zero has investigated 69 practices and policy solutions that have proven successful in overcoming barriers to access .

The Zero Project

The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2010. Project Zero 's vision is to work for a world without barriers, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) . It does so by investigating Innovative Practices and innovative policies worldwide that help improve the lives of people with disabilities, as well as research in social indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD and the current situation in all countries of the world.

(Source: MinTIC)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 4:26:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), a New York-based charity supporting children and adults with autism, has selected Sprint as the 2014 recipient of the Change Maker Award for its commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities. Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, will accept the honor on behalf of the company at QSAC’s annual gala taking place on Tuesday, June 17, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers (West 26 Street and West Side Highway) in New York.

Each year, QSAC’s Change Maker Award recognizes a company that has made a meaningful commitment to supporting the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Sprint is being honored for delivering innovative accessible solutions that empower individuals with disabilities.

Sprint offers a variety of products and services, including unique, accessibility-themed ID packs for select Android devices that are designed to accommodate various accessibility needs. Sprint’s Accessible Education ID pack, among other services, assists individuals with autism who are working to improve their socialization and communication skills.

Sprint’s efforts to expand access to technology embodies our hope for more tools and resources to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving greater independence, empowering them to contribute more meaningfully to their communities,” said Gary Maffei, executive director of QSAC. “By recognizing Sprint, QSAC hopes to encourage others to actively support Sprint and similar efforts to expand access to technology for children and adults with autism”.

At Sprint, we recognize how making wireless technology more accessible can reduce, and perhaps eventually eliminate, the communication barriers faced by individuals with disabilities,” Hesse said. “We embrace this challenge and we are proud to receive the 2014 Change Maker Award”.

Past recipients of honors from QSAC have included Pfizer and PIMCO. Each year, QSAC’s gala brings together more than 500 people to increase autism awareness while raising funds to support QSAC’s programs and services for the autism community of New York and Long Island.

Additional details regarding the gala are available online at www.qsac.com/gala.

Sprint’s corporate responsibility program, Sprint Good WorksSM, is guided by the principle that doing the right thing is good business. More than a statement, it’s also a belief: Good does indeed workSM. That’s why Sprint is committed to anticipating the needs of customers and making award-winning services accessible to all. By empowering seniors and people with disabilities through accessible technology, Sprint is demonstrating how good technology works as a positive force in society.

For more information, watch the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh813O1yYT0&feature=player_embedded

Further details


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 20, 2014
Companies that address accessibility needs in their IT product development are better positioned to leverage those same assistive technologies to mass market solutions, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that people with disabilities (PWD) are an underserved market segment with one billion people worldwide. They and their immediate friends and family have an annual disposable income of more than $8 trillion.

"People with disabilities make up 15 percent of the world 's population and some of the assistive technology marketed to people with disabilities can also be sold to the other 85 percent of the population that is "situationally disabled" by their environmental conditions, at work and at play", said Andrew Johnson, managing vice president at Gartner. "Every day situational disabilities include listening to a conference call in a noisy airport, or using a mobile phone while driving or while wearing gloves. In many cases, assistive technology features will not only help mitigate common environmental factors, but can be used as the foundation to improve security and enhance privacy for everyone.

"Additionally, businesses that create a workplace environment that is accessible for PWD can realize increased productivity from nondisabled employees. Assistive tools by definition are designed to improve the work environment. Some employers fear that accommodating PWD will result in high accommodation costs, but evidence does not support these fears", Mr. Johnson said.

"Assistive technology" is a term used to describe products and services used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. It includes hardware, software and peripherals that assist PWD in accessing computers or other information technologies, at home and in the workplace. Examples include keyboards with large keys, screen-reader software that reads text on a phone or a computer screen, software that enlarges screen content, and products such as a text telephone.

"The assistive technology market itself is vast, but the potential market size is considerably larger when devices designed as assistive technology can have applications for the mass market", said Mr. Johnson. "Consider the impact that regulations for accessibility in Web technology have had on device features. Text-to-speech recognition not only allows sight-impaired people to listen to the printed word, but also helps solve part of the distracted driving epidemic by delivering audio versions of text messages. Similarly, optical character recognition that began with creating devices for the blind, but has expanded into applications such as license plate recognition used by law enforcement".

Mr. Johnson said that the size of the PWD market segment will increase in the coming years, partially as a result of global aging. By 2050, 30 percent of the population of 64 countries will be more than 60 years old, an age where a greater percentage of people have disabilities. As the numbers of PWD increase, so does the market opportunity.

Gartner has identified three basic approaches to the PWD market:

1. Customized solutions narrowly targeted to specific PWD types
Companies using this approach are usually smaller, have dedicated product development efforts and use resellers that focus on the PWD market. Assistive technology is their core business that might limit opportunities to the larger market but allows them to achieve their organizational goal of innovating for the PWD market.
2. Mass-market solutions positioned with side benefits to PWD
Companies using this approach are usually larger, leverage existing features, tweak messaging and use mass-market channels to appeal to disabled individuals and their family and support network. They do not create products for PWD; rather, they embed accessibility features into their products.
3. Line extensions with redesigned products for PWD
The line extension strategy is a hybrid approach where a mass-market product is modified to PWD.
While the approaches to accessibility may be varied, the trend toward IT consumption patterns that place users at the center will continue to drive consumer and enterprise IT requirements for the foreseeable future. With the trend toward more human-centric design, accessibility and overall usability for the largest percentage will become more important.

"Regardless of the go-to-market approach, the marketing organization needs a keen understanding of the PWD market and related government regulations", said Mr. Johnson. "Suppliers should designate a leadership position, such as a chief accessibility officer, to take the lead in educating the organization and customers on assistive technology. First step should be to evaluate your company's intellectual property and product portfolios to assess how they can be leveraged to the PWD market. Consider various business approaches ranging from licensing, manufacturing, partnerships and branded offerings".

More detailed analysis is available in the report "Market Trends: New Technologies Benefit Employees and People With Disabilities”. The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2593617?ref=QuickSearch&sthkw=disabilities%20AND%20technologies.

(Source: Gartner Newsroom)

Monday, January 20, 2014 9:14:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 09, 2013

New subtitling service makes FMQs more accessible.
 
A new service aimed at making First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) more accessible is now available on the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. From today, subtitles will be available on the video archive of FMQs footage to improve accessibility and allow a wider audience to watch questions being put to the First Minister the same afternoon it is broadcast.

Running for an initial trial period, the new service will use the text from the Official Report and will be available on Thursday afternoon after First Ministers Question Time takes places and usually by 4.30 pm.

Speaking about the new service, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body member David Stewart MSP said: “Openness and accessibility have always been at the heart of the work of the Scottish Parliament. I am delighted to announce that we will be trialling this new service as a way of bringing First Minister’s Question Time to as wide an audience as possible. Being able to see subtitled archived coverage so quickly is a significant step forward”.

The new service is the latest addition to the range of services available to those wishing to engage in Parliamentary business. These include providing information about the Scottish Parliament and its work in a range of different formats including Braille, audio, large print and British Sign Language.

In addition, where visitors are attending parliamentary business or going on a guided tour, BSL / English interpreters are available if booked in advance through Visitor Services.

People wishing to use the new service can go the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. The archived video of FMQs will now include the option to add captions.
The initial trial will run until the end of December 2014.

(Source: The Edinburgh Reporter)

Monday, December 09, 2013 2:39:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 06, 2013
UK open IPTV platform YouView has released the second in a series of updates designed to deliver better accessibility for blind and partially sighted customers as well as those with motor skill and cognitive impairment, to improve the journey for this audience to find their favourite TV.

YouView
has improved the zoom functionality which now allows visually impaired users to zoom into and navigate the programme guide and select or record programmes. YouView describes this improved zoom functionality as market-leading in the UK, advising that it works with all aspects of the programme guide.

Other updates include the option of navigating the YouView programme guide using any USB connected UK keyboard or ‘Monster 2’ and ‘Clevy’ accessible keyboards, suitable for those people who struggle to hold a remote control or hold down two keys at once. Maps for these controllers are available at youview.com.

YouView has also developed series of ‘Grid Set’ navigation screens for the ‘Grid 2’ software computer programme, which allows severely disabled users to navigate the YouView programme guide with the press of just one button. Specialist software ‘Grid 2’ is designed to enable the use of computers and similar devices for this user group and is compatible with a variety of different input devices including switches and head-pointers. A computer running ‘Grid 2’ software can be connected to a YouView set-top box via an ‘IR blaster’ (infrared transmitter) which emulates the same signals as a remote control.

These updates follow an earlier accessibility release which included the option to change the iconic blue and black YouView programme guide to high contrast black and white, enabling visually impaired users to read the text more easily. Additionally, the mini screen available in the top right hand corner of the programme guide also now has the option to be switched off, offering easier navigation for customers with cognitive disorders and making navigation less distracting.

The free YouView app for iOS and Android mobile devices now also offers text-to-speech navigation of the programme guide so visually impaired users can find more information about TV programmes and remote record single programmes or a complete series. A high contrast version of the YouView app is also available. Further accessibility updates to the YouView app will be added in due course.

Susie Buckridge, Director of Product at YouView, said the platform’s goal had always been to ensure it was the easiest way for all of its customers in the UK to find the TV they love. “We hope these accessibility updates will give a wider range of customers the means to discover great TV and radio, by providing the tools to make our user interface and mobile applications easy to navigate. We are particularly pleased with the new zoom function which is a UK first and will give visually impaired users a much clearer user journey”.

The update will initially only be available on YouView set-top boxes purchased at retail and will be issued via a staggered roll-out over the coming weeks. Customers with YouView from BT or TalkTalk will receive accessibility updates early in 2014.

(Source: advanced-television)

Friday, December 06, 2013 5:37:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO supported McCam Child Care & Development Centre to organize the first ICT for Special Needs Education Training Workshop from 11 to 12 November 2013 in Kingston, Jamaica. The event aimed at building capacities of educators in the use of available and emerging ICT, and their integrating into learning and teaching environment of students with the special needs.



Based on training-of-trainers format, the workshop was designed to produce master trainers, who would be able to train others and begin the change in pedagogical teaching practices. Twenty-four participants, mostly teachers and NGO workers from various disability groups including the deaf, blind and intellectually disabled, travelled to Kingston from as far as Westmoreland to participate in the workshop. They now have the challenging task of bringing a change in teaching and learning through ICT to their respective institutions and organizations.

Hara Padhy, Information and Communication Advisor from UNESCO’s Office in Kingston, presented new and emerging ICT tools, terminologies, policies and activities that had already influenced special education and would continue to do so. Melody Williams, educational technologist, presented new skills which would allow for the development of ICT resources, greatly needed in special education.

UNESCO is working to build inclusive knowledge societies, where persons with disabilities must be included at all levels, which can be achieved with the help of new technologies. Assistive technologies, especially those with personalized disability-friendly features, can improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by providing better access to information and knowledge, to education and healthcare, as well as to employment. UNESCO initiated this first activity of its kind in Jamaica and hopes to replicate it in other countries of Caribbean building on the Jamaican experience in the next biennium.

Today, more than one billion people live with some form of disability in the world. Jamaica is reported to have more than 160,000 persons with some forms of disabilities.

Download here the Vision 2030 Jamaica, Persons with Disabilities - sector plan 2009-2030.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:52:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
15 per cent of the world’s population lives with a disability. This represent about 1 billion people globally. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, satellites or the Internet, are a unique infrastructure that expand access to key public services, promoting digital inclusion. Throughout the world, persons living with disabilities are already benefitting the advantages of ICT-enabled applications.

But more needs to be done. To extend the benefits of ICTs to all, ICTs have to be made accessible to persons living with disabilities, so these technologies constitute an opportunity and not a barrier. Get involved in ITU activities to make ICT accessible to persons living with disabilities and to achieving equitable communications for everyone.

The commemoration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability and accessibility as a cross cutting development issue and further the global efforts to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers, and to realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all!

Also, a new report released on September 2013 demonstrates how ICTs, have become a positive force of transformation and a crucial element of any personal development, empowerment and institutional framework for inclusive development. “The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework” contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which ICTs can enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and a set of indicators to help measuring progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

Download the report "The ICT Opportunity for a Disability_Inclusive Development Framework"



Find out more about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

​(Source: ITU)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:47:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 28, 2013


ITU has recently adopted two new policies to mainstream gender equality and improve the accessibility of ITU services for persons with disabilities. Both policies were adopted by the ITU Council at its 2013 session.

The adoption of these policies represents an important step forward for the Union and builds on past ITU initiatives set in place with the leadership and support of the Membership.

As they call for more equitable, gender balanced and accessible ICT environment, ITU believes that they should lead by example in these domains and that they should strengthen the capacity of the ITU Secretariat to support Membership on these important issues.

ITU welcomes and encourages ITU Memberships to engage with them in this endeavor and it seeks support in the following areas:

- Contributing in kind (expert/training materials, etc).

- Sharing best practices and innovative ideas on how to put these policies into action.

- Ensuring that policy and program discussions within ITU governing bodies do include a gender and accessibility perspective.

- Improving gender balance in delegations and related committee work and providing equal opportunity to male and female candidatures for elected official posts and for membership of Radio regulations Boards.

- Supporting specific activities of the Action Plans under development through voluntary contributions of the ITU gender equality and mainstreaming policy trust fund as well as to the ITU Accessibility Fund.

Kindly refer to the following attachment for further information: Adoption of New ITU Policies on GEM and Accessibility.

