Workshop on Technology and Disability in the Developing World - 2010


Friday, June 18th, 2010 – University of Washington, Seattle, WA

(All videos have English language captioning)

Morning Session

Becky Matter & Joyojeet Pal. "Introduction" (Video)

Bridgett Perry , MA, Director and Founder of Community Inclusion Through Technology International (CITTI Project). “Adaptations For People With Disabilities In the Developing World: A Collaborative Model In Latin America” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

The CITTI Project is building capacity in developing countries to create economic, sustainable adaptations, enabling people to participate more fully at home, school, and in the workforce. We address obligations set forth by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to promote the availability of assistive technology (AT) and give priority to low-cost technologies. Moreover, we leverage the power of simple adaptive aides to demonstrate how disability is a social construct that can change as members of communities witness individuals with disabilities to be more capable. Anecdotal stories of people experiencing a shift in their own expectations and attitudes about people with disabilities will be shared. We will describe our current collaborative model in Ecuador where we lead hands-on workshops to make adaptations from local materials, establish adaptation libraries to display samples for replication, and distribute our publication, A Visual Guide of Adaptations for People with Disabilities. The Guide illustrates in photos how to create adaptations. Our goal is to extend our program to the poorest countries in Latin American with an expectation of directly influencing the lives of an estimated 2.74 million people with disabilities.

Johan Borg , MSc, Lund University, Sweden. “Outcomes of Assistive Technology Use in Low-Income Countries: Findings from Bangladesh” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Little is known about outcomes of AT use in low-income countries and factors affecting those outcomes. Such knowledge is crucial when planning to meet the requirements stipulated by the CRPD. This presentation focuses on a research project designed to explore self-reported outcomes of hearing aid and wheelchair use in Bangladesh and to identify service delivery factors significantly related to them. Data was collected through interviews from 138 hearing aid users and 151 wheelchair users. Data indicates that the environment and its accessibility may impact the outcomes and therefore should be considered when providing assistive technology, particularly wheelchairs.

Darren Zook , Political Science, University of California, Berkeley. “Assistive Technologies and Disability in Cambodia: Integration and Immersion in a Low-Resource Environment” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

While many of the advances in the field of AT have been nothing short of remarkable, showing tremendous and productive promise to change radically the lives of persons with disabilities, many of these technologies remain beyond the reach of individuals and institutions in countries with scarce resources. Cambodia is a particularly salient example of the types of challenges that countries in low-resource situations face, especially considering its exceptionally high numbers of persons with both physical and cognitive disabilities. Charitable organizations and related NGOs can bring additional resources into this environment, but excessive reliance on outside actors can also create problems of weak governance and institutional atrophy. Using specific examples from field-work conducted in Cambodia, this presentation will focus on the accomplishments of and challenges for the implementation of assistive technologies in Cambodia in furthering the work of integration and immersion of persons with disabilities in all sectors of Cambodian life.

Raymond Pye, Director of Programs, Prosthetics Outreach Foundation, Seattle, WA. “Development of Locally Manufactured Prosthetic Technology in Developing Countries” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

In an effort to assist developing countries to become self-sufficient in providing appropriate clinical services for their amputee population, local design and manufacturing of prosthetic technology such as feet and knee joints is an important first step. This presentation will focus on Prosthetics Outreach Foundation AT development in Vietnam and Sierra Leone – work that can be applicable to prosthetic technology development in many low-resources regions around the world.

Deepti Samant. MS (RC), MS (ECE), Senior Research Associate, Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University; Becky Matter, MA, Center for Technology & Disability Studies, University of Washington. “Innovative Approaches to AT Acquisition & Information Dissemination” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Several different approaches are used to get AT to users in developing countries from charity based approaches to entrepreneurial innovations as well as to increase awareness and knowledge about available AT resources. The aims of this presentation are to examine the diversity of ways users acquire AT and receive related information, and consider the effectiveness of different approaches. Examples of innovative AT initiatives will be presented, many of which are included in the display area.

