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Making themselves heard: deaf people in India during the global COVID-19 pandemic

GULYANI, Ritika
2021

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The onset of the sudden and global pandemic, COVID-19, has forced all of us to change our ways of living and interacting with the outside world. Additionally, a lot of restrictions on movement mandated by governments have also been issued in the past few months. In the context of India, a nationwide lockdown was in place from midmarch till the end of May. These lock-downs have had serious consequences for various segments of the population across the country, especially, those on the margins, who are vulnerable and/or in a minority. One such segment has been the disabled population. This paper, with the help of narratives, addresses the challenges faced by the deaf population during the COVID crisis and the ways in which they have negotiated these. There has been a big void in the dissemination of information to the deaf, owing to the fact that the majority of information from official sources has not been translated into sign language. More so, in times when information is the key to maintaining proper health care, this is a big lacuna. Additionally, the paper will also talk about the role of technology as well as of deaf groups in the lives of deaf people, and how it has proved to be very helpful to not just spread proper awareness about the pandemic, but also in trying to build up a movement in trying to recognise Indian Sign Language as the 23rd Official Language of India. 

COVID-19 and State Responses in Pakistan’s Policy towards Persons with Disabilities

ORAKZAI, Saira Bano
2021

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The outbreak of COVID-19 has initiated debate in the world about the response mechanism towards different communities in society. Pandemics have a long history in human societies, changing not only human behavior but also world politics. The Russian flu of 1889, the Spanish flu of 1918, the polio pandemic of 1949, H2N2 virus, 1956, HIV/AIDS 1981, Swine flu 2001, SARS 2002 among others have caused millions of deaths in contemporary recorded history. This paper examines Pakistan’s response mechanisms for persons with disabilities through an analysis of relevant policy documents, UN guidelines and content analysis of key speeches by the Prime Minister Imran Khan, interviews and initiatives taken by the government. The paper concludes that in the absence of any definitive policy for persons with disabilities during COVID19, there has been a general ignorance and apathy towards the way persons with disabilities were given care or in dealing with them during the lockdown situation. As the COVID-19 second wave started in different parts of the world, it is time for the government to take substantive measures to ease problems faced by persons with disabilities. 

An AT Innovator case study: Amparo

WILLIAMS, Rhys
OLDFREY, Ben
HOLLOWAY, Catherine
December 2020

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An interview is reported with Lucas Paes de Melo, the CEO of Amparo, to discuss the journey so far of prosthetics company, Amparo. Rather than focus on the product, this insights paper provides an honest reflection of the journey to establishing an assistive technology company and delves into transferable insights. In doing so, they aim to provide insights to help current and future AT entrepreneurs to see behind the curtain of working in this space.

An overview of assistive technology products and services provided in Malawi

SMITH, Emma M
EBUENYI, Ikenna D
KAFUMBA, Juba
JAMALI-PHIRI, Monica
MACLACHLAN, Malcolm
MUNTHALI, Alister
2020

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Background

Assistive technology is the products and services used by individuals with functional limitations to enable participation in society and realisation of rights afforded by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Assistive Product List is a comprehensive list of products identified as essential for access through universal health coverage. Key stakeholders, including organisations of persons with disabilities, civil service organisations, academic organisations and government ministries are collaborating to integrate assistive technology into policy and develop a priority assistive products list for Malawi.

 

Objective

To understand the organisational characteristics of, and assistive products provided by, key stakeholders working in AT in Malawi.

 

Study Design

Online survey of representatives from key stakeholder organisations.

 

Methods

We surveyed representatives of key stakeholder organisations to gather information regarding assistive technology product and service provision in Malawi. Responses were analysed using counts for closed-ended questions, and conventional content analysis for open-ended questions.

 

Results

A total of 36 of the 50 APL products were provided by eight organisations. Related services were provided for 36 of the 50 APL products by twelve organisations. Five organisations reported providing both products and services. Products and services are largely funded by donation and provided free to those who require them.

