Humanitarian Intervention and ICTs in Indonesia

Welcome back to the ICT4D Disability Kaleidoscope. In this fourth and final post, I will connect many of the points made in the previous posts of this mini-series by focusing on the humanitarian intervention in Indonesia after the country was recently hit by a series of earthquakes, aftershocks and a devastating tsunami. With this post, I don’t claim to fully cover the event or all discussions at stake. Rather, I want to invite you to reflect upon ICT4D tools in light of disaster interventions by considering the fact that current humanitarian interventions and reports show that there is still much to do before the invisible 1 billion become visible in disaster situations and subsequent interventions.

“What you cannot see are “hidden persons” who have
no access to humanitarian asisstance although their
needs are amongst the highest. These “hidden persons”
might include older people or persons with disabilities.” (ASB)

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Mainstreaming Disability – ICTs for an Alternative Account

In my first post, I have been writing on the three As focusing on assistive technologies for people with disabilities. In my second post, I have been switching perspectives, considering how ICTs can be a helpful tool for aid workers in performing inclusive interventions.

Today’s post is again changing the vision as if we would put the different aspects of disability, ICT and development into a kaleidoscope. This post will focus on how ICTs can become a platform for alternative accounts of disability offered by disabled people themselves thus challenging the perspectives and opinions many people have about disabilities.

Have you heard about the strategy of Mainstreaming Disability?

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ICTs in Disability-inclusive Guidance for Humanitarian Aid Workers

There are many ways in which ICTs can be deployed in improving conditions for disabled people. By now, we have mostly talked about digital assistive technology and the access to and availability of such technologies. Additionally, and regarded from a more general perspective, ICTs are often used to gather information about the different populations in need. You can see this is in humanitarian interventions, where experts carry out geospatial mapping initiatives, as for instance after typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines.

However, in this post, I would like to flip the coin: how about guidance technology for humanitarian aid workers aiming at implementing disability-inclusive interventions? This post is going to present some of the discussions and current developments of such disability-inclusive guidance and the role of ICTs.

In alignment with other reports, the UN highlights in its recommendation section of a report delivered on Disability in Humanitarian Contexts that local and international NGOs and humanitarian organizations should “sensitise staff and strengthen their capacity to identify and include persons with disabilities [in humanitarian interventions] through training”. Although different organizations and frameworks such as the Sendai Framework have highlighted the importance to include people with all abilities in interventions, people with disabilities are facing many difficulties in accessing support during humanitarian crisis. This situation also has an impact on the long-term development of people with disabilities after the crisis situation. For example, if assistance to health care cannot be provided throughout a crisis situation due to services not being disability-inclusive, long-term effects can be severe.

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The Three As – Availability, Accessibility & Affordability

Whenever we think about poverty, we know that there are many definitions and discussions surrounding this concept, but I will share with you the idea of Amartya Sen. He defines poverty as the capacity an individual has to live his/her life in meaningfulness based on the requirement that “all human beings must have a minimum level of food intake, shelter, education and health to function as humans”. Continue reading “The Three As – Availability, Accessibility & Affordability”