By Nabil Eid, guest blogger. Nabil Eid is an ICT Accessibility consultant in the Middle East, as well as a Middle East Specialist at Telecentre Foundation. Telecentre Foundation (TCF) is an international organization as well as a global network of people and organizations that believe information, communication technologies (ICT) and the Internet have the power to nurture local talent, empower communities and create new opportunities for all. Contact Nabil at neid@telecentre.org or follow him on Twitter @nabileid1. The research study investigates a model of delivering assistive technology training, ICTs and IT skills to women with disabilities with a variety of disabilities who are enrolled in telecentres, knowledge centers, ICT access point centers and others. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be used in the most effective ways for education and training of (young) women with disabilities in the Middle East. The digital literacy needs of women with disabilities are extremely diverse. As with all other members of society, young women with disabilities must acquire the knowledge and skills required for the community in which they live. The application of ICT is very important as it plays an essential role in supporting high quality education for women with disabilities learners. The advantages of ICT usage in the teaching and learning process are based on the possibilities it offers for alternative means of communication, providing access to educational resources in a more convenient way and to enhancing learning motivation. Women with disabilities are more likely to face poverty, unemployment and under-education than their male counterparts. This means they are less likely to have access to ICT, which, in turn, means they are less likely to overcome socioeconomic barriers. ICT & Assistive Technology (AT) are offering new opportunities for everyone, specifically for women with disabilities. They can use ICT and AT for daily activities to a higher extent than people in general. Assistive technology adapted to the abilities of everyone, disabled end-users would be able to participate to all aspects of social life on more equal terms than ever before. It is vital for girl’s’ students with disabilities to benefit, on an equal basis, from rapid development of Information Communication Technologies to enter an inclusive and barrier-free Information Society. Today with the advent of (ICTs), new hopes are emerging for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). In spite of the huge challenges, sincere efforts are being undertaken to involve ICTs to counter issues around disability. The information society represents at once significant opportunities but also potential new barriers for the social inclusion of disabled people.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

We need information and knowledge to get our basic needs met, make decision, move around, participate in social, economic and cultural activities. ICT is of course an enabling technology and we should not lose sight of this fact. If it is not properly planned, managed and implemented, it might throw us into social gaps or the ‘digital divide’. The use (ICTs) in the field of learning and education is very high on the political agendas of countries and we are required a lots of efforts at national, regional and global level to address the special requirements of women with disabilities, using appropriate educational, administrative and legislative measures to ensure their full inclusion. ICT&AT for development of female students with disabilities is adopting feasible techniques to attain the maximum benefit in addition the use of Assistive Technology (AT) can increase their capabilities and independence in both in and out of school settings. The items can be used for communication and productive or to provide an individual with an opportunity to experience recreational opportunities. Individuals with serious sensory disabilities such as physical disabilities, visual impairments or deafness have benefited more than any other group of individuals from advances in assistive technologies. The advances in technology for these individuals can lead to increased productivity, employment and recreation opportunities. Some progress towards disability inclusive development; there have been very few initiatives aimed to include disability in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “Education for All.”

ICT Providing Computer Accessibility for Women with Disabilities

For intensive exchanges of knowledge and experience in promoting awareness, planning and developing accessible ICTs solutions in the context of sustainable and equitable development for present and future generations. To address the digital divide faced by women with disabilities in the world and to promote the digital opportunities of Women with Disabilities, the decisions and declarations adopted a set of recommendations including the definitions of Women with Disabilities, (ICT) “and “Accessibility”. “Accessibility” can readily be reached or used by Women with Physical Disabilities, Blind and Visual Impairments, Intellectual and Hearing Disabilities. Also, Learning Disabilities, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome and Dyslexia. The role of ICT is promoted to enhance teaching, learning and explore the following issues relating to how ICT enhances learning, and it will also explore how ICT enriches the learning opportunities and potential of women who have disabilities. It is largely a software concern; when software, hardware, or a combination of hardware and software, is used to enable use of a computer by a woman with a disability. Use ICTs & AT in digital literacy to achieve more:

  • ICT can help females with disabilities to provide access to learning.
  • ICT can provide support for learning.
  • ICT can help females with disabilities teachers and promote their skills.
  • ICT help female students to merge in their local society.

The People are the real wealth of nation

ICT is providing opportunities and making life easier for the women with disabilities by innovations in quick successions. Women with disabilities are now able to communicate with each other and learn through tools of Assistive Technology (AT) and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Despite the fact that AT&ICT are helping females with disabilities to learn and interact, there are some barriers that come in the way of the disabled to take advantage of the wonderful technologies. People with disabilities should have the same rights to participate in the Information Society as other citizens. ICT accessibility should be tools that help overcome barriers they face in education, the workplace and social life.