 

Conclusion

A range of organisations in Malawi play a role in assistive product delivery and related services. Coordinated AP delivery and service provision is required at a national level which is sustainable and inclusive, and is based on identified needs of the Malawian population.

2020 Harkin International Disability Employment Summit. Realising the value of inclusion

THE HARKIN INSTITUTE
December 2020

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The 2020 Harkin Summit will explore the value of disability inclusion, particularly for businesses and employers. The challenges and opportunities before us today are clear. We must immediately build back the jobs that were lost or put at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look to the future, we must permanently fix the system so that disability inclusion moves from an aspirational goal to one that is an accepted and valued component of the business strategy.

This year, The Harkin Institute is proud to partner in offering this Summit with Caroline Casey and her organization, The Valuable 500, a business-to-business initiative catalyzing the influence of large private sector corporations in national and international markets.

Global Humanitarian Overview 2021

OCHA UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS (OCHA)
December 2020

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A comprehensive, authoritative and evidence-based overview of the current state and future trends in humanitarian action with three sections: Global Trends; Inter-Agency Coordinated Appeals; and Delivering Better. There is a short section on people with disabilities in Global Trends.

 

Economic assessment of a community-based care package for people with lower limb disorder caused by lymphatic filariasis, podoconiosis and leprosy in Ethiopia

HOUNSOME, Natalia
KINFE, Mersha
SEMRAU, Maya
ALI, Oumer
TESFAYE, Abraham
MENGISTE, Asrat
BREMNER, Stephen
AHMED, Abdulkadir
FEKADU, Abebaw
DAVEY, Gail
December 2020

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We conducted an implementation research study to integrate a holistic package of physical health, mental health and psychosocial care for podoconiosis, lymphatic filariasis and leprosy into routine healthcare in Gusha cluster, Guagusa Shikudad district, northwest Ethiopia. The healthcare package included training patients in lower limb hygiene and skin care and provision of shoes, hygiene supplies and medication. The implementation activities included training events, workshops, awareness raising, self-help groups, supportive supervision, staff secondments and advisory board meeting. 

 

Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Volume 114, Issue 12, December 2020, Pages 1021–1034

https://doi.org/10.1093/trstmh/traa111
 

Disability employment law briefing - Bangladesh

BROWN, Simon
SCOTT-PARKER, Susan
2020

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This document provides information on the current legal requirements regarding people with disabilities in the workplace. It touches upon areas such as reasonable accommodations and discrimination laws as well as other key legislation.

Disability employment law briefing - Kenya

BROWN, Simon
SCOTT-PARKER, Susan
2020

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This document provides information on the current legal requirements regarding people with disabilities in the workplace. It touches upon areas such as reasonable accommodations and discrimination laws as well as other key legislation.

Disability employment law briefing - Nigeria

BROWN, Simon
SCOTT-PARKER, Susan
2020

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This document provides information on the current legal requirements regarding people with disabilities in the workplace. It touches upon areas such as reasonable accommodations and discrimination laws as well as other key legislation.

Disability employment law briefing - Uganda

BROWN, Simon
SCOTT-PARKER, Susan
2020

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This document provides information on the current legal requirements regarding people with disabilities in the workplace. It touches upon areas such as reasonable accommodations and discrimination laws as well as other key legislation.

Let’s break silos now! Achieving disability-inclusive education in a post-COVID world

HUMANITY & INCLUSION (HI)
November 2020

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Children with disabilities face multiple obstacles to access and thrive in education. In low- and middle-income countries, 50% of children with disabilities are out of school.  More than 40% of countries in the regions of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean still lean towards segregated education systems. Obstacles for the education of children with disabilities exist both within and outside the education system. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated inequalities in education. In times of crisis, coordinated multi-sectoral approaches are even more important to address the complexity and interdependency of children’s care, safety, wellbeing and education. 