Further information

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:01:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 01, 2013
The FCC's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative is pleased to commemorate October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

In recent years and on a global scale, the spread of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has been dramatic. A driving force behind this has been the revolution in mobile apps. Hundreds of thousands of apps have been developed for various mobile platforms, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia, and Windows Phone. From a disability perspective, apps may be subdivided into the categories of accessible apps and assistive apps.

For the disability community, there are two vital kinds of apps: accessible and assistive. An accessible app is designed according to accessibility guidelines for user interfaces so that people with a range of physical or mental capabilities can operate the software successfully, such as people with visual, hearing, dexterity, or cognitive disabilities. An accessible app generally has a mainstream rather than disability-specific purpose. It benefits a broad user base in the accomplishment of human tasks that are commonly pursued.

An assistive app, on the other hand, helps people with particular impairments surmount what might otherwise be experienced as limiting consequences of a disability, (e.g., identifying paper currency to a blind person, facilitating direct sign language communication for a deaf person, inputting text from dictation by someone with a dexterity impairment, or giving reminders to someone with a cognitive disability). Naturally, an assistive app also has to be an accessible app to those who particularly benefit from it.
Mobile apps — both accessible and assistive — are showing great potential for improving the lives of people with disabilities. This is partly because of two other technological trends that enable mobile functionality: cloud computing and broadband connectivity. The convergence of these technologies means that an app can solve complex problems almost instantaneously by quickly delegating the analysis to a specialized computer at a distant location and then returning the result to the user, who is often unaware of what is being done locally or in the cloud. The portability of the mobile device means that a person with a disability can carry a powerful, supportive problem-solving device wherever he or she goes -- at home, at play, or at work.

Raising the level of mobile accessibility tends to raise the level of disability employment. Apps are continually being developed to improve productivity in almost every profession. Many are completely free while most others cost only a nominal amount. Each mobile platform usually makes it easy to search for and install apps from an online store. Commercial apps typically offer a trial version so that evaluating accessibility is possible in advance.

As we close out National Disability Month, here are some related resources:
- The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy promotes National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
- The FCC's Accessibility Clearinghouse contains extensive data on accessibility features of mobile phones and on free, assistive apps.
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates accessibility of information and communication technologies that are produced or purchased by the federal government, including mobile technologies.
- The federal government offers a gallery of free mobile apps produced by various agencies.
- Federal agencies also contribute to a catalog of mobile code snippets and developer tools so that useful apps may be produced more easily.
- The World Wide Web Consortium has published best practices for the design of websites intended to be browsed on mobile devices.
- CTIA has collected links to accessibility guidelines for app developers targeting various mobile platforms.

(Source: Official FCC Blog)

Friday, November 01, 2013 4:04:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The link between disability and poverty is, in the words of the World Bank, “strong, and goes in both directions”. Many people with disabilities struggle to survive every day in the wake of conflicts and wars, which swell their numbers. This exacerbates the delivery of basic services hitting the disabled, especially women, even harder. Stigma and exclusion from education often prevail. Thus simply accessing the fundamental right to education becomes precarious.

Yet educating a child with learning disabilities is a sound, long-term investment. Not only does education reduce welfare costs and reliance on household members, it also minimises discrimination and alleviates poverty in the process.

According to estimates by the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2007, most disabled children in Africa do not go to school at all. Currently 72 million children of primary school age worldwide are not in school. And of those, one third suffers from disabilities.

In view of the data, achieving the EFA Targets and MDGs by 2015 may yet prove impossible unless access and the quality of education improve: and eLearning may well hold the answer. Online learning for the disabled has to become user-friendly and take their individual needs into account, whether that means giving the blind more time to use assistive technology or ensuring that audio files for the hearing-impaired are accompanied by transcripts and captions.

Crucial assistive technology in education ranges from low-tech options such as reading stands to high-cost computer technology such as Braille display. Although text-to-speech software has vastly improved opportunities for those with disabilities to engage with ICTs, the real deal comes in the shape of hardware complete with loudspeakers, a Braille keyboard and screen-reader software which converts all text on a screen to audio output. Similar programmes transcribe content onto Refreshable Braille displays.

However, all these assistive technologies come at a cost. Usually, the combined average cost comes to around 9,000 euros. Even with a state allowance, footing such a bill is no mean feat for anyone – disabled or otherwise – living on an average salary. Fortunately, several projects are underway to find affordable solutions.

Thus the question arises: how are educational institutions in Africa faring?

A three-year research scheme piloted by Kenyatta University in 2007 saw the Dolphin Pen project target 200 students in secondary and tertiary education. Conceptualized by the international charity Sightsavers, this Dolphin pen is a lightweight USB drive containing screen reading and magnification software, now available at cost price for organisations working with the blind in Africa and India.

Governments are also doing their part. Last year Malawi, a country in which less than half of 15 – 29-year-olds with disabilities ever go to school, and only 28% find work, passed the Disability Act, thereby guaranteeing the right to non-discrimination in education and employment. The impact remains to be seen.

In June of this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization said that it will negotiate an international copyright treaty to improve access to books for the blind. IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel said: “Together with libraries for the visually impaired, online booksellers and the vendors of smart phones and e-book readers, publishers are producing more and more books in the formats that visually impaired people (VIP) need”.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:49:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 10, 2013
The Union Cabinet today approved the National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility that recognizes the need to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disabilities as well as to facilitate equal access to electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

This policy has been prepared after incorporating comments and suggestions from various stakeholders, an official press release said.

The policy will facilitate equal and unhindered access to electronics and ICT products and services by differently abled persons (both physically and mentally challenged) and to facilitate local language support for the same.

This shall be achieved through universal access to electronics and ICT products and services to synchronize with barrier free environment and preferably usable without adaptation. Differently abled persons all over the country will benefit from this policy, the release said.

According to it, the following strategies are envisaged for the implementation of the policy:

• Creating awareness on universal electronics accessibility and universal design.
• Capacity building and infrastructure development.
• Setting up of model electronics and ICTs centres for providing training and demonstration to special educators and physically as well as mentally challenged persons.
• Conducting research and development, use of innovation, ideas, technology etc. whether indigenous or outsourced from abroad.
• Developing programme and schemes with greater emphasis for differently abled women/children.
• Developing procurement guidelines for electronics and ICTs for accessibility and assistive needs.

India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007 which, among other things, says that "State Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities, access on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including ICTs and systems and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public".

Many countries who are signatories to UNCRPD have legislation policy or a framework to ensure equality for those with disability.

Electronics and ICTs are key enablers in mitigating barriers faced by differently abled persons and in helping them to provide better opportunities for livelihood, the release added.

(Source: NetIndian)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:01:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 07, 2013


After success in Workshop on ASEAN Community e-Classroom that hold during 10-12 July 2013. Ministry of Information and Communication Technology of Thailand has a strong intention to push this project forward by held “Training of ASEAN Community e-Classroom” in 4-8 November 2013.

This training has main objective to teach all group leaders to use ASEAN Community e-Classroom (www.asean-eclass.org) to develop their knowledge and use this e-Class to expend knowledge to all kind of people especially people with disability, women and elderly.

(Source: Asean- eclass)

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:26:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 27, 2013
A new report released today demonstrates how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), have become a positive force of transformation and a crucial element of any personal development, empowerment and institutional framework for inclusive development.

While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent a concerted effort to address global poverty, there is a striking gap in the current MDGs and their inclusion of persons with disabilities. The estimated 1 billion persons with disabilities are still excluded from equitable access to resources (education, healthcare, etc.) and as a result persons with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of poverty. In spite of the conclusion of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, disability remains largely invisible in most mainstream development processes.

The High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD) of the sixty eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly, taking place in New York, provides a historic opportunity to rectify this omission and will discuss the issues that should be reflected in the post-2015 framework for development.

“The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework” contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which ICTs can enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and a set of indicators to help measure progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

This report is the result of collaborative input from the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ICT), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Microsoft, the Telecentre.org Foundation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Launching the report, Secretary General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, said “The use of information and communication technologies should be at the heart of any strategy to promote the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. We have the tools at our hands; the remaining challenge is to expand access to these technologies to all and to make ICTs accessible and affordable for persons with disabilities”.

The content is based on feedback from a global consultation on ICT, Disability and Development, carried out from 20 May to 17 June 2013 in support of the preparatory process of the HLMDD. The consultation gathered over 150 expert inputs from relevant organizations and key individuals from over 55 countries and representing multiple stakeholders, including governments, academic institutions, organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society organizations, private sector and regional and international organizations.

The report highlights that when ICT are available, affordable and accessible, they can significantly improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society.

- Web services constitute the access technology with the greatest impact in promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of development (e.g. social networking, teleworking, online educational classes, telemedicine).

- Mobile devices and services constituted the second-most valued ICT. In particular, the use of mobile phones is instrumental to enable independent living of persons with disabilities (e.g. SMS, captioned telephone, mobile banking services, and access to emergency services).

-Television is the third-ranked ICT in the assessment, specifically for its use as a tool to access government services and information (e.g. news broadcasts, information and education programmes).

Regarding the challenges to overcome, some barriers are universal while others affect specific areas of development.

- The cost of assistive technologies, which is comprised of the cost of the technology as well as the cost of assistive technology assessment, training and support services, is still one of the main barriers that prevents many persons with disabilities to fully access healthcare services, benefit all educational levels, be competitive in the labour market and to live independently.

- A lack of access to ICT accessibility technologies is a pervasive barrier that is further reinforced by the lack of policies which foster widespread availability of accessible ICTs and the lack of effective policy implementation.

- Limited availability and use of ICT in general greatly constrains the use of ICT as a solution to tackling development challenges.

Addressing these barriers requires the collaboration of the main stakeholders involved in each sector, as well as concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and relevant indicators to monitor progress.

- Governments can play a key role in stimulating the introduction of ICT-enabled solutions adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities, increasing the availability of accessible ICTs and promoting the affordability of assistive technologies in social, educational, economic and other domains. One priority action is the inclusion of accessibility requirements in procurement policies. In addition, governments can foster a greater awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a comprehensive and integral instrument which highlights the importance of ICTs and accessibility for the enjoyment of one’s human rights and fundamental freedoms. This entails updating disability legislation to include ICTs in the legal definition of accessibility. Through regular consultation with organizations of persons with disabilities, they can improve the provision and quality of accessible ICT.

- Private sector entities can contribute by increasing research and development efforts, incorporating universal design principles at the earliest stage possible and recruit persons with disabilities in product development departments to develop accessible ICTs. Another priority action is to address the shortage of IT professionals with ICT accessibility skills (in-house training, industry gatherings and publications). The private sector can further remove attitudinal barriers towards hiring persons with disabilities and promote accessible and inclusive workplaces. Through these contributions, employers can greatly contribute to a society where persons with disabilities can participate in work life, and have increased independence.

- Civil society organizations have a key role in raising policymakers’ awareness of the remaining accessibility barriers, becoming more active in the work conducted by international standards organizations. Furthermore, they also have the ability to bring about social progress and economic growth by raising the awareness and building the capacity of persons with disabilities and their relatives in using ICT to facilitate their own economic and social inclusion. Finally, advocating for the mainstreaming of the use of the universal design principle in all development efforts is crucial for ensuring that the international development framework is disability-inclusive.

- The UN system and other international organizations must implement operational activities to meet disability-inclusive development goals, complemented by the monitoring and evaluation of development efforts at the global, regional and national levels. Also necessary are performance reviews to assess whether development policies, programmes and projects are effective and results-driven. It is imperative to ensure that this analysis is quantitative and supported by consistent data, and that such analysis is designed with the participation of persons with disabilities, in order to make sure that the correct factors are measured. Lastly, the UN must ensure that it keeps implementing awareness-raising activities and mobilization campaigns in order to create a demand for national governmental action.

- International standards organizations can also play a special role in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda by providing a neutral platform from which to develop and/or harmonize international standards and provide recommendations related to accessible ICTs. To achieve this, standards development bodies must facilitate the participation of relevant experts and delegates with disabilities. Furthermore, these organizations can contribute to the promotion of R&D focused on developing specific ICT-enabled solutions for persons with disabilities. International standards organizations must also raise policy makers’ awareness of accessibility barriers to be addressed.

The report is released during the High-Level side-event to the HLMDD “The UN delivering as one in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”, taking place today, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Download the full version of the new report here.

For more information on ITU, visit: http://www.itu.int/accessibility

Follow ITU on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ITU/103018419782973

Follow ITU on Twitter: https://twitter.com/itu

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:01:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 12, 2013
Equality and non-discrimination constitute a basic and general principle relating to the protection of human rights of all persons. It is an indivisible part of international human rights law, binding on all member states of the United Nations, founded on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Despite this fact, discrimination of persons with disabilities remains a daily reality in most countries that are members of the United Nations and have signed the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which range from more visible forms such as segregated education and denial of employment opportunities to more acts of discrimination against disabled citizens such as imposition of physical, psychological and social barriers resulting in social exclusion of persons with disabilities.

Over the past 10 years, protecting the rights of disabled people all over the world has been placed number one priority and objective by promoting new disability legislation more especially in countries which are signatory to the international treaty both in specific policy fields and under a global approach of treating disability as a human rights issue.

For Africa, the African Union (AU) is repositioning the disability forum in a more comprehensive African legislation that will prohibit all forms of discrimination on grounds of disability and provide effective and dissuasive remedies to discrimination within member states and ensure that African rehabilitation institutions become effective in addressing disability matters.

