Addressing Disability in Digital Tech Response to Covid-19

ICT4D Conference Webinar Series

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Resources Shared

These free resources, including the self-paced online trainings ICT Accessibility: The key to inclusive communication and Web Accessibility: The cornerstone of an inclusive digital society, aim to support decision-makers in the design and implementation of policies and strategies that guarantee the full participation and inclusion of every person in their societies.

Given the vital role of inclusive digital communication during the pandemic, ITU also developed guidelines for decision-makers and communicators on making digital information, services and products accessible to all people, including persons with disabilities, in the context of crisis situations such as Covid-19. These guidelines are available in all UN official languages, as well as in 22 other languages. A related online training on ensuring inclusive digital communication during crisis and emergency situations was also released as part of the Accessible Americas regional forum, and is freely available through the ITU Academy in English, French, and Spanish. 

On one hand, the increased use of technology exacerbates long-standing problems and disadvantages for people with disabilities. But on the other hand, digital innovation holds enormous promise for helping them to better cope with, and perhaps even thrive during the pandemic.

This webinar, part of a monthly ICT4D webinar series, is for program managers or digital solution designers who work at development, humanitarian, or tech organizations, and are learning from accessibility and inclusion experts about how technology can support accessibility and disability inclusion.

Short presentations on:

  1. What accessible ICT means for people with disabilities in Africa? Hear insights from Project Enable Africa, an initiative that promotes digital inclusion in Nigeria. www.projectenableafrica.org
  2. Digital innovations to support children with disabilities, especially during physical distancing and remote programming. Learn good practice from using assistive technology for creating, including learning environments, like the Orbit Reader 20: https://en.unesco.org/news/inclusive-education-stories-field
  3. Leveraging the potential of mobile technology for people with disabilities.

Followed by panel discussion:

  • How to create awareness? What could our sector, organizations or individuals do better?
  • How has the pandemic changed your work? What are your lessons learned from last year?
  • Where do you see the most potential for emerging technology to support people with disabilities and help bridging the gap? What is the potential of AI and virtual reality? What does the future hold for digital accessibility?


Clara Aranda-Jan, PhD, Insights Manager, Mobile for Development, GSMA 

Everlyne Mtange, Project Coordinator, Strengthening Curriculum Access and Assistive Technologies, Leonard Cheshire

Olusola Owonikoko, Project Director, Project Enable Africa, Executive Director, Stanforte Edge

Pauline Okach, Teacher, Nyasare Primary School (Migori County, Kenya)


Sonja Ruetzel, ICT4D Partnerships and Conference Manager, Catholic Relief Services


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