In Rwanda, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is singled out as a priority that can change dramatically the society. ICT can contribute towards creating employment and generating incomes, including disadvantaged communities, notably among women, youth, and persons with disabilities. The government is thus undertaking several initiatives for ICT to be accessible and making significant improvements in the lives of these persons, allowing them to enhance their social and economic integration in communities by enlarging the scope of activities available to them.
The Governments have the following general obligations towards the access to Internet for Persons with Disability and Specific Needs:
1.1. To establish the institution framework with the authority and enthusiasm to drive the advocacy and an accessibility agenda for persons with disabilities.
1.2. Formulating a government information technology policy, strategy and regulatory framework to include people with disabilities. This plan should be formulated to include all types of information, not just web-based. It should show great understanding of the concept of including everyone in the digital economy.
1.3. Government and business use of ICT procurement to encourage inclusive design. Where solutions are developed out of house or purchased off the shelf, it is important to consider accessibility as early as possible in the procurement process.
1.4. Effective training programs on e-inclusion for governments, the private sector and civil society.
1.5. The government and the Universal Access Funds can be used effectively to support all underserved people, including those with disabilities and establish special tele-centres for people with disabilities and specific needs and support the association of people with disabilities to acquire appropriate equipment.
1.6. To implement and enforce the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that are part of a series of Web accessibility guidelines published by the Web accessibility Initiatives (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web.
1.7. To avail assistive technology software such as screen readers, screen magnifiers and onscreen keyboards as either proprietary or open source products.
1.8. Instructions on building government Web sites that are accessible to the largest number of people possible -- disabled or not.
1.9. To avail ICT equipments, applications and assistive technology that can meet the special needs of persons with disabilities and specific needs.
Governments, Civil Society Organizations and Persons with Disabilities and special needs’ organizations should combine efforts to address the challenges, fill the gaps and implement the inclusive ICT policies and strategies.
Rwanda recognizes that the Internet is growing at a rate higher than anyone could have predicted. If people with disabilities worldwide estimated at 15% by World health Survey are not included in the burgeoning world digital economy, they will be left further behind than they are now. The loss of these opportunities will make a difficult existence even worse and prevent many from being productive members of society.
The details are included in the main document herewith attached for further reference.