The focus is more on information provision to society, which is an eye opener, but also looks at potential new barriers for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Considering the fact that we are in a world of information and communication technologies (ICTs), persons with disabilities should be part of new development. As the world is offering these new opportunities to everyone, it is more significant for persons with disabilities, as they use technological assistance for daily activities to a higher extent than people in general.

With technological equipment adapted to the abilities of everyone, disabled end-users would be able to participate in all aspects of social life on more equal terms than ever before.

(Source: All Africa news)

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:41:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 02, 2013


The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology launched the pilot trial of its ASEAN Community e-Classroom project, an initiative under the ASEAN ICT Master plan 2015, which aims harness the ICT skills of people with disabilities.

The ASEAN Community e-Classroom is a virtual classroom featuring several ICT courses aimed at making sure that people with disabilities – whether blind, deaf and mobility impaired — is equipped with the necessary ICT skills to be part of a competitive ASEAN ICT workforce.

Users can simply create an account and choose their desired learning track from the eight course categories which include the following: Smart ASEAN Citizen, Smart ASEAN for the Youth, Smart ASEAN for Women, Smart ASEAN aged citizen, Smart ASEAN with physical disabilities, Smart ASEAN blind, Smart ASEAN deaf, and Learning disabilities guardian.

With the goal of the free movement of labour by 2015, ASEAN hopes that its pool of skilled professionals are equipped with the skill sets needed to facilitate a true regional labour integration - one that results to the development of competitive and productive enterprises, better lives for the people and socio-economic growth.  

(Source: FutureGov)

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:03:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 26, 2013


An Indian technology firm, BarrierBreak, is adapting Western-designed technology that magnifies and reads aloud documents to assist visually impaired people, it was reported.
A Microsoft India spokeswoman said in the article that anti-discrimination laws are a key reason why disability-accessible products are available in developed countries. But this fact increasingly applies to developing countries too.

The key factor driving this change is Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006. It states that all governments that have ratified the convention will "take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others ... [to] information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems".

Furthermore, governments should "promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet … and promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost".

So far, 132 countries have ratified the convention — approximately two-thirds of which are developing nations. Thus anti-discrimination issues are now applicable to numerous developing countries.

Many of these are working to embed the convention's articles into national legislation and policies. In 2011, Sierra Leone became an African pioneer when its government passed the Persons with Disability Act. This outlines specific rights for full access by disabled people to the same services and information, including education, health and employment, as non-disabled people. The Cambodian government passed the Disability Bill in 2009, in anticipation of it ratifying the convention, which it did last year.
However, the next challenge is to implement this raft of ratifications and anti-discrimination laws effectively. The main reason often cited for a lack of implementation is inadequate resource allocation. But this is generally linked to insufficient political will.

Huge energy and effort have been exerted by civil society in particular to get convention ratifications and follow-on national laws onto the statute books. Disability movements around the world have often been behind the push towards ratification — and umbrella bodies such as the International Disability Alliance have helped coordinate and document their progress.

Disability movements are continuing to mobilize in many countries to lobby their governments on this — the process of complying with the convention offers opportunities to continue to press governments to move beyond legal commitments to action.

But the lack of locally adapted technology also hinders implementation, as shown by the BarrierBreak example: although the screen-reader technology includes 30 languages, none of them are native to India.

As new technologies come to market, they will increasingly need to ensure their full compliance with local disability accessibility laws.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:20:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 18, 2013
A device for people with visual impairments that scans documents such as newspapers and magazines and reads them aloud has been launched in India.
ClearView+ Speech, which was developed by Netherlands-based firm Optelec, will be marketed across the country by BarrierBreak Technologies, an Indian accessibility and assistive technology firm.

The device is a desktop video magnifier that scans printed material, displays it enlarged on its screen and uses optical character recognition to read it out. The user can select the portion of text they wish to have read aloud using the touch screen.

According to Shilpi Kapoor, BarrierBreak's founder director, the device can read aloud in 30 languages although, currently, none of these are native. However, it has an option for reading an English text in an Indian accent.

The device was launched in Mumbai in April. Kapoor says her company collaborates with international assistive technology providers to make their products accessible to Indian users. "We specialize in assistive technology", she tells SciDev.Net. "But instead of designing our own devices and reinventing the wheel, we thought it was better to become a channel for what is available across the world".  She says that computer and mobile phone technologies have become "enormous enablers".
"For a blind and deaf person, communication is the biggest challenge. If you give them a mobile phone with a Braille displayer, their whole life changes. They find that they can send and receive messages", says Kapoor.

BarrierBreak also works with Dolphin Computer Access. Two of this UK firm's most popular products are SaySo, a computer toolbar for dyslexic people, people with learning difficulties and the visually impaired that can read out portions of a document or read out text as a user types it, and SuperNova, which consists of a screen magnifier, full screen reader and Braille keyboard to help visually impaired people use computers and access the Internet.

One challenge with improving access to technology for people with disabilities is ensuring that the tools developed can be configured with the mobile phones and computers that people use. This is where companies such as Microsoft and Apple come in, says Kapoor.

Further details

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:07:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 20, 2013
In the developed countries, it is taken for granted that there is universal access for the disabled and physically challenged person, but not so in developing countries, so it was hailed as historic when the Medical Council of India (MCI) recently asked all medical institutions in India to be disabled-friendly and submit a compliance report as soon as possible.

Accessibility of health care facilities to persons with disabilities is abysmally low in India because of architectural barriers, lack of ICT facilities and attitudinal barriers. Even medical students, paramedics, non-teaching employees and faculty with disabilities face numerous barriers in medical institutions. This should change if there is early and proper implementation of the MCI-issued directive to the deans and principals of all the medical colleges and institutions in India to promptly submit a compliance report on accessible institutions to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Welcoming the directive, disability activist Satendra Singh, a medical specialist at University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) in Delhi who is himself disabled, said, “This is a significant move, as medical institutions are made more accountable, which is in line with Sec 46 of PWD Act 1995 and article 9 of the International law UNCRPD, which makes it obligatory for India to implement reasonable accommodation. This is not something only for disabled because a universally designed ramp or toilet will help all, be it disabled, elderly person, or pregnant female".

Singh had relentlessly advocated to the chief commissioner for persons with disabilities (CCPD) to pass directions to MCI to make access audits mandatory in all medical inspections; to include persons with disabilities in all disability matters; and to de-recognize all such colleges which fail accessibility standards. The CCPD, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is the highest apex body in India, with the power of a civil court and pan-India jurisdiction.
"To me this should have been done long ago and without anybody fighting for it. What Dr. Satendra Singh is doing is not only praiseworthy and commendable but also a path-breaking move in the establishment of universal design", said Abha Khetrapal, counselor for the students with disabilities at the University College of Medical Sciences, (UCMS) and GTB Hospital in Delhi.

Singh is the coordinator of the Enabling Unit, which he created under the UGC (University Grants Commission) guidelines for ensuring affirmative actions concerning persons with disabilities. This is the only such body in any medical school in India. Singh also formed an Equality and Diversity Committee, which has student, non-teaching staff and faculty members and all are persons with disabilities, in line with the mantra "Nothing for us, without us".

(Source: India America Today)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:59:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 14, 2013
Huawei South Africa has partnered with Khulisani to launch a mobile Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Training Centre Project to provide computer skills training to schools for underprivileged, disabled children, in the South of Johannesburg.

“Huawei South Africa is committed to contributing towards the reduction of unemployment and the alleviation of poverty, through supporting skills development and training initiatives. Whilst our focus is on improving the resources of schools and education in the rural and semi-rural areas, we also invest in special needs schools which are often marginalized due to limited resources”, says Liu Wenjun (Wilson), CEO of Huawei South Africa.

Areas where the mobile ICT Centre will be active in are Meyerton, Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark, Sasolburg and the surrounding low income residential areas and informal settlements in the South of Johannesburg. The five special needs schools that will benefit from the project will be J.N.S school for children with Cerebral palsy, EUREKA school for mentally disabled, Handhawer School, Sebokeng Technical High school and Thabavuyo School.

Wilson adds, “Statistics show that five percent of the South African population lives with disabilities and that various factors such as poverty, unemployment, insufficient training and education are the most common stumbling blocks for them. In order to overcome this barrier Huawei made the decision to launch a pilot project in partnership with Khulisani, an enterprise development company that focuses on the ongoing upliftment of individuals with disabilities. Together with Khulisani, Huawei has invested in constructing a Mobile ICT Training Centre which supports computer skills training and in the process supports employment of individuals with disabilities. We conducted research into their needs and customized the training accordingly, in order to accommodate the different disabilities which the pupils experience, ensuring a positive outcome for the project”.

The objectives of the ICT Centre are to provide a firm foundation in terms of computer literacy, focusing specifically on basic desktop training, MS Office Suite and internet access. E-learning initiatives have been introduced and two individuals have been trained and are being developed with the knowledge, skills and experience to provide computer literacy training and e-learning.

“Huawei South Africa fully supports the South African Government’s aim to integrate people with disabilities into mainstream society. Huawei aims to make a positive difference by implementing various projects like the Mobile ICT Centre which builds towards a better future and economy for all South Africans”, concludes Wilson.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:52:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
On Monday 23 September 2013, the UN General Assembly will hold a meeting in New York (USA) at the level of Heads of States to define the future global roadmap to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all development efforts. The meeting will have the overarching theme “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda”.

To contribute to a successful outcome the Broadband Commission, G3ICT, the International Disability Alliance, ITU, Microsoft, Telecentre.org Foundation and UNESCO have launched a global consultation to capture the recommendations from all stakeholders on the contribution of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), - such as websites, mobile, radio and TV - to achieve the autonomous participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. Be part of this initiative and contribute to reaching an inclusive development agenda with ICTs!



Further information

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:35:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 30, 2013
Computers are essential tools in all academic studies. They can enhance the independence, productivity, and capabilities of people with disabilities.

Furthermore, computers can benefit people with low vision, blindness, speech and hearing impairments, learning disabilities, mobility, and health impairments.
Each of these impairments poses challenges to accessing and using a standard computer and electronic resources. For example, a student who is visually disabled is unable to read a computer screen display or standard printouts.

A student with a spinal cord injury may not have the motor control and finger dexterity required to use a standard mouse and keyboard.
Accordingly, African governments should prioritize adaptive technology devices since they are necessary for people living with disabilities. Adaptive hardware and software can facilitate computer access for people with disabilities.

Access to computers for students with disabilities involves two major issues: access to the computers themselves and access to electronic resources such as word processors, spreadsheets, and the World Wide Web.

Adaptive technology solutions may involve simple, readily available adjustments such as using built-in access devices on standard computers, or they may require unique combinations of software and hardware such as those needed for voice or Braille output.

Most individuals who are visually impaired can use a standard keyboard. Since viewing standard screen displays and printed documents is problematic, specialized voice and Braille output devices can translate text into synthesized voice and Braille output, respectively.

Dr Tamru E Belay, an adaptive technology specialist, says there are essentially five methods of output that can render computers and printed materials accessible for individuals who are blind or visually impaired: screen reader, Braille printer, reading device, electronic Braille displays, and text magnification.

He explains: “The Screen Reader converts computer outputs and text entering cues into major spoken languages. The person with visual impairment can access computers with the help of speech output to use any word processor application to write letters, school assignments or any other writing. The exploration of the Internet and sending electronic-mail (e-mail) are possible for a blind individual by the use of a speech synthesiser”.

“A Braille Embosser is a hardware device for ‘printing’ a hard copy of a text document in Braille. A Braille translation software program is required to translate the text from the computer into Braille. Most Braille translation software programs can translate material into several grades or versions of Braille. Computerized Braille Embossers definitely have great advantage over the manual Brailing method”.

“The reading devices for the blind allow access to hard copy of ink printed materials into the computer where it becomes accessible. Once the text has scanned within a second, the user can start listening to the text in a clear voice. The user can also save the scanned material for later use”.

(Source: The Southern Times)

Thursday, May 30, 2013 5:49:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


There are more than 1 billion people living with disabilities. But this figure doesn’t provide the full picture of how disabilities impact the lives of a much broader community because in reality, if we also take into consideration family and friends who provide persons with disabilities with daily support, almost 2 billion people are affected by disabilities.

It is just impossible to exclude such a significant proportion of the world’s population from development efforts and the opportunities provided by ICTs.

To address this important segment of the population, and to correct the fact that disabilities were not included as part of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly will hold on 23 September 2013 the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development. This meeting will gather Heads of State, International Organizations, NGO’s, civil society groups and accessibility experts among others, and will define the future roadmap to achieve a disability-inclusive agenda.

In this context, and in my role of chairperson of the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ICT), it is my pleasure to announce the launch of a global consultation to capture the best practices, experiences and recommendations on how the use of information and communication technologies can support the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. The consultation is a joint initiative from the Broadband Commission, G3ICT, the International Disability Alliance, ITU, Microsoft, the Telecentre.org Foundation and UNESCO.

This consultation is a unique opportunity for all relevant stakeholders working on inclusive ICTs to speak up and be heard by global policy makers at a time when the future development framework is being shaped. I invite you all to visit www.itu.int/accessibility and take part in the survey, which will be open until 10 June 2013.
Let’s work together to build an inclusive society for all through the use of information and communication technologies.