Afternoon Session

Cliff Missen, Director of the WiderNet Project, University of Iowa; Andrea Shettle, Program Manager of the Global Disability Rights Library at the United States International Council on Disabilities. “Where there is No Internet: Making the Information Age Accessible to People with Disabilities without the Web” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

This presentation will demonstrate the eGranary Digital Library (GDRL), the field-tested information delivery technology that undergirds this effort, and discuss how the GDRL project is meant to improve the lives of people with disabilities by making it easier for them to access the knowledge they need on disability rights and advocacy. The library will be an enhanced version of WiderNet’s eGranary Digital Library, an off-line information storage and collaboration platform that provides Internet-like access to digital resources without requiring Internet connectivity. Using a laptop and a portable eGranary Digital Library, presenters will explain and demonstrate the technology behind the eGranary with examples of the types of resources that will be gathered during the project. They will also discuss how the library will be deployed, particularly for DPOs and other organizations in developing countries that have no Internet access. The presentation will include a live demonstration of downloading and installing accessibility software from the eGranary to the demonstration laptop.

Andrew Jung, OTD, Senior Researcher, The Korean QoLT Project. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.“Introduction of Korean Government Policy and National Agency Program for ICT Accessibility in Developing Countries” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

The South Korean government established a national policy to promote the deployment of information technology in the public and private sectors since 1987. One main goal of this policy is to establish an equitable information access environment for everyone to utilize ICT technology free of regional, physical and economic barriers. Establishing a national agency: NIA (National Information Society Agency,) ensured the implementation of a national policy. The national agency leads many IT training or competition events for people with disabilities, and an ICT accessibility standard forum. The agency assisted in purchasing devices for computer access and distributed these devices to people with disabilities for free or for a minimum charge. About 1000 information access centers for IT education and Internet access have been established in South Korea and the centers provide opportunities for people with disabilities to learn and experience new computing and information technology. A computer recycling program by NIA enabled local centers to collect used PCs from the government, public organizations and private enterprises. The collected PCs were given free of charge to the under-served population such as individuals with disabilities, and people with low incomes. Much training and consulting regarding ICT accessibility is provided by Internet webpages. Currently, NIA has extended their national work toward helping developing countries establish local Information Access Centers (IAC) in 18 different developing countries; Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Morocco, Romania, Egypt, Philippines, Bulgaria, Laos, and Tunisia, etc. The unique characteristic of South Korea’s national agency program for ICT accessibility and international collaboration between developing countries will be discussed.

Sharan Brown,  J.D., Ed. D. Center for Technology & Disability Studies, University of Washington. “International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Implementing AT Articles” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a comprehensive human rights document addressing discrimination on the basis of disability. It unequivocally states that all individuals—regardless of the type or degree of impairment—must be allowed to exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Articles 9, 20 and 21 specifically address assistive and information technologies (AT and IT), and other articles explicitly address the obligation of states parties to provide appropriate adaptations, which can include AT and IT, if necessary to allow persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights. This presentation will provide an overview of the CRPD and articles relevant to AT and IT. It will also address the social development theme that is central to the Convention in order to understand how the CRPD can be effective in expanding opportunities for individuals with disabilities throughout the world.

Deepti Samant. MS (RC), MS (ECE), Senior Research Associate, Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University. “ Developing a Framework to Identify and Evaluate Optimal Models of Providing AT in Resource-Limited Environments” (Video: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

A wide range of factors come into play in creating an appropriate model or program to improve access to and acquisition of AT in resource limited environments including personal needs, local culture and context, socioeconomic conditions, and environmental, infrastructural, and geographic factors. This presentation looks into the development of a comprehensive, “multi-lens,” quality indicators framework to assess the impact and effectiveness of new or multi-modal models for delivering AT from four different perspectives: (1) “Input to Sustainability,” which considers engineering/quality control and economic sustainability, (2) “Consumer,” which considers consumer empowerment and needs, service delivery mechanisms, and knowledge awareness, (3) “Context,” which considers both the government/political context and the cultural/anthropological context, and (4) “Impact,” which considers outcomes for both a person and their community related to employment and community participation.

Recommendations for Next Steps (Video: Part 1, Part 2)