The extensive experience of Humanity & Inclusion and its partners across the 27 countries where they implement Inclusive education projects was crucial to develop this report and to nourish it with first-hand expertise and evidence. The Report contains arguments, testimonies, case-studies, and a list of actionable recommendations for governments in low and middle income countries, aid donors, and multilateral agencies

WHO launches assistive technology capacity assessment (ATA-C)

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO)
November 2020

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WHO has developed the assistive technology capacity assessment (ATA-C) tool, a system-level tool to evaluate a country’s capacity to finance, regulate, procure and provide assistive technology. The ATA-C tool enables countries to better understand the current status and identify key actions to improve access to assistive technology: it can be used for awareness raising, policy and programme design and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

The ATA-C is part of the WHO Assistive Technology Assessment (ATA) Toolkit, helping countries to collect effective and relevant data on assistive technology

The disability-confident employers' toolkit

BROWN, Simon
SCOTT-PARKER, Susan
November 2020

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Here you can find all documents in one zipfile that relate to the disability-confident employers’ toolkit: a unique portfolio of practical guides, checklists, case studies and resources that make it easier for any business to be disability confident.

Rights of persons with disabilities : note / by the Secretary-General

DEVANDAS-AGUILAR, Catalina
November 2020

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The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, examines the importance of international cooperation to support the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities and provides guidance to States on how to ensure that international cooperation is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities.

 

In preparing the report, the Special Rapporteur analysed 40 responses to a questionnaire sent to Member States, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities.  She also commissioned a study to assess the extent to which international cooperation was inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities, which included surveys and interviews with 26 bilateral and multilateral agencies and 10 private donors

Do both ‘get it right’? Inclusion of newly arrived migrant students in Swedish primary schools

TAJIC, Denis
BUNAR, Nihad
2020

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The aim of this article is to advance knowledge on how Swedish primary schools organise education and what strategies they deploy to ensure inclusion and attainment of newly arrived migrant students. The article is based on semi-structured interviews with 30 teachers and school administrators, and one-year of fieldwork undertaken in two multicultural urban primary schools in the Stockholm region. One of the schools initially places students in separate classes, while the other one places them directly into mainstream classes. Both are evoking inclusion and attainment as a reason for using their respective models. As such, do both ‘get it right’? Using inclusion as the theoretical and conceptual framework this article addresses the broader question: How is the meaning of inclusion constructed in the processes of its practical implementation in these two schools? The results show the ambitious tale of inclusion in both schools was, in the process of the construction of its meaning and implementation, reduced to some of its aspects. Teachers and school administrators are allowed to include or leave out of their model whatever they deem necessary, obsolete, expensive or unrealistic and still fitting under the umbrella of inclusion. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, and both schools ‘get it right’ and ‘wrong’ in some aspects.

Legal remedies through litigation for the rights of disabled people

DISABILITY RIGHTS DEFENDERS
EUROPEAN NETWORK ON INDEPENDENT LIVING
ARTICLE 19 AS A TOOL
November 2020

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Even though most countries have ratified the CRPD, the rights of disabled people get violated daily all over the world. In almost every country there are national laws and international agreements which should assure the same rights for disabled people. The main problem is that the laws are widely unenforced, that is why remedies are needed. There is a need for deeper discussions on tools for strategic litigation, including effectiveness of legal and injunctive remedies, different forms of compensation for violations of human rights and procedural strategies for impact, as important tools to fight against violations of disability rights. Thereby, every law system and country has different ways and possibilities to redress violations. In this webinar we want to look at the need for better remedies, access to justice and strategic litigation. We learn from the experience of international experts with strategic litigation and remedies and discuss what kind of changes we would like to see in the remedies available or what kind of new remedies are needed. How can we establish an exchange of international experience and cooperation between organizations in the work towards better remedies?

