Update: UNESCO/Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

Just to note that there is a new deadline of 14/10/16 for nominations for the 2016 UNESCO/ Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities http://en.unesco.org/prizes/digital-empowerment – do please consider applying or suggest nominations.  It is a great opportunity to raise the profile of institutional and individual successes in using ICTs to empower people with disabilities.

UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

UNESCO has just announced the launch of the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, the closing date for which is 9th September 2016.  Key points about the Prize are as follows:

  • The UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (hereafter the Prize) is to:

    • recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations in promoting the inclusion;
    • and enhancing the lives of persons with disabilities through the application of digital solutions, resources and technologies.

    In line with UNESCO’s strategic objectives and especially the Major Programme Communication and Information, this includes translating human rights and fundamental freedoms into action, with a particular emphasis on removing barriers to enable greater access to information and knowledge, as well as learning and participation in society through the effective application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

    The Prize has also direct thematic linkages to other UNESCO’s Major Programmes.

  • UNESCO awards the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities every two years. All individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations active in the field of inclusion of persons with disabilities in society can present themselves as eligible candidates.  UNESCO’s Member States, UNESCO’s National Commissions and Non-Governmental Organizations in official partnership with UNESCO are invited to solicit, nominate and submit candidates for the Prize.
  • In order to participate, all applications must be endorsed by the Government of a Member State in consultation with its National Commission for UNESCO. The relevant non-governmental organizations maintaining official partnerships with UNESCO could also endorse applications. Therefore, Member States need to submit a written recommendation in support of the candidate’s project. Self-endorsements cannot be considered.

Please share this information and UNESCO’s link to the Prize as widely as possible.

Tawasol – Arabic/English bilingual symbol dictionary

Tawasol: A really useful resource for those with communication and literacy challenges at the interface between the Arabic and English worlds.  It is a bilingual Arabic / English symbol dictionary of the most frequently used words in spoken and written communication (Tawasol in Arabic) represented by images and pictograms. It is hoped the freely available symbols designed in Doha with the support of a Qatar National Research Fund project can become part of a toolkit of strategies to benefit those with communication and literacy difficulties.

Key-readings on ICT use by people with disabilities

I’ve just updated the page of key readings on ICT use by people with disabilities – https://disabilityict4d.wordpress.com/key-readings/.  These are publications that I have found to be useful, but I know that there is much more good literature out there.  Please do add suggestions in the comments section  beneath, and I will add the best of these to the list!  Thanks in anticipation!

AGFUND award for Empowerment and Social Integration of Refugees and Internally Displaced people

The Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) is pleased to invite the UN, international and regional organizations, ministries and public institutions, national NGOs and qualified experts worldwide to submit nominations as deemed eligible for the 2016 AGFUND International Prize for Pioneering Human Development in the field of “Empowerment and Social Integration of Refugees and Internally Displaced people”.
As this invitation is open to all regions of the world, I would appreciate very much your cooperation in circulating the Press Release copied below (Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese) through your network and mailing list.

For more information, please visit AGFUND website http://agfund.org/

From Nabil Eid – people with disabilities and teleworking

13006656_1721388061464890_4359206595524278481_nThis is the text of a recent post on Facebook from Nabil Eid, who has done much to champion the use of ICTs by people with disabilities:

“Dear friends, kindly find my blog this week at Telecentre.org http://bit.ly/1qPWsSQ . Hope to get your opinion!
A new survey around telecommuting indicates that 81% of professionals with disabilities would like to teleworking, at least part time.
Today’s ICT innovation is changing the world, world of Assistive Technology (AT) and high-speed Internet access mean new choices and good paying options for people who want the flexibility and convenience of careers that don’t require commuting to an office, or working for someone else.
It is a possible form of employment for persons with disabilities provided care is taken over selection of workers, identification of work that is suited to the telework format and management of telework units by employers.
‪#‎Teleworking‬ ‪#‎Telework‬ ‪#‎employment‬ ‪#‎telecommuting‬ ‪#‎Remote_working‬ ‪#‎Job‬ ‪#‎Disability‬ ‪#‎PWD‬ ‪#‎persons_with_disabilities‬ ‪#‎working_at_home‬ ‪#‎Assistive‬ ‪#‎technology‬ ‪#‎AT‬ ‪#‎ICT‬ ‪#‎accessibility‬ ‪#‎A11y‬ ‪#‎Middle_East‬ ‪#‎MENA‬ ‪#‎Arab_sates‬

Vashkar Bhattacharjee

Great to see this new story from the Daisy Consortium about the great work being done by Vashkar Bhattacharjee and the YPSA: “Vashkar Bhattacharjee has climbed what would seem to many people around the world as an unscalable summit. His achievements are many, and he continues to strive to improve the lives of people with disabilities in his country, Bangladesh. Vashkar has attended numerous international conferences and has, on behalf of his organization, YPSA, received several awards in recognition of their accomplishments. The odds against this are very high. In his story Vashkar tells us how he overcame those odds.

I still remember how inspirational he was at the ICTD2010 conference that we ran at Royal Holloway, University of London!

Refurbished assistive technology

I have long thought that it is close to obscene that ICTs designed to suport people with disabilities are often much more expensive than the standard computers and mobile ‘phones that most of us take for granted. In large part, this is because of relatively low demand for assistive technologies.

However, ICTs can transform the lives of people with serious disabilities much more than they can help those of us who have fewer disabilities. There is a huge debate about the value (or otherwise) of refurbished computers being sent to the poorer countries of the world – and there are clearly examples of good and bad practices in this field. Ideally we should strive to bring down prices of assistive technology so that people in poorer countries can afford them – but the reality is that this is unlikely to happen. It is great to see some companies such as Apple, building its universal access software into every computer it sells – but everyone is not so enlightened.

I am therefore exploring the possibility of working with companies producing assistive technology hardware and existing computer refurbishment organisations to collect and distribute such hardware to people in the poorer countries of the world. I would be really interested in people’s thoughts on this – and particularly on offers of help.

In the meanwhile, the ICT4D Collective has a page on accessibility/disability which might be of interest to readers of this blog!