ICT Accessibility for Women with Disabilities
23-25 March 2022
This 48-hour hackhaton was hosted by Blitab Technology Gmbh on 23-25 March 2022 with the theme “ICT Accessibility for Women with Disabilities”. Due to COVID restrictions in Austria this event was organized online using the MURAL collaboration digital tool that brought together 5 participants in an interactive platform. Two winnings solutions was selected by the jury.
Winning team & solution (1): Khwela Womxn – a program that changes communities by facilitating experiential learning and helping womxn to equip themselves with such opportunities.
© Grizelda La Cock (Operations, Project management, Marketing) and Angela Shar (Women in tech-enterpreneurship, Non-profit, Diversity, Fundraising, Community building)
Khwela Womxn is a program that changes communities by facilitating experiential learning and helping womxn to equip themselves with such opportunities. The objective is to establish a virtual community of 100,000 self-empowered womxn, who can act as multiplier and inspire others. In the first two years, 80% of the Khwela participants on average went from being unemployed to finding work in the tourism industry.
Khwela means “to climb” in isiXhosa, one of the widely spoken languages of South Africa, and the mother tongue of one of Khwela’s co-founders, Asanda Daraza. Travelling is truly transformative, and through travel women from under-resourced communities in Cape Town can shift their world view, embrace a growth mindset, learn from experience and gain the skills to work in the tourism industry.
Womxn is an alternative spelling of the English word woman. Womxn has been found in writing since the 1970s, along with the term womyn, to avoid perceived sexism in the standard spelling, which contains the word “man”.
A dedicated internet site was created by the team: Khwela Womxn
Winning team & solution (2): ACHERU – IT programs that can help a child with learning ability or use digital learning and at the same time support their mothers or women beneficiaries.
© Joyce Kayaga (Accessibility, Services for people in needs, diversity, non-profit fundraising) and Herman Bukenya ( ICT infrastructure and services)
Afaayo Child Health Education and Rehabilitation Unit (ACHERU) is a leading Christian Rehabilitation Centre that rehabilitates and educates children with physical and mental disability all over Uganda in the past 12 years. It has reduced impairments among children under 18 years by assessing, providing education, correcting deformities, referring and follow up after treatment to have quality life. ACHERU has so far supported over 1000 children all over the country by working as team with other partners. The organization has well established health, education and rehabilitation unit located at Kabembe in Mukono District. The centre also runs outreach programs and promoting women empowerment through team building.
Women and girls with disability are still discriminated in some families thus leading to gender inequality; child abuse and domestic violence and at most instances men have abandoned these families to leave mothers single with their children and sometimes children have been taken to their grandmothers.
ACHERU proposes the development of IT programs that can help a child with learning ability or use digital learning and at the same time support their mothers or women beneficiaries. These include software like:
1) Early reading, phonics software, spelling test generator and inspiration software which is a powerful learning tool that inspires a student to develop ideas and organize their thoughts, screen magnifier, educational games, and others.
2) Accessible digital content in the form of an online platform for both children and their mothers where they can access educational and learning materials like e-books for free. It will help to improve the level of literacy, learn income generating skills like waving and bead designing.
3) Community E-Library to help women and children with disabilities to access information and learn with the help of e-libraries as they don’t have the ICT gadgets to access the information via internet.
4) Assistive technology devices such as portable note-takers, handheld spell checkers and speaking dictionaries offer students with disabilities flexibility and assistance when they are away from a computer hence improving on their learning abilities.
Since some of the girls and mothers have not been to school to learn English, there is need to translate all these software in the local language to move at the same pace with those who have studied before.
ACHERU is currently lacking IT gadgets like smartphones, computers to support IT inclusion of women and girls although they have been planning this since 2019. By 2024, they would like to integrate information technology to support more women and children especially girls for entrepreneurship development.