 

The following speakers shared their expertise:

Paul Lappalainen, Swedish/US lawyer, European Equality Law Network: Access to justice / Access to remedies
Mari Siilsalu, lawyer at Article 19 as a tool, Independent Living Institute: Survey on legal remedies
Ann Campbell, Co Executive Director at Validity Foundation: Looking beyond compensation: innovative remedies for women with disabilities
Stellan Gärde, Swedish lawyer and author: A human right - The right to legal aid
Timothy Hodgson, legal advisor at ICJ, lecturer at University of Pretoria: Economic and social rights litigation

 

The webinar was moderated by Ola Linder, Swedish lawyer and project leader of Article 19 as a tool. 

Ensuring the right to quality inclusive education for persons with disabilities: From commitment to action

UNESCO
November 2020

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The international symposium "Ensuring the right to quality inclusive education for persons with disabilities: From commitment to action", co-organized by UNESCO, the Leonard Cheshire, and the Ministry of Education of Portugal brought together a wide range of stakeholders across the globe to discuss progress, successes achieved and challenges to ensure full participation and access to quality learning opportunities for all learners.

The symposium aims were to:

  • review persisting, as well as new challenges, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that are hindering the fulfilment of the right to inclusive education for learners with disabilities.
  • facilitate the exchange of experiences on factors influencing successful inclusive policies and practices for learners with disabilities and strengthen dialogue and cooperation amongst stakeholders at policy and practice levels.
  • explore how the inclusion of learners with disabilities in inclusive settings can be more effectively addressed by governments with regards to the commitments of Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the CRPD General Comment 4 on article 24, and Sustainable Development 4 SDG 4, to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The programme included:

Opening session - Accelerating efforts towards inclusive education for learners with disabilities. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

Session 1 - From legislation to inclusive practices: Re-designing policy frameworks, funding and monitoring arrangements across sectors for inclusive education for learners with disabilities. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

Session 2 - Revisiting the teaching and learning process to ensure access and participation of learners with disabilities.

Session 3 - Moving towards inclusive and safe learning environments, including by addressing violence and bullying against learners with disabilities.
 

Closing session - Rebuilding a Stronger Global Disability Inclusive Education System post COVID-19. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

The case for investing in assistive technology

ATscale
November 2020

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In this new report, ATscale describes the enormous gains that access to assistive technology (AT) can have in health, for the community and the economy. The figures are dramatic: investment in the provision of four assistive products - hearing aids, prostheses, eyeglasses, and wheelchairs - will result in a return on investment of 9:1.

Having access to AT can make the difference between failure or success in school, between a job or unemployment, between a life of opportunity or a life of dependency. An example: for a child in a low- or middle-income country, access to AT can make a difference of $100,000 in lifetime income.

Altogether, providing AT to all who need it would yield more than USD 10 trillion in economic benefits over the next 55 years.

Investing in AT both has a transformative impact on people’s wellbeing and makes sound economic sense for funders and governments. 

Product Narrative: Digital Assistive Technology. A market landscape and strategic approach to increasing access to digital assistive technology in low- and middle- income countries

SAVAGE, Margaret
LIAO, Cynthia
CHAUDRON, Matilde
BOYER, Jeffrey
BHATNAGAR, Tigmanshu
LAURENTIUS, Dennis
TORRENS, George
PERRY, Katherine
MORJARIA, Priya
BARAJAS, Felipe Ramos
GOEDDE, Barbara
November 2020

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This document is the final in a series of in-depth analyses that identify key barriers and promising market interventions. The previous four documents focused on wheelchairs, hearings aids, prostheses, and eyeglasses.

The report provides market landscapes of 3 areas of digital AT: mobile phones; screen readers; and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices.

A common set of recommendations focused on improving access emerged from the individual product landscapes:

  • Develop and adopt policies, including legislation, regulations, minimum product standards, and guidelines to support accessibility and uptake of digital AT at the global and country levels.
  • Support governments of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to increase awareness of digital AT by including digital assistive products such as smartphones and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices on national assistive product lists.
  • Support innovative financing schemes or negotiate pricing agreements to reduce the cost of digital AT to end users.
  • Increase availability of training programmes for users, suppliers, and service providers on the availability of digital AT and digital literacy skills.

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