(Source: ITU4U)

Thursday, May 30, 2013 5:32:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 24, 2013
There is a need for more research and development (R&D) investment and new ways to ensure that technology transfer is used to overcome global development challenges, a meeting of international academics in Indonesia concluded last month. What does this mean for disabled people around the world? The meeting is part of the lengthy process of agreeing new UN-coordinated global development goals post-2015.

It identified R&D investment and technology transfer as ways to address the massive inequalities between developed and less-developed countries. Irsan Pawennei — one of the meeting's conveners — highlighted inequality as the main issue to consider in setting the successors to the Millennium Development Goals.

These points are very relevant for people with disabilities. In all societies, disabled people experience substantial social and material poverty, and many inequalities. Technologies are available that could help improve their lives, but too often they are delivered in insufficient quantity or quality. For example, damaged wheelchairs and broken hearing aids can be found around the developing world no longer serving a purpose.

Technology transfer to less-developed countries has generally focused on non-disabled people. Intentional efforts acknowledging the needs and rights of disabled people is an important first step in redressing this. Without this effort inequalities between disabled and non-disabled people will become further entrenched. Irsan said at the meeting technology transfer should rely on the transfer of knowledge rather than products, to ensure the poor benefit in the long term and inequalities aren't further entrenched. This is a key consideration point for disabled people.

Products can quickly become redundant, but knowledge is more sustainable. Copyright-restricted software packages date fast, can be expensive and can make users reliant on a 'brand'. Communications technologies can transform the lives of hearing-impaired people but hardware has rapidly moved on from minicoms to mobile phones and now smartphones.

Information on technology transfer should be delivered in formats and methods that people with different impairments can access, for example by providing audio versions or by using simple language. If accessible formats are not consciously considered, disabled people will be excluded from both benefiting from their content and engaging in the process.

Irsan discusses the potential for information and communications technology (ICT) for creating jobs in urban areas. ICT also offers massive potential benefits for disabled people if it is intentionally applied. In some African countries, mobile phone companies — for example Safaricom in Kenya — are creating jobs for physically impaired people in call centres. Mobile communications offer huge inclusion benefits to people with hearing impairments. Ever improving screen-reader technologies open up many opportunities for visually impaired people.

Decisions made on the post-2015 targets could dominate the development agenda for the next two decades. Making commitments for disability-inclusive technology transfer would be a vital part of reducing global inequalities.

(Source: SciDev. Net)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 3:27:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 18, 2013


Wanted: your views, experiences, ideas, suggestions and recommendations on inclusive education.

On behalf of the Education Taskforce of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities, UNESCO and UNICEF are organizing an online discussion from 22 April to 12 May to address the following questions:

- What do we understand by the concept of inclusive education?
and
- What are the key recommendations for an effective implementation of Article 24 of the Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities?

Take part in the discussion by joining the Knowledge Community on Inclusive Education at this link

Worldwide, more than one billion people live with some form of disability. Young people with disabilities have particular difficulty gaining access to both education and work and the right to education remains a challenge.

The online discussion will bring together civil society organizations, UN agencies, development agencies, NGOs, and academia who work to advance the rights of children with disabilities. This discussion is part of the “Building Inclusive Societies for Persons with Disabilities” community which has been established for the promotion of the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities.

Further information

Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:24:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 11, 2013
Building on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this Global Report addresses strong recommendations to all stakeholders – from decision-makers to educators, civil society and industry – on how concretely to advance the rights of people living with disabilities. These recommendations draw on extensive research and consultations. Studies launched in five regions have allowed UNESCO to understand more clearly the conditions and challenges faced by persons with disabilities around the world.

To empower persons with disabilities is to empower societies as a whole – but this calls for the right policies and legislation to make information and knowledge more accessible through information and communication technologies (ICT). It calls also for applying accessibility standards to the development of content, product and services. The successful application of such technologies can make classrooms more inclusive, physical environments more accessible, teaching and learning content and techniques more in tune with learners’ needs.

This UNESCO publication not only makes a major contribution to the understanding of disability, but also highlights technological advancement and shares good practices that have already changed the lives of people with disabilities. It also makes concrete recommendations for action at the local, national and international levels, targeting policy and decision makers, educators, IT&T industry, civil society and certainly persons with disabilities.

Download the Full version



Further details

Thursday, April 11, 2013 3:35:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 18, 2013
Chinese scientists have developed and tested a prototype electronic notebook for blind people that is designed to be cheap to manufacture.

The e-notebook, called B-Notes, allows people to take notes or memos using Braille or by recording speech. It is similar in size to a mobile phone. B-Notes makes use of technologies developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Computing Technology (ICT), including translation software. Prototype e-notebooks were trialled on ten blind people last month (5 January).

Wang Xiangdong, technical leader of the ICT team that developed the device, says that Braille can be conveniently input using a panel on the e-notebook. "And when [B-Notes is] connected to a computer, the Braille-Chinese translation software can be used to convert Braille into Chinese characters automatically", he says.
Currently, there are almost 39 million blind people in the world, according to the WHO. And according to the China Disabled Persons' Federation, there are more than 12 million visually disabled people in China.

Wang said that the basic technological research for the e-notebooks has been completed and they are expected to be available in China later this year at a cost of 500 to 800 renminbi (around US$ 80 to US$ 130).

The e-notebook has three main features. First is the Braille input. The e-notebook's input panel has an array of mini keys that allows users to type.
Second is the intelligent translation system, which is up to 95 per cent accurate. When the e-notebook is connected to a computer, pre-installed software moves all Braille in the device over to the computer and translates it into Chinese characters.

Third, the e-notebook has a voice interface. There are voice prompts to guide users through the device's various operations.
Currently, the notebook can only translate Chinese Braille to Chinese characters. But Wang says that if other countries express an interest in the device, it will be possible to produce e-notebooks that translate other versions of Braille into other languages.

The blind people who tested the prototype notebooks told developers that they found them portable and easy to use. A spokesperson for the Beijing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology, which is sponsoring the e-notebook's development, says the notebooks could support blind people in their everyday working and living.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Monday, February 18, 2013 4:24:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 24, 2013
An Indian designer is developing a smartphone with tactile text that can be used by blind or visually impaired people. Sumit Dagar's prototype Braille smartphone is expected to be ready by the end of February and the first model could be on the market within a year.

Dagar, who won US$ 50,000 in Rolex Award for Enterprise in November 2012 to develop the smartphone, says that design can help technology bridge the gap between people with disabilities and the rest of the population.

Dagar's partners in the five-year smartphone project, which started in 2009, are the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and eye health centre the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), India.  He is working with a four-member team comprising experts from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, New York University in the United States, India's National Institute of Design and the LVPEI. He says that several other research institutions have expressed interest in collaborating on the project.
"The basic handset I am working on now has words and numbers going up and down in Braille. So a user can touch them and recognize or locate numbers and names", said Dagar. The screen is covered in pins that can rise up from its surface to form Braille words and numbers.

To make phones more affordable for visually impaired people, he says that efficient design may make them cheaper, although the primary goal is to design them to work well. There have been previous attempts to create a Braille smartphone, but no prototype has ever been made, says Dagar.

He adds that most experiments using touch-based - technology have been confined to creating vibrations, so this project is a step forward.
A more sophisticated version of the phone could even make images tactile, he says. But he expects such a phone to emerge only towards the end of the five-year project.
Ravi Bagree, a member of the Braille phone team from the Delft University of Technology, says that Dagar's mix of engineering and design background played a part in this innovative work.
"[A Braille phone] has not been possible so far because not many people think of the disabled and those who do so don't have the [necessary] technological background", says Bagree.

See here the video presentation

(Source: SciDev)

Thursday, January 24, 2013 8:11:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 17, 2013
According to the UN, around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. They are the world’s largest minority. Children and adults with disabilities face myriad challenges: abuse, lack of education, illiteracy, and unemployment to name a few.

Deepak Bhatia of the World Bank argues that ICTs provide a model to allow disabled people to better integrate socially and economically into their communities. For example, the Internet allows those with disabilities to organize and network. Perhaps most importantly, technology is slowly transforming the education sector by providing greater access to a variety of learning materials. Screen-reading software reads content aloud. Voice recognition software composes spoken messages. Mobile devices are much easier to operate than a traditional computer.

Ghana’s government is committed to teaching ICT skills to youth with disabilities. The Persons with Disability ICT Project aims to equip certain disabled people with ICT skills for the contemporary world.

Similarly, South Africa’s Department of Communications hopes to create an enabling environment for the disabled. Minister Dina Pule has challenged youth to be part of the solution. With proper stakeholder cooperation, the program is expected to reduce unemployment, and more importantly, ensure equal opportunities for all.

In Namibia and Tanzania, Sign Wiki allows the deaf and those who communicate with the deaf (ideally everyone) to learn sign language. Currently, there are 2,200 Tanzanian signs and 800 Namibian signs in the databases.


The aforementioned initiatives are fairly new, so it is too soon to tell if government-sponsored ICT programs achieve their initial goals. Stay tuned though because with some effort, ICT will not only empower the disabled but will also cause those who are healthy to understand how to help those who are less fortunate.

(Source: OAfrica News)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:38:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Emergency 2.0 Wiki, a voluntary body, has developed an on-line Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit. This toolkit is tailored for the sensory and mobility-impaired.

The online toolkit provides tips, resources and apps to help people with a disability to overcome accessibility challenges of social media.

“The reason for developing the kit is that we’ve witnessed from recent disasters that social media can save lives, but people with disabilities often have difficulty accessing important messages because the social media platforms themselves are inaccessible”, said Richard Corby, Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Reference Group Leader.

It’s vitally important that people with disabilities, who are the most vulnerable in our communities during emergencies, are empowered to access instant, lifesaving messages through social media and the accessibility toolkit enables this, stressed Corby.

Mr. Corby also mentions that for example the main Twitter website can’t be easily read with a screen reader, a program that reads out information on a screen for people who are blind. In the kit they point users to alternative sites such as Easy Chirp to read tweets. As people tweet in real time, an accessible app such as this can provide immediate notification of when a fire starts or when flash floods hit a town.

Accessibility resources on the wiki include:

  • Tips and guides for people with disabilities on how to access social media

  • Emergency smartphone apps for people with a disability

  • Apps and assistive technologies to access social media

  • Emergency Preparedness YouTube videos that are either captioned or use sign language for the deaf and hearing impaired

  • Practical guidelines to assist the emergency sector, government, community, media and business to make social media messages more accessible

In a whole of community approach, the Accessibility Reference Group crowdsourced the content globally using social media. The group consists of professionals drawn from the emergency, government, NGO and business sectors in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

(Source: Emergency 2.0 Wiki)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:44:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Disabled people or callers who are under threat and cannot speak will soon be able to call for emergency help with the new ‘SaveMe 999’ application, which will be launched by Malaysian’s Emergency Response Service (MERS 999) next week.

MERS 999 will officially introduce this latest update to its existing emergency response platform on December 18.

With SaveMe 999 app, users with disabilities will be able to send an accurate location or text a complete address of the location, choose relevant agency, select incident or text complete incident (threaten, kidnap, murder, robbery, rape or fight), then the information will be sent to the MERS 999 response centre and the officers would start the dispatching procedure to the relevant emergency agencies.

Emergency callers and location of incident can be tracked accurately with Automatic Number Identification (ANI), and Automatic Location Identification (ALI) on the smartphones.

The SaveMe 999 application will be available for download on Android and iOS enabled smartphones and devices.

MERS 999 is an initiative by the Malaysian Government for computerized emergency call taking and dispatching. Under its single platform and a single emergency number, the country’s five emergency service providers (the Police, Fire and Rescue Department, Ambulances/Hospitals, Civil Defense and Maritime Enforcement) share information and consolidate and integrate emergency response resources. The MERS 999’s response centres nationwide are operated by Telekom Malaysia.

Malaysia has up to 283,204 registered disabled people out of total population of 28 million.

(Source: FutureGov)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:35:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
WTSA-12 affirms commitment to an inclusive Information Society

ITU’s membership has adopted a Resolution inviting ITU Member States to refrain from taking any unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State from accessing public Internet sites and using resources, within the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution and the WSIS principles.

Meeting at the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-12) in Dubai, ITU members revised and adopted a Resolution first agreed at 2008’s WTSA in Johannesburg: Resolution 69, Non-discriminatory access and use of Internet resources.

Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “Just days away from the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12), the adoption of this Resolution underlines ITU’s commitment to a free and inclusive information society. This should send a strong message to the international community about accusations that ITU’s membership wishes to restrict the freedom of speech. Clearly the opposite is true. It is in this spirit – fostering an Internet whose benefits are open to all – that I would like to head into WCIT-12”.

Noting the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms and that discrimination regarding access to the Internet could greatly affect developing countries; Resolution 69 invites affected ITU Member States to report to ITU, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on any unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State from accessing public Internet sites and using resources, within the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution and the WSIS principles.

ITU’s work, along with many others, has played a key role in enabling the Internet. Without ITU standards providing the access technologies to homes and businesses and the transport mechanisms to carry information from one side of the world to another the broadband services that we have come to rely on would simply not work.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:45:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It will be focused on analyzing and raising awareness about the needs and mobile-based solutions for groups under risk of digital exclusion in Latin America (low-income and isolated communities, chronic patients and people with disabilities). Relevant stakeholders from all over the world will participate providing their expertise from technological, social and politic-economical perspectives.

The M-Inclusion awards for “Apps4Change” Challenge Program 2012, which recognizes groundbreaking mobile solutions for social inclusion, will take place during the conference.

Specific objectives:

    Bring together and facilitate the dialog amongst key actors in mobile technologies for social and digital inclusion in Latin America.

