Satish Babu, InSight Project, India
“The InSight Project: Mainstreaming Access to ICTs for the Differently-abled”
The InSight project was motivated by an affirmative policy of the Government of Kerala, formulated in 2007, that called for access to ICTs to all, and in particular to the differently-abled, who were traditionally denied access to these critical resources. The State policy also was aligned with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), as it was felt that FOSS not only upheld the liberty of communities and peoples, but also provided cost-effective solutions for grassroots-level problems.
InSight, launched in 2007, was the joint effort of the Kerala State IT Mission, and the Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment (SPACE), an NGO working with FOSS.
The project had the following objectives vis-a-vis the differently-abled:
Activities under the project included:
- Provide easy, low-cost accessibility to ICTs
- Ensure enhancement of the quality of life using ICTs
- Enhance employability
- Local R & D for the gap-filling for the FOSS-based software stack
- Training and capacity building (master trainers and trainers)
- Lobbying and advocacy, especially for employment generation
- Content generation and dissemination, including a CD-based audio magazine and audio textbooks for schools
- Rolling out to villages over the entire state, through the village-level Akshaya program that aims at ensuring access to ICT services for the last (for first) mile
InSight has linked up with several institutions and individuals in these five years of its existence, including Dr. Arun Mehta, a member of DCAD.
Future plans of InSight include the use of community radio as an outreach tool, creating software for education of autistic children, and preliminary activities in working with MR children.
Fernando Botelho, Literacy Bridge, Brazil
“Low-Cost Assistive Technologies that can Scale to Meet the International Accessibility Challenge”
An estimated 80% of all persons with disabilities live in developing countries and the vast majority cannot afford traditional assistive technologies. Even for the small minority that can use expensive technologies at local NGOs, the cost barrier re-emerges as soon as they attempt to pursue educational, internship, or employment opportunities outside these organizations. Therefore, the vast majority of persons with disabilities need public policies that do not depend on donations but rely on technology that can be scaled despite limited resources.
This presentation will present not just the types of projects that can have the greatest impact at the lowest cost, but also which are most conducive to international cooperation so that on-going development and localization can be ensured.
Martin Gould, G3ict, USA
“G3ict 2010 Survey - CRPD ICT Accessibility Progress Report”
G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, recently released the first edition of the “CRPD Progress Report on ICT Accessibility,” .This report is the first measurement of the degree to which the CRPD is currently implemented globally and a world premiere .
The “CRPD Progress Report on ICT Accessibility” is a unique benchmark to make sure that persons with disabilities can enjoy in their respective countries, on an equal basis with others, access to all new media, information and communication technologies, and assistive technologies.
G3ict has also recently launched the 2011 survey data collection with Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) and expects to expand the number of participating countries in keeping with the ever increasing number of ratifications to the CRPD. Participations in the survey and consultations will be done via two questionnaires to prepare the 2011 CRPD Progress Report.
G3ict’s portion of the panel presentation will relate a brief top level review of the 2010 G3ict Progress report’s findings around compliance and best practices by countries with the CRPD’s ICT mandates, and will describe the road ahead for the 2011 Progress Report. The description of the road ahead will highlight the methodological changes to the two surveys used, the rational for these changes, and the expectations for capturing valuable information about country specific best practices.
Hiroshi Kawamura, DAISY Consortium, Japan
“Implementing Accessibility in Published Knowledge DAISY4 and EPUB3 Development”
The DAISY Consortium has been developing accessibility standards for digital publications to meet the requirements of persons with print disabilities. Mainstreaming is the strategic target of the DAISY Consortium to realize the inclusive society where everybody including persons with print disabilities may share published information at the same time of publication without any delay or extra cost.
The DAISY Consortium and the International Digital Publishing Forum are collaborating to develop EPUB3 which incorporates accessibility and navigation technology developed by the DAISY Consortium. The speaker will outline the work done by the DAISY Consortium to implement the plan of actions of the World Summit on the Information Society and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the digital publishing standard world. DAISY Showcases such as HIV/AIDS Resource Manual development in South Africa and Lifesaving Information for Disaster Victims in Japan will be presented.
Christophe Oulé, UN-ABPAM, Burkina Faso
“Cybercafés as a tool for Inclusion: a project in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso”
At the ITU workshop on accessibility held in Bamako, Mali, from 13 to 15 October 2009, we announced the establishment of an accessible cybercafé for the sight-impaired, at the headquarters of the National Union of Burkinabé Associations for the Promotion of the Blind and Sight-impaired (UN ABPAM) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The cybercafé came into being in July 2010, with the support of the Government of Burkina Faso and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
With increasing numbers of sight-impaired students going to university seeking employment after graduation, we regard ICTs as an obvious tool for inclusion.
The equipment supplied by ITU has enabled us to equip our cybercafé with computers designed for the sight-impaired.
Persons with sight disabilities attending our accessible IT training centre now have a suitable environment in which to undertake research, communicate over the Internet, process their documents, ...
Our cybercafé is a means of raising awareness ... because it is open to sighted persons, who then realize that the blind can easily perform many tasks just as well as them. With this tool, we nurture the hope that some of our members will make their way onto the verges of the information highway!