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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ICTs – Providing Opportunities for the Invisible 1 Billion

We have briefly discussed how disability-inclusive ICT4D programmes can benefit people with disabilities. In this blog post, I briefly want to explore two ICT mediums, websites and mobile devices, in order to understand how they can facilitate access to social and economic activities for people with disabilities.

Websites – Facilitating access to socio-cultural, economic and educational activities

With the increased proliferation of web-based services, there is no doubt that the internet is an important part of people’s everyday lives. We use websites to browse and read news, connect with likeminded, do our banking, and look up all sorts of information. Websites can also provide visual, audio and text output on demand and offer multimedia input opportunities for users.

Through the internet, users can participate remotely in a variety of activities, ranging from education, employment, economic and government services, to consumer activities. There are also a vast number of opportunities for social participation through engaging in social networks, accessing video, audio and text communication, cloud-based sharing and other types of media interaction.  Websites, as such, are acting as critical facilitators for accessing social and economic activities. 

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ICT4DD in Action: VSO Ghana

Welcome to the first of three posts in my mini series “ICT4DD in Action”. The extra ‘D’ in the acronym is no typo- it adds to the typically seen ICT4D to make ‘Information and Communications Technologies for Development and Disabilities”. This series will let us dive in and take a look at how current aid organizations are using ICTs to help those living with disabilities today. ICTs are critical to those living with disabilities, and are key to breaking the cycle of poverty for those living in developing countries.

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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”

Dis-abilities & Cap-abilities

What are we talking about when we talk about disability?

Disability is a constantly evolving concept. There are many different definitions of disability and the language used around the concept changes rapidly. Persons with disabilities are far from being a homogenous group since the notion of disability accommodates at least 1 billion different lived experiences. All of this makes the understanding of disability complicated and the goals of disability-inclusive development hard to define.

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Digital Empowerment – Reaching the Invisible 1 Billion

As we have noted, a sound global development agenda can’t ignore disabilities. The UNDP actively promotes ICT4D as a powerful tool for economic and social development around the world. The aim of ICT4D is to bridge the digital divide between the majority and minority world. The rationale behind is that ensuring equitable access to up-to-date communication technologies will aid economic development, but it is evident that some people’s economic development will be excluded if the programmes themselves are not inclusive. Continue reading “Digital Empowerment – Reaching the Invisible 1 Billion”

Becoming Part of the Solution

Welcome to our blog: The Invisible 1 Billion! This blog is the outcome of an academic assignment at the Communication for Development Master Programme at Malmö University, Sweden. Yet, it is a real blog, a voice in the world, as real as any other voice being shaped on the internet. The blog will become one tiny part of the broad discussion on development and ICT (Information and Communications Technology). And at the very moment anyone reads this first post, like you do now, no matter how much a drop in the ocean it feels like, this blog becomes part of creating the values and norms surrounding ICT4D (Information and Communications Technology for Development). Continue reading “Becoming Part of the Solution”