    Analyze the needs of the risk groups in terms of education, health, accessibility and economics needs.

    Identify and analyze the existing mobile technologies and initiatives that can cover the previously mentioned needs.

    Identify the trending mobile solutions relevant for mobile social inclusion.

    Promote awareness about the needs of shortening the gaps of social and digital inclusion in Latin America.

The outcome of this first Open Forum will shape the M-Inclusion Road map for social and digital inclusion in Latin America,  containing needs for social inclusion focused on the disadvantaged groups represented within the project, as well as mobile solutions based on new existing and trending technologies applied to main  scopes for social inclusion (economic, geographic, educational and health inclusion).

The audience of the event will be:

    Mobile Technologies: researchers, developers and technology providers

    End-users associations and communities: Disabled, elderly, low-income, isolated areas, social exclusion groups, chronics, etc

    Political stakeholders: Latin America and European with relevant links to regulatory issues and the market

    Financial and funding actors.

Further details about the location and the schedule in the agenda.

(Source: M-inclusion)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 4:46:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards is a contest to promote the development of IT applications designed to improve the lives of those with disabilities and people that are older, to help them get more actively involved in society. 

In 2012 we celebrate the II Edition after the great results of last year competition. In 2011 over 60 apps were received and more than 100 people participated in the awards. Find more information about 2011 finalists and winners.

The programme is supported and co-organized by AGE Platform Europe, the European network of around 160 organizations of and for people aged 50+, and the European Disability Forum (EDF), the NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities.

Launched in Brussels, the competition will award the best smartphone application in four areas:

  Social participation: refers to applications which help users to become more involved in today's society and help them benefit from using new technologies, whatever their age and/or capacity.   The aim is to help everyone to access the web and social media through smartphones.

  Independent living: refers to applications which help users with everyday tasks such as washing or opening a door easily and safely so that they can live more independently

   Mobility: refers to applications which enable users to travel freely and safely whatever kind of transport system they would like to use. It also refers to the use of GPS and locations apps which can help guide people in unfamiliar places.

   Wellbeing: refers to applications which improve the users' health and overall feeling of wellbeing.

Entrants can compete for a share of the €200k prize fund from 30 May 2012 to 15 October 2012. Finalist will present their application to the jury in a final event that will take place in December in Brussels.

Here are six testimonials which can help to inspire you to create new ways of making technology accessible for all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt4crzvwaYA&feature=player_embedded

Further details



Tuesday, October 09, 2012 10:25:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 03, 2012

In line with Omantel’s vision Together, we innovate to build a totally connected society and as part of its endeavors to offer products and services that meet the needs of its wide range of customers, the Company announced yesterday the launch of a new Hayyak package for people with Disability to help them get in touch with their families and friends. 

Commenting on the new Hayyak package, Saleh bin Mahmood Al Maimani, Manager – Core Services at Omantel said “At Omantel, we focus on meeting the various needs of our valued customers. This new package is designed to meet the special needs of disabled to help them get in touch with friends and family through different communication means. The new package offers reduced rates of up to 25% on mobile broadband and a flat calling rate of 29 bzs day and night. This move comes as a part of the company commitment to provide something for everyone. 

To avail of this special package, applicants should visit their nearest Omantel retail outlet and present their Disability ID issued by the Ministry of Social Development. He added.  

Commenting on the service, Hamoud al Shabibi, Director of Special Care Department at the Ministry of Social Development said “We are delighted with Omantel initiative which reflects the attention and care given by the Company to this important people in our society”. 

“We are pleased that this initiative will further enable them to communicate more with friends and family through different means of communications be it through voice calls, video calls, SMS, MMS or even the mobile internet”. 

 (Source: SAMENA Daily News)

Monday, September 03, 2012 10:19:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 13, 2012

ECDL Foundation Partners with AGE Platform Europe to Promote the Older People’s Digital Inclusion during the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and Launches Updated ICT Training Program Adapted to Older People’s Needs.

As key stakeholders in the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (EY2012) Coalition, ECDL Foundation and AGE Platform Europe will collaborate to connect the capacity of both organisations’ extensive networks in support of the Year’s aims around ICT skills development. The development of older Europeans’ ICT skills is considered crucial to their active ageing and continued participation in society, and to their ongoing contribution to the labor market. At any age, and particularly with an ageing population in Europe, European citizens need to be able to use the technology that can greatly improve their quality of life. ECDL Foundation is a committed supporter of EY2012 and will work towards using the potential of ICT to open up training and employment opportunities for older people, including those with disabilities.

In support of the objectives of the EY2012 and its collaboration with AGE Platform Europe, ECDL Foundation is launching a revised version of its accessible introductory ICT training programme, EqualSkills. This new version of the highly successful EqualSkills workbook seeks to meet the specific needs of older people. EqualSkills is a tutor-led, introductory ICT skills development programme that helps to remove the fear of computers for complete novices by using a simple, non-threatening approach to providing basic skills for using a computer, email, and the Internet. These essential ICT skills are key to individuals’ full participation in technology-dependent societies, and are an important factor in promoting lifelong learning. So far, almost 100,000 Europeans have already participated in the EqualSkills programme.

ECDL Foundation, as a leading advocate for the promotion of digital literacy in Europe, fully supports the aims of the European Commission’s European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012. ECDL Foundation and its network of national partners look forward to collaborating with AGE Platform Europe in the joint aim of enabling the digital inclusion of the elderly in Europe throughout 2012 and beyond.

(Source: Age Platform Europe)


Monday, August 13, 2012 10:03:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An injection of a handful of notebooks and tablets, two smart boards and eight laptops should meet the challenge teachers face in working with children with special needs. The possibilities are innumerable. It is not only that simple education games will engage the children and help them to learn better. Rather, a smartboard would also serve the purpose of “painting with one’s own hands” and make the children realize that they will be able to “make things happen” when they touch the smartboard screen or go from icon to icon.

The goal of the project is to help 125 children of the Rokana Basic School in Kitwe to learn more effectively by using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) such as smartboards and tablets. The programme also includes the training of 40 teachers in how to use ICT with special needs children as well as the training of approximately 200 teachers in the use of smart boards.

Rokana Basic School in Kitwe stands out in Zambia. It is one of a handful of schools with a Special Needs Unit for children with learning disabilities. Its principal, Mr Mwansa, has a long-cherished dream: to furnish one room in the Special Needs Unit with equipment that would open up a whole new (virtual) world for these children. At the end of 2011, Rokana Basic School teamed up with around 20 other local schools in the area through the Mpelembe Basic Schools partnership. Through this partnership, teachers from Mpelembe Secondary school, showed teachers from several local basic schools how they can use ICT to liven up their lessons. For example, through videos, interactive computer games, and Power Point presentations. Joining the partnership has also brought Mr Mwansa one step closer to realizing his dream.

(Source: AKVO)

Further details

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 5:45:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Indian graduate student has designed a mobile phone application that enables people with sight and hearing impairments to send and receive text messages.

The PocketSMS application was developed for Android smartphones, which are generally cheaper than Apple's iPhones. The application converts text into Morse code vibrations so that users can "feel" the message.

Regular mobile phones already use vibrations to alert users to incoming calls or messages. Anmol Anand, a graduate student at the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in Delhi, realized that the same vibrations could also convey text message content.

He used the open source Google App Inventor to write a new application to covert each letter in a text message into Morse code — in which each letter corresponds to a set of a short and long tones — and then used the phone's hardware to vibrate for each letter.

An accompanying application, MorseTrainer, has been designed to teach deaf-blind users Morse code, and to use it without having to rely on smartphone keyboards, which can be difficult to see.

Text messaging is growing in importance as a tool for safety and social inclusion. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo late last year, for instance, a group of deaf users protested for their safety late last year when the government shut down text messaging services, the BBC reported.

In Uganda, the National Association of the Deaf is working on a project in which hearing students and deaf students learn how to send text messages together. "We saw that deaf kids were not integrating", said education consultant Sacha DeVelle, who was volunteering in Kabale with the charity Cambridge to Africa.

When teachers began showing pairs of hearing and deaf students how to send text messages, deaf children became far more integrated into the school community. "It encourages them to go on and do what they want to do, [for example] go to university or set up a shop", DeVelle said.

Anand's collaborator, Arun Mehta — president of the Bidirectional Access Promotion Society (BAPSI) — said that internet access is just as important for the disabled as everyone else. He said that the introduction of text-to-speech screen reading software had meant that "the gap between the sighted and the blind has shrunk dramatically. We would like to do that for the deaf-blind too."

Inclusive technology can help disabled people take part in everyday life, said Mohamed Jemni, a computer scientis at the School of Science and Technology in Tunisia.

(Source: SciDev)
Further details


Thursday, April 19, 2012 9:55:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 16, 2012

The program “Padrino Tecnológico” has been introduced in the University of Alcala de Henares as part of the activities of CAPTA II, organized by the Chair for the Improvement of Personal Autonomy of Telefonica, which objective is the research, development, education and outreach to strengthen technologies such as "Internet of Things" and increase personal autonomy of certain groups (Disabled people, elderly, sick people ...).

The initiative has as protagonists to the "sponsors", volunteers who spend time for designing and developing ICT solutions for children with motor and / or cognitive high impairment. It also has the involvement of the University students as potential entrepreneurs, who could use the existing market niche around disability, who are nearly 1,000 million people worldwide.

Also concerning to the accessibility, experts from the National Center of Techniques Accessibility (CENTAC), the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and Telefónica, which participated in the conference, wanted to highlight the key issue that services based on “Internet of Things” will be viable and accessible for all society: design but taking into account all people, whatever their capabilities, making them affordable; paying attention in the security and privacy of data, taking advantage of them, and promoting digital literacy for easy using.

But “Internet of Things” is not only key for the inclusion in the society of people with disabilities, but also constitutes an industrial sector to develop, which may contribute to the sustainability of Health, for example, by telecare solutions for the chronically ill and to seek a healthy aging (keep in mind that at 2050, 30% of the Spanish population will be more than 80 years old).

At the meeting, attended by over 100 people, also they stressed the benefits of smart cities or smartcities. So, Javier Vizcaino, manager of Public Administrations of Telefónica for the Centre Territory, explained that these smart cities provide suitable information to public managers, so they can take better decisions, make easy the participation of citizens, promote efficiency in the use of energy resources, and improve accessibility.

(Source: Telefonica –España)
Further details


Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:42:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2012
The Australian government’s high-speed, fast-access broadband communications program will deliver health care services to older Australians, people living with cancer, and those needing palliative care.

The national broadband network (NBN) telehealth pilot program will more readily connect healthcare providers with patients, especially in regional, rural and outer metropolita areas. A telehealth pilot is being trialled in an area of NBN coverage – with first round of services to be operational by July 2012.

Australia’s telehealth services are supported by the $36 billion (US$38 billion) NBN roll-out, offering affordable broadband to homes, doctor surgeries, pharmacies, clinics, aged-care facilities and allied health professionals. Telehealth services remove many of the barriers, such as Australia’s “tyranny of distance,” as well as managing the time and cost involved in patients visiting healthcare providers or GPs.

These broadband-supported services, when fully operational, will transform the way healthcare is delivered nationally – while streamlining service delivery for groups in most need.

Senator Stephen Conroy, minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, says telehealth will transform health care delivery in Australia. This trial will make a real difference to the lives of patients with high health care needs living in NBN early rollout areas, particularly those in regional, rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas”, he says.

With an aging population, the Australian government seeks to maximize the reach of health care services, while proactively managing medical conditions.

Existing Telehealth services are popular with patients and doctors, making it make easier for people to receive care and consultation through videoconferencing, as and when needed.

Six months after introducing Medicare rebates for telehealth consultations, the uptake has grown steadily – with more than 7,000 services provided by over 1,200 clinicians nationally, mostly to rural and remote areas.

(Source: FutureGov)
Further details

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:45:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 20, 2012
Invitation of Expression of Interest for Support from USO Fund for Pilot Project Scheme for Access to ICTs for Persons with Disabilities in Rural India
Administrator Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) on behalf of President of India invites “Expression of Interest” (EoI) from Services Providers for the above said pilot projects.

The detailed document inviting Expression of Interest is available on USOF website: http://usof.gov.in/usof-cms/usof_tencurrent.htm. No charges shall be payable by applicants towards the cost of the EoI application. In case of any query clarification maybe sought though email at the address jafusof@gmail.com.

The EoI is to be submitted in Room Nº 1307, Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi and the last date of submission is 31.03.2012 by 16 hours.

See previous information here.

(Source: USOF – India)

Friday, January 20, 2012 3:04:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 19, 2011

To make ICT more accessible for persons with disabilities, the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR), has introduced the country’s first eAccessibility Policy.

The policy aims to ensure people with disabilities in Qatar have equal access to the technologies that can enrich their lives, and covers a range of e-accessibility issues, including websites, telecommunications services, handsets, ATMs, government services, access to assistive technologies and digital content.

The policy is effective immediately and ictQATAR will oversee the implementation of the policy across sectors and monitor progress.

For many people with disabilities, information and communication technology can be a tremendously empowering and enabling tool, however, if these technologies are not fully accessible, they may actually become tools of exclusion or isolation. Qatar’s eAccessibility Policy, which was developed in consultation with numerous stakeholder groups, will make Qatar one of the most progressive countries in the region in terms of bringing the benefits of technology to people with disabilities”, said Hessa Al-Jaber, ictQATAR Secretary General.

The primary provisions of the eAccessibility Policy include:

  • Requiring telecommunications service providers to provide accessible handsets, user interfaces, relay services, special rate plans, emergency services and accessible public payphones where appropriate.

  • Requiring public sector organizations to develop websites and mobile content that can be accessed by persons with disabilities.

  • Requiring all public sector organizations, including government owned banks, to implement service improvements that will ensure that public access terminals/kiosks and ATMs are available at strategic locations and usable by people with low vision blindness, deaf or hearing impairments, physical disabilities and reading problems.

  • Requiring Qatar’s Assistive Technology Center (Mada) to establish a fund to improve access to assistive technologies (AT) and services, encouraging the wide spread procurement of ATs, spreading awareness of the available services and benefits of ATs and providing demonstrations, special training and evaluations.

  • Calling to action all producers and distributors of digital media in Qatar to improve the accessibility of their content through accessible eBooks, online information and special captioning for video programming.

The full e-accessibility policy is available here.

(Source: FutureGov Newspaper)

Monday, December 19, 2011 5:51:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Universal Service Obligation Fund of India (USOF) has announced that it will fund a series of Pilot Projects for access to ICT facilities combined with assistive technologies (ATs) for persons with disabilities in rural India. Eligible licensed Indian Service Providers interested in applying for pilot project funding will shortly be invited to submit proposals in line with the Concept Paper and draft Expression of Interest published at http://www.usof.gov.in/usof-cms/disabled.htm

Projects should address accessibility in terms of hardware, software and human interface and cover persons with various forms of disability such as sensory (including vision and hearing), cognitive and motor disability. The Service Providers will need to partner with a range of stakeholders including telecom equipment manufacturers, mobile and internet/broadband content providers, NGOs etc. Organizations outside of India, including those that have developed accessible ICTs, assistive technologies and suitable mobile applications may consider participating in this effort by teaming up with Indian stakeholders.

Further details

(Source: USOF – India)

Contact:

Joint Administrator (F),

Universal Service Obligation Fund,

Room No. 1118, Sanchar Bhavan,

20 Ashoka Road, New Delhi 110001

India

Email: jafusf@gmail.com


Monday, December 19, 2011 5:45:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 15, 2011

The user should say loud and clear voice that he wants to advertise on social networking.

 A new application for mobile devices, developed by the institute ITEAM of Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), allow "blind" more involved in social networks like Twitter, thanks to voice recognition for posting.

 UPV explained that the application was worked for the Android platform and that will also benefit disabled drivers, who may communicate by voice with other devices in their home through Bluetooth or Wi-fi.

 "The prototype uses a system of recognition and voice synthesis to the control and management of applications to capture and deliver information in audio format and serve as an interface between the user and mobile", said Juan Carlos Guerri, one of the researchers of ITEAM institute.

 He indicated that the user needs clear and audible voice the message that he wants to be published on Twitter; it uses the microphone to the mobile device.

 "This recognition activates the motor to tweet transcribed to text and then synthesize it and play it. Once the user to check the content and it fits what you want to communicate you can publish it", he added.

 Previously, the same company has developed a warning system for the hearing disabled, prototype aimed to improve their quality of life.

(Source: El Comercio Newspaper)
Further details

Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:09:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development of Malaysia Datuk Fatimah Abdullah yesterday challenged those in the industry to create products that are user-friendly to both the able and disabled.

We must remember that it is not people’s ‘disability’ that makes it impossible for them to use certain technologies”.

It is the fact that whoever created the products and services did not take into account the notion that people are individuals with differing abilities and preferences”, she said in her keynote address at the launching of a web accessibility seminar. Fatimah said it is vital that those who design, build, sell and use online information services or products must understand the impacts on disabled and older people.

She stated that the Malaysian Disability Act 2008 has made it mandatory for the government and providers of information and communication technology to make their systems accessible to the disabled without any additional costs.

Our focus here is website accessibility. The federal and state governments have made web accessibility as one of the mandatory criteria in government portals and websites”, she added.

According to her, the state government has a web template that complies with the web accessibility requirements to benefit a wider range of citizens.

The three-day seminar is held to highlight the importance of making websites accessible to people with visual disabilities.

It is organised by the state government, Sarawak Society for the Blind, Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (Sains) and National Council for the Blind Malaysia (NCBM).

“My message to all those who have registered for the workshop, learn as much as possible and develop your websites, services or products that are usable by all.

I hope the organisers, especially Sains being the ICT total solution provider of the state government, can work closely with my ministry to promote web accessibility at national and international levels in the future”, she said.

Also present at the seminar were NCBM president Datuk S. Kulasegaran, Sains CEO Datuk Teo Tien Hiong, Sarawak Society for the Blind president Dr Hsiung Kwo Yen and Chief Minister’s Department ICT Unit director William Patrick Nyigor.

(Source: Borneo Post)
Further details

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 8:57:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 04, 2011

New application allows deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled customers to make calls from virtually anywhere, anytime on Android-powered devices.

Today announced the availability of Sprint Mobile IP Relay, empowering thousands of users in the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities and people with speech disabilities to communicate by phone anywhere and anytime. Sprint Mobile IP Relay, the company’s latest enhancement to its Sprint Relay’s IP portfolio, is a free application that can be downloaded from the Android Market onto select Android devices.

Features and capabilities:

  • Make and receive relay-facilitated mobile calls on Sprint devices running on Android OS 2.1 or higher

  • Save conversations during or after they are completed

  • Provide Spanish language relay calls

  • Adjust font size/colors and background colors

  • Access phone’s contact list, call history, and live Sprint Relay Customer Service representatives

  • Make 911 emergency calls

  • Available on Sprint 3G, Sprint 4G and WiFi networks.

A unique 10-digit number is required to access and use the Sprint® Mobile IP application on Sprint Android devices. To register, go to www.mysprintrelay.com.

This is another offer from Sprint Relay that breaks down communications barriers for those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities,” said Mike Ellis, director-Sprint Relay Services. “With Mobile IP Relay, users can have unlimited access to relay services wherever their wireless device coverage is available”.

Ellis added that earlier in the year, Sprint Relay introduced another unique offering for Relay users called Sprint Relay ID -- a bundle of applications, links, tips, icons, widgets and wallpapers on Sprint ID-capable Android devices. The bundle includes voice mail transcripts, visual and vibrating alerts and readable captions available in a single download. The launch of Sprint Relay ID marked the first time a wireless carrier developed multiple applications in one package for the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.

For its innovation and industry-leading customer service, Sprint Relay services were recently lauded with third-party awards and endorsements. The Paisley Group National Relay TTY Performance Index ranked Sprint Relay highest in customer care and speed of service. Sprint Relay also earned ABILITY Magazine’s Best Practices Award for its relay service and its “spirit of inclusion, both in the workplace and in the consumer marketplace”.

Sprint now provides relay service to 32 states and the federal government, in addition to New Zealand and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Sprint also provides Captioned Telephone “CapTel” services to 31 states and the federal government.

(Source: Sprint News)

Further details

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 4:47:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 30, 2011

The classroom that was delivered to the community of Riohacha will allow to deaf, blind and deafblind people access to Internet Services, training in basic computer concepts and use of computers, as well as intelligent machine of reading Braille telelupa and lines, promoting their access, use and ownership of ICT and guaranteeing the right to information and communication on equal terms. The ICT Ministry spent $ 160 million for this project. The new classroom was presented on Thursday 29 September.

The classrooms of technology for people with sensory disabilities are part of the ICT policy ownership developing by the ICT Ministry and Surcoe. This initiative is included in the Technology Plan “Vive Digital”, which aims to expand the use and appropriation of the Internet in the country and move from 2.2 million to 8.8 million connections in 2014. This new room was provided to the community of Riohacha on Thursday September 29 at the Library Almirante Padilla.

"The opening of this new room will allow the community of Riohacha with sensory disabilities and their family access to technology. Access to ICTs must be for everyone, to make technology part of the life of Colombians”, said ICT Minister, Diego Molano Vega.

The hall will provide free training in basic use of computers, office tools and Internet browsing. Also, these rooms will feature with equipments such as Braille printers that will enable blind people to read texts and computer applications that will enable users to listen to type in documents and texts on the Internet.

The delivery of this new classroom is part of the project Conectando Sentidos” that seeks that the technology world will be within people with sensory disabilities and their families, promoting social inclusion and equal opportunities through the use of technology Information and communications technology (ICT).

(Source: MINTIC – Colombia)

Futher details
Friday, September 30, 2011 10:13:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications and the Colombian Association of Deafblind (Surcoe) will make a virtual forum on "Vive Digital. Technology in the life of every Colombian".

The forum aims to raise awareness on what is the Plan "Vive Digital" and is an opportunity for surfers to send their concerns, which will be solved by David Eduardo Gutierrez Muñoz, manager of the initiative, who helped design the plan by the coordination with the people involved in its development, the process of research and technical support of it.

Those interested in learning about the goals, objectives and strategies of "Vive Digital" can participate in the forum from 3th to 5th August, through the Internet platform www.conectandosentidos.org, link Forum. Everybody who wants to participate must make a prior register.

"Vive Digital" seeks that Colombia will make the technology leap, thanks to the massification of the Internet and has the goal to triple the number of municipalities connected to the information broadband, connecting to Internet 50% of MIPYMES (SME) and 50% of homes and multiple four times the number of Internet connections.

As part of the plan " Vive Digital" there is the strategy "ICT for people with disabilities", which is part of the project “Connecting Senses”, which while contribute to the reduction of the digital gap in Colombia and the service offering with the latest technology, to ensure the inclusion of education, social, work and disabled population.

The forum will be led by engineer David Eduardo Gutierrez Muñoz, Manager of Vive Digital, who helped to design the plan and now coordinates the management of Vive Digital and advises its strategic initiatives.

(Source: MINTIC – Colombia)

Further details

Thursday, August 04, 2011 7:29:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 21, 2011

Disability and poverty are dynamic and intricately linked phenomena. In developed countries, a large body of empirical research shows that persons with disabilities experience inter alia comparatively lower educational attainment, lower employment and higher unemployment rates, worse living conditions, and higher poverty rates. In developing countries, the still limited body of empirical research points toward individuals with disability being often economically worse off in terms of employment and educational attainment, while at the household level, the evidence is mixed. Deriving any conclusions on the association between disability and poverty in developing countries from this literature is problematic, given the lack of comparability of the disability measures, economic indicators, and methods in these studies.

This study aims to contribute to the empirical research on social and economic conditions of people with disabilities in developing countries. Using comparable data and methods across countries, this study presents a snapshot of economic and poverty situation of working-age persons with disabilities and their households in 15 developing countries.

The study uses data from the World Health Survey (WHS) conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002-2004 in 30 developed and 40 developing countries across the world. The countries for this study are: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in Africa; Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Pakistan, and the Philippines in Asia; and Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Paraguay in Latin America and the Caribbean. The selection of the countries was driven by the data quality.

(Source: World Bank)

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Thursday, July 21, 2011 4:27:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Film Forum, talks, concerts, exhibitions and awareness-raising circuit are part of the activities organized to celebrate the two year period without barriers CANTV, which allows training and awareness servers and public servants on the proper treatment of persons with disabilities.

In the framework of “Cantv sin Barreras” from Monday 13 to Friday June 17th will be held at the headquarters of the telecommunications company a week dedicated to inclusion and disability awareness.

These activities begin in the auditorium with the authorities of CANTV and various papers as: Rights and duties of persons with disabilities, access to work, Prevention, Health Education, Sex and Disability, Accessibility, What's happening in Venezuela?, barriers, discrimination and indolence, among others.

Also there will be carried out the photographic exhibition "Our Interior Sense", which is the result of Blind Photography workshop made by public servants of the company.

These meetings promote the exchange of information, knowledge and experience to forge a new way to interact and understand the disability as a condition but not an impediment to development

With initiatives like this, CANTV is increasingly integrating their public servers and activities to raise awareness of the need for inclusion, awareness and potential of persons with disabilities.

(Source: CANTV)

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:30:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 13, 2011

The first ever World report on disability, produced jointly by WHO and the World Bank, suggests that more than a billion people in the world today experience disability.

People with disabilities have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. This is largely due to the lack of services available to them and the many obstacles they face in their everyday lives. The report provides the best available evidence about what works to overcome barriers to health care, rehabilitation, education, employment, and support services, and to create the environments which will enable people with disabilities to flourish. The report ends with a concrete set of recommended actions for governments and their partners.

This pioneering World report on disability will make a significant contribution to implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. At the intersection of public health, human rights and development, the report is set to become a "must have" resource for policy-makers, service providers, professionals, and advocates for people with disabilities and their families.

(Source: World Health Organization)

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Monday, June 13, 2011 5:43:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, April 23, 2011
Mobile and social networks have become a tool for defence the human right, which has allowed instantly, denounce violations and abuse of power by governments and help in case of natural disasters, experts said today.

"Thanks to the mobile technology, people can embarrass governments when they intend to do one thing diferent what they say", said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, in CTIA Wireless conference that ended in Orlando (Florida).

During the three-day event with the slogan "Get Goin la vida móvil, 2011" the main leaders discussed the needs of industry and sector social impact, allowing communications over natural disasters, by intensifying the democratic spirit
stifling governments and even triggering revolutions.

Roth also highlighted the performance of social networks as "Twitter" in the instant disclosure of "abuse that otherwise could be hidden or could take days before be known, while generating social change and political, as never before possible".

John Stanton, director of Trilogy International Partners, highlighted the important role of social networks on transmit messages during natural disasters in Haiti earthquake last year.

(Source: RPP Radio News)
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Saturday, April 23, 2011 4:02:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, February 26, 2011
Phones with features that let to control the heart rhythm, diabetes, or to report sexually transmitted diseases, were presented at the World Mobile Congress, the biggest cell exposition in the world that culminated yesterday in Barcelona, Spain.

Many prevention services in the field of health through cell phones, are available through SMS or MMS messages, which
work on any type of cell.

The Society Health Company, which covers Arabia Saudi and Kuwait, send to around 430,000 customers information in Arabic or in English about diabetes, sex, obesity and child health every month.

For grandparents manufacturers began to simplify smart phones to make them accessible
for older people.

The French subsidiary of the Austrian firm Emporia, for example, equips its phones with a mini-flashlight, which allows its owner to have a night light and that glows when the phone rings. One model has a strap with a classic little black book in which you can write with a pen.

(Source: Casetel - Venezuela)
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Saturday, February 26, 2011 2:11:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, January 29, 2011
Teléfonos de Mexico and Aguascalientes State Government, through the DIF, signed this week a cooperation agreement for the adjustment of 44 public telephone of the company, in order that those can be used by people with mobility disabilities.

The agreement was signed in the Auditorium of Medical Services of the DIF, where have been present the Governor of the State of Aguascalientes (Mr. Carlos Lozano de la Torre), President of the DIF Aguascalientes (Prof. Blanca Lozano Rivera Rio), General Director of the DIF (Dra. Gabriela Ibeth Navarro Díaz de León), Dr. Eduardo Lenin Ruelas Olvera (Director of Medical Services of the DIF), Mr. Miguel Macias Viveros (Director of Teléfonos de México), and Mr. Raul Dominguez Cerón, (Chief Operating Officer of Telmex Foundation).

The 44 phones whose dimensions were modified to meet the needs of disabled people, are distributed in ten counties of the State, which will bring better communication services for people from Aguascalientes, that represents a significant advance in the use of public telecommunications services.

In her speech, the President of the DIF, Prof. Blanca Lozano Rivera Rio said: "I am very happy because we could accomplished with these dreams and these goals that we have set, but this would not be possible if we did not find this support, the Foundation Telmex. Our sincere thanks for their managers, in us you will always find faithful allies, faithful partners and friends, thanks for helping to bring joy to these families".

In his message, the Divisional Director of Telmex (Mr. Macias Viveros) said: "Telmex has been recognized for nine consecutive years (2002-2010) with the Socially Responsible Company Badge, awarded by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi). Therefore, our company has joined immediately to the attention of the authorities' request of the State of Aguascalientes in the support of people with mobility disabilities or small people".

The county distribution of the 44 phones is as follows. In Aguascalientes 23, Asientos 1, Calvillo 6, Cosio 1, El Llano 1, Jesus Maria 5, Pabellón de Arteaga 2, Rincón de Romos 2, San Francisco de los Romo 2 and San José de Gracia 1.

(Source: Telmex – México)
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Saturday, January 29, 2011 9:56:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 10, 2010

Like the young people, many older adults seek to keep pace with technological advances. This is the case of Norma Reyes, who at 75 years old can easily handle a mouse and surf in Internet. "Three months ago I was the only one in my house who could not use a computer. Now I can visit many web pages to entertain and inform by myself", Norma says while  she is browsing web pages of news,  listening to music on her website referred to and chat with their classmates.

She is a beneficiary of Digital Literacy Program offered by the Home for the Elderly in the Municipality of Jesus Maria (Lima) and is taught by seven teachers, the most notably is César Taramona, 71 years old, and who argues that: "with great patience and love the most old men of the house are overcoming prejudices".

Ernesto Fierro, 52 old, admits that some years ago he had the opportunity to attend a course with young and older adults, and the old people did not know even how to use a mouse. "It was a shame to see them feel excluded", he recalls. That experience allowed him to see that, except the houses for the elderly in some towns, there were no places where people with his age could learn the principles of the network.

Therefore, he established a Technical Center for Productivity (Cetpro) “Linda Systems”, located in San Borja (Lima), wich offers free computer classes in a session of two hours. People just need to show their ID and be willing to learn.

In 2009 over 200 older adults followed the Digital Literacy Program of Jesus Maria. At these workshops, people learn to create an e-mail, chat, video calls, using a USB and download photos from a digital camera.

The municipalities of Miraflores, San Borja and La Molina in Lima also provide computer classes for older adults.

(Source: educacionenred)

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Friday, December 10, 2010 1:21:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Venezuelan Foundation "Infocentro" won UNESCO Prize "Rey Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa" for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education, the organization reported today. The Foundation received the award along with the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education in the United Kingdom, which together will pocket US$ 25,000, according to the UN Agency for Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in a statement.
 
Selected by the jury because of its project "Literacy
technology for adults ", the Foundation "Infocentro" promotes  adults and other users to free access to information and communication technologies, to be trained to learn to Throughout life, they said. The foundation established infocentres in 680 schools around the country and launched a series of teaching modules for high quality, designed for adult learners to improve their computer literacy and acquire more advanced skills in information technology and communication. The winning projects were chosen from 49 nominations from 34 countries, one intergovernmental organization, and the Organization of Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).
 
Thus, Infocenter has allowed more than one million Venezuelans, including many disabled person, having basic technical knowledge now. The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) in the UK is the largest NGO dedicated to protecting the interests of adult learners in England and Wales, they said.
 
This year's edition of the award was focused on the "digital basic instruction: to prepare adult learners for learning throughout life and a flexible working life". The General Director of Unesco, Irina Bokova, will present the award in an official ceremony to be held on January 12, 2011 at the headquarters of the Organization in Paris.
(Source: CANTV - Venezuela)
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Wednesday, December 08, 2010 5:34:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 22, 2010

The National Telecommunications Corporation (CNT EP), pursuant to the provisions of the Law Amending the Law of the Elderly and in accordance with the mandate embedded in the Constitution of Ecuador, benefits more than 18,000 users of older by applying an exemption of 50% in the basic  rent of telephone service and the implementation of special modules for care and recovery.
 
Requirements
Users should approach the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, to apply this exemption and according the  information provided by the regulatory body of citizens, they can determine who qualifies to be exempt and not pay the VAT; in addition to the reduction of consumption by 50% in the basic rent directly.
 
Preferential treatment

Integrated Services Centers, CIS, have physical space to care for the elderly in a comfortable and appropriate place. If it is not feasible to go personally to do some processing of requests for products or services of the CNT, authorize in writing to a relative.

 
It should be noted that in case of death of the user,
the privileges gained on the telephone line are automatically lost . To be reinstated, it must make the appropriate assignment of rights in the event that the new user is elderly, and the process begins again.

 
Thus, the Ministry of Telecommunications through the CNT EP complies with national government policies and the development of the good life of citizens, seeking to provide more and better telecommunications and connectivity services throughout the country, backed a solid technology platform.

 

(Source: Mintel – Ecuador)

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Monday, November 22, 2010 12:16:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 18, 2010

Qatar’s vision to empower and enable people with disabilities through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is receiving a boost with Mada, the Qatar Assistive Technology Centre. Since the non-profit organisation opened on June 1 this year, a number of individuals have benefited from its state-of-the-art resource centre, described as the region’s only one of its kind.

The centre features interactive assistive technology (AT) environments for the visually impaired, hearing impaired, learning disabled and people with disabilities. The Mada resource centre is a showcase of cutting-edge technology, including computer software that reads the screen for the blind, eye tracking devices that allows to control a computer with eye movement, voice recognition, switch solutions that allow a computer to be controlled with a single movement such as sipping or blowing through a tube and word prediction. There are separate workstations for individuals with hearing, visual, learning or physical disabilities.

Screenreader solutions such as Ibsar and Jaws enables blind users to read, on their own, printed books and documents as well as electronic files. Ibsar helps them write texts in both Arabic and English, in addition to saving and printing these texts in Braille. The software speaks the text on a computer screen in both Arabic and English. With a screenreader a blind user is able to access the Internet and read websites, or send, receive and manage e-mail. The Tobii eye-tracking computer allows someone with no physical control of their body, other than eye movement to take control of a computer through which they can communicate, control the environment, browse the web and even play games.

(Source: Gulf Times)

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Monday, October 18, 2010 5:02:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, October 09, 2010
After the experience of having a family member who forgets things and the names of objects, the teacher Erika Hernández Rubio proposed to a group of students from the School of Computing (ESCOM), from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) to develop an interactive system to exercise the memory of people over 50 years.

To this request, the students began to develop a software system which is intended to exercise the memory of adults and thus prevent damage. The proposal was designed for people aged from 55 to 64 years of age are likely to suffer mental deterioration in cognitive, "but not a medical option to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's", the teacher
Hernandez Rubio said.

To use the system established by polytechnic students is necessary that the elderly be able to use a computer. The software was designed by Raúl Fernando Montiel, Ivan Vazquez Rosales and Oswaldo Sanchez Lascano. This software includes games, exercises, tests, results and paragraph Learn to learn. You can select different types of games numbered from 1 to 10.

Source:Universia.net
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Saturday, October 09, 2010 10:35:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Congress passed a bill on Tuesday night that would make the Internet and mobile phones more accessible to people with disabilities. The legislation will go to President Obama next week to sign into law.

Advocates for the blind and deaf say the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act would ensure that Web sites and makers of consumer electronics consider the vision- and hearing-impaired, who have been left behind as more communications tools move to the Web.

Specifically, the legislation allows blind consumers to choose from a broader selection of cellphones with speech software that calls out phone numbers and cues users on how to surf the Internet. It makes new TV shows that are captioned available online with closed-captioning. TV remote controls would have a button that makes it easier to get closed-captioning.

(Source: The Washington Post)

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 8:14:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kenya’s information permanent secretary has pledged to push for the formation of ICT policies that will empower Kenyans living with disabilities. Dr Bitange Ndemo said the government would be proactive in taking measures that ensure a better future for the physically and mentally challenged. He was speaking at a workshop whose theme was “Dialogue in the Dark”, organized by InABLE, a charitable organisation which has launched a computer lab programme that will see them donate special computers in all the eight schools for the blind across the country.

InABLE’s Founder Irene Kirika said this initiative would go a long way towards enabling the country achieve its vision of providing quality education for all.“Thika School for the Blind was the inspiration behind bringing the “Dialogue in the Dark” to Kenya. We have over 300 students in the school but currently we have 100 students on our computer programme,” she said of the initiative that has seen blind children learn how to use the computer and even access the net.

“Dialogue in the Dark” takes place in a pitch-black environment and forces participants to cope with a temporary loss of one sense and eventually drives them to look inwards and get in touch with their core values. To participants, this encounter brings outs virtues, values, skills, gratitude, humility and appreciation for those who are different from them and in that way assists them to break free from their own limitations.

(Source: it news Africa)

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010 3:00:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The training program for work in this country created the pilot project "In the way of employability", which want to improve the access of employment through the Information and Comuncación Technology (ICT). This education program is developed by the Organization “Fe y Alegría” in the country.

 

This course makes known the hidden skills that each person has. There is one case of Rinat as an example, Rinat who is a young blind man, who thanks to this course, has found their skills with what he can meet the challenges presented to in the workplace. Rinat was part of “Fe y Alegría” institution and managed to interact through virtual classroom e-learning platform in the "road to employability," which includes three modules: 1) auto guidance, 2) job searching and 3) plan and improvement of selection processes. Rinat worked from the Internet lab of the Bolivian Institute of blindness, with a median speed Internet. 

 

“Fe y Alegría” is a member of the Red TICBolivia and encourages the participation of professional and personal development of people with different capacities. Also, they work for the comprehensive and quality education for urban, and rural people who are discriminated because their economic status, socio-political, ethnic, cultural and with people with disabilities.


Source: Red TIC Bolivia and Mintel

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010 3:13:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The Head of Government of Mexico City (Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon), and the Director of Telefonos de Mexico (Hector Slim Seade), put into operation the free service of Mobile WiFi Internet in Infinitum access in Mexico Park, with what there is a total of over 600 networking services in public spaces in Mexico City and it will be added about a thousand, as it was reported by TELMEX. This action is part of "TELMEX 2010: Technological Innovation Drive", which includes three main bodies: i) Connectivity, ii) impetus for Digital Education and Culture, and iii) the strengthening of Information Technology.

TELMEX has installed in all states of the country more than three thousand sites with Mobile WIFI connectivity in Infinitum. Also, as part of the program "Special Telephony", Telmex continues with the installation of public places in strategic locations in Mexico City for people with disabilities. This service was put also in Mexico Park. In this regard, the Head of Government said: "Telmex is committed to helping to Mexico City to meet its
objectives of digitization. Up to date, Telmex has installed 600 access points of free internet access, making this city with the most free Internet connections in public places. We will be the first city in Latin America where public schools are all digital, for that the support of TELMEX is essential".

Source: Telmex, AHCIET
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010 7:00:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 12, 2010

YouTube is making the tens of millions of videos it hosts more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing by putting automatic captions on them.

The Google-owned company said this use of speech recognition technology is probably the biggest experiment of its kind online. Previously captions were only on a small amount of content. Initially the feature will apply to English language videos, with other languages being added in the coming months. In November last year, YouTube rolled out automatic captions to a handful of partners including the University of California, Berkeley, Yale University and National Geographic.

YouTube said by opening all this content to those who have not really been able to access it in the past should democratize information and "help foster greater collaboration and understanding".

(Source: BBC News)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 10:59:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 06, 2010

At a computer resource center in the cultural house Sanat Gulshani, aligned with the Society of Blinds, two month courses have recently been completed instructing blind persons on how to use computers to further their careers and to ease their everyday lives.  This center, and the courses provided, have been largely due to the joint efforts of the ACCESS (Accessibility, Civic Consciousness, Employment and Social Support for Persons with Disabilities) project alongside a group dedicated to assisting the Government of Uzbekistan with the implementation of ICTs for development.  Students were instructed in the use of specially designed software such as JAWS, SARA, TOPAZ, and how to use the Internet easily and to their advantage.  One blind reporter recounted how she used to need a visually non-impaired person to help her write articles  to be published in a local journal, Bir Safda, but now not only can she create articles but she can independently design a website for the journal.

Currently, Uzbekistan operates 80 libraries for the blind, used by over 40,000 people.  The ACCESS project was approved by the Ministry of Labor in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme in 2008, and plans to operate for at least two more years.  ACCESS plans to conduct similar courses in other regions of Uzbekistan, reaching approximately 700 blind university students who have no access to assistive ICTs.  Additionally, ACCESS will work to increase public awareness of issues faced by persons with disabilities, improve accessibility around the country, assist with job placement, and other related programs.  In their future efforts, ACCESS will partner with the German Society for Technical Cooperation in Uzbekistan and the World Bank Office in Uzbekistan in order to ensure the success and efficiency of the programs.

(Sources: UzReport and UNDP Uzbekistan)

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Friday, August 06, 2010 3:37:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In May 2008, the Sichuan Province in china suffered a devastating earthquake; among the companies to quickly respond with aid was Cisco, a worldwide leader in Internet networking.  Just two months later, in July 2008, Cisco and the Government of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that established a partnership between the two institutions to bring 21st century healthcare and education systems to the region.  As this three-year partnership comes to an end, reports and data highlighting the successes of the Connecting Sichuan program are surfacing and the effects of this program are being felt throughout the province.

The education section of the MoU aimed to bridge the urban-rural digital divide in China.  Cisco's solutions focus on four key areas and applications of technology to achieve this goal: connected classrooms, connected schools, connected communities, and the Cisco Networking Academy.  To connect classrooms and schools, Cisco partnered with over 45 organizations, including ECCOM Network System Co. Ltd. to provide laptops to schools along with wireless Internet and networking capabilities.  Once teachers and schools had been actively connected, Cisco helped to create an education metropolitan area network and data center to connect the communities of the province by allowing teachers to share resources, exchange best practices, and trade tips on ways to use and integrate technology into the classroom.  The Cisco Networking Academy, which is active in 165 countries, instructs students in networking skills and ICT capabilities; through the MoU, Cisco has expanded this program to 50 universities in Sichuan.

Amongst other programs initiated through the MoU, Cisco has also focused on expanding educational opportunities for children with disabilities.  In Sichuan, Cisco helped fund, financially and technologically, the DuJiangYan Youai School, which creates a highly accessible and unique learning environment for disabled students.  This partnership between Cisco and the Chinese Government has seen much success, including the percentage of students scoring well enough to join a regional high school jumping from 3% to 31%.  As the benefits of the partnership begin to affect more than one generation of school children, the successes will continue to grow and benefit the Sichuan province as a whole.

(Sources: Cisco and ECCOM)

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:51:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 25, 2010

For persons with disabilities, particularly those with low vision, adapting to university surroundings can be a daunting task.  While many primary and secondary education institutions have specialized teachers to help those with disabilities, not every university has those same capabilities and resourses, therby possibly preventing or discouraging disabled students from attending their dream school.  Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, realized that htis obstacle is one that should be ameliorated.  Using funds from a grant from the Greene County Developmental Disabilities Board, the school is working on launching the Drury University Children's Center for the Visually Impaired.  Drury just completed the launch of a pilot program, with students ranging in age from high school freshman to local community college students.

This program is designed to help transition students from high shcool to university using a myriad of courses and technologies.  The pilot program inlcuded a technology course that instructed students on how to use a barcode scanner to identify foods and even color-code clothes.  Other technologies to which the students were introduced included a portable GPS device with Braille readers so that students could locate various campus buildings, along with a magnifying glass designed for low-vision students that is powerful enough to read something written on a white board.  While right now the program is localized, this year only students from Missouri and Arkansas participated, with donations and funding, Drury hopes to expand the program to students from other states in the upcoming years.

(Sources: News-Leader.com and Drury University)

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Friday, June 25, 2010 11:08:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in partnership with Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) organized a workshop for persons with disability called “ICT Accessibility”. The workshop which took place on 6th May 2010 at the Commonwealth Hotel Speke, Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda was intended to mainly discuss the challenges faced by PWDs globally in accessing ICTs and share knowledge of how a number of ICTs used for electronic accesssibility (e-accessibility) have and can still bridge the gap between the disabled persons and the non-disabled ones.

(Source: Women of Uganda Network)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010 3:28:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 26, 2010

For the first time in a decade, the U.S. Access Board is proposing an update to regulations covering access for disabled people for computer software, Web sites, cell phones and other IT products and devices.

On March 17, the Access Board released a draft proposal for standards for electronic and information technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.The draft “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines” reorganizes requirements by function, rather than by product type.

The goal of the guidelines is to set standards to ensure that the technologies are accessible for people with a variety of disabilities, including hearing, seeing, physical or speech-related disabilities. Technologies covered by this rulemaking include telephones, cell phones, computer hardware and software, Web sites, media players, electronic documents and other devices.

(Source: Federal Computer Week)

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Friday, March 26, 2010 1:50:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chibombo district commissioner Colonnel Philip Chabakale has said there is need for the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to embrace an all-inclusive agenda regarding access to make Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) as tools for economic development.

Officiating at a public forum organised by ZICTA in Chibombo on Saturday, Col Chabakale said his district had a large population of physically challenged citizens.“These have been incapacitated by leprosy. The current ICT tools and equipment on the Zambian market do not cater for the special needs of these citizens and yet we all know that there are assistive technologies that can enable a person without hands or fingers to use a cell phone and access the Internet,” Col Chabakale said. He implored ZICTA to consider the plight of the disabled.

(Source: The Post Online)

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Friday, March 26, 2010 1:12:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, February 07, 2010

Text-to-speech (TTS) is an application that converts text on a webpage to synthesized speech so that people unable to read the text owing to their visual impairment could understand the web content with their hearing ability. Over the years, the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) has been working very hard to provide training in this aspect for blind people.

According to MAB's ICT manager Encik Silatul Rahim bin Dahman: developed countries have made it compulsory through legislation for web content operators to conform to a set of design guidelines called the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) in order to facilitate the "reading" of their content with the help of TTS technology. For instance, every image on the web page must be tagged with an alternative text so that visually challenged web users could "listen" to the text read out to them by the speech synthesizer. Otherwise, what they might hear could just be jumbled up vocals that do not make sense to them. He pointed out that TTS is not only applicable to personal computers; it could also be applied to mobile phones.

Rahim was the first blind Malaysian to have received TTS training in the United States. He helped set up a training centre in Penang upon his return to the country in 1993, while the centre at Brickfields began its operation in 2005. Another training centre was recently set up in Kuching, Sarawak this July. "I may be 100% blind but the internet has taken away 50% of my disability," says Rahim.

Normally it takes a learner about five days to pick up the fundamental skills of surfing the net with TTS. There are some 30 computers at the centre open for visually handicapped individuals to use. There are currently 20,500 blind people registered with the Social Welfare Department, of whom some 2,000 people or about 10% have received TTS training from the MAB. Other than providing training courses for local blind people, MAB also offers courses for people from other regional countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia. In addition to IT training, MAB also provides a broad range of other services to help the blind people, including rehabilitation, recreational facilities, pre-school programmes, vocational training (woodwork, massage, reflexology, computer programming, etc.) as well as disaster relief.

Sources: MySinchew, The nut graph (image courtesy to nut graph)

Sunday, February 07, 2010 4:42:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
e-Sri Lanka is the project of government of Sri Lanka to provide access to “diverse and unrestrained” information and communication sources in a bid to strengthen democracy, peace process, quality of life and social and economic development. “Nanasala Project” refers to several models of tele-centres established all across Sri Lanka for provision of ICT based services. Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) has set up different types of Nansalas (Knowledge centers) with regards to the services being provided.
[Image:Colombo Fort Railway Station Nansala (left)

Rural Knowledge Nansalas (Vishwa Denuma Gamata or global knowledge to village) include multi-service ICT centers providing internet, telephone, fax, computer training classes and other services for socio-economic development and community empowerment.

E-library Nansala (community model) is the smaller version of the rural knowledge where few free and few paid services are provided. CBTs, books and lots of periodicals for students of all ages. The e-library concept has also been successfully evolved into mobile e-library which has solar panels on roof powering four laptops and travelling from schools to schools and village to village disseminating information to children, youth and local farmers.

Distance and e-Learning centers (DELs) provide networking facilities like Videocon, Mulitmedia and computer labs etc for connectivity to local and global development learning networks. DELs are specifically aimed at increasing skill level of the people at the suburban areas. [Image: E-learning Centre (above-right)]

Tsunami Camp Nansalas were the special types of kiosks setup in Tsunami affected areas providing information on health, education and similar content in local languages free of cost. “Tsunami Voices” database maintained records of Tsunami victims, their belongings, losses, diseases etc which was helpful in rehabilitation process. ICTA provided ICT training and vocational training to youth and got them involved in volunteer activities for making these nansalas permanent.

These Nansalas have made Sri Lanka stand tall in IT world, by empowering the disabled through ICTs for earning their livelihood and supporting the other disabled through effective use of ICTs.
They have provided equal opportunities for the visually impaired people too. [Image (above-left) Pushpa Rekha: The Nansala Operator]

These Nansalas have also empowered the women by providing them with education, employment and strong position in local communities. Several of the Nansala operators are women.


Counseling for a member of local handicapped community (right)
Sunday, February 07, 2010 9:12:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, January 31, 2010
girl without arms and legs uses computerBorn without arms and legs, Toyeeba Soumair, a girl from Narathiwat province, never thought that she would get a chance to explore the world of computers until she met HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at Baan Plug Pla School 11 years ago. That moment changed her life."Since the young girl has no arms at all, we had to design a computer which has a special switch device, which allows her to easily perform mouse functions using her shoulder with just one click," Pairach Thajchayapong, the vice chairman of the Princess's IT project, said. IT for the Disabled Program under the Princess’ IT Project in Thailand is an exemplary project to provide assistance to students with disabilities through the use of technology.

In 1998, Srisangwan School became part of this project. Computers were placed in the regular classrooms, 10 in each for grades 1 to 6. The National Electronic and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC) has provided training for teachers at Srisangwan School on how to assess the capabilities of disabled children in order to identify the most appropriate assistance for them, and on how to effectively utilize IT tools for working with disabled children. The school also receives support from physical therapists, speech therapists, special educationists, and computer instructors to create individual curricula to suit each child’s special needs and physical abilities. The computer skills of the students at Srisangwan School have been shown to be of the same standard as those of non-disabled students, and the teachers are capable of using computer-assisted instruction programs to support their own teaching.

Kawila Anukul School is a school for children with learning difficulties in Chiang Mai province. In addition to a computer workshop facility, the Program has also constructed an IT-assisted classroom at Kawila Anukull. In this classroom, computers are used as a teaching aid together with other technologies that make it possible for students with writing, speech, or learning difficulties to learn and develop necessary skills.

Source: Adapted from UNESCO Bangkok online resources
Sunday, January 31, 2010 8:08:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, January 30, 2010

Innovative use of ICTs in education ICTs are bringing revolutions in every aspect of our lives making us use technology more and more to get the best out of it. Use of ICTs in education is also creating a paradigm shift in our pedagogical methods by incorporating technology: exploiting its immense potential to invigorate the cognitive process of students; capitalizing on its ability to bridge distances and divides of time and resources, by providing equal opportunity for access; relying on its inherent capability for quick replication, in other regions – predicting that the future of education is highly coupled to technology incorporation.

Hundreds of projects are being carried out in the asia pacific region for innovative us of ICTs in education, only a few selected ones from south asia are being covered here. Dharkan 107.8 is an example of the use of radio for imparting education, general awareness and supporting health education in rural areas of Madhya Pardesh (India). Nokia’s LifeTools is an example of the ‘mobile application’ providing rural areas with services related to agriculture, education and entertainment. Digital StudyHall is a initiative combining traditional pedagogical methods with the digital recorded lectures disseminated through DVDs and small TV sets in rural areas (battery powered). UNESCO Jakarta’s (Indonesia) project to use open source software converting text to voice for visually impaired individuals is another outstanding example of how ICTs are facilitating special education. A similar project is being implemented in Pakistan for assisting the deaf through ICTs.

Google’s internet bus project is educating people about benefits of internet (education in particular) through a customized ‘internet enabled bus’ travelling from city to city. Egyankosh – a national repository, is preserving and sharing digital learning resources developed by institutions all over India and also collaborating with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and several other countries. “E-learning for Kids is a global, non-profit foundation dedicated to fun and free learning on the Internet for children ages five-to-12” providing short courses (in 5 different languages) on basic subjects e.g.Science, Mathematics, Language arts, etc and has outreached over million children in 80 countries. Solar powered ePods is an example of incorporating energy efficient solutions in education.

Saturday, January 30, 2010 1:04:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |