Gayashi Jayasinghe, Author at LIRNEasia

6 month internship opportunities : We offer an intellectually stimulating work environment where you will work alongside high-caliber colleagues across the region. You will receive international exposure from working on cross-country research projects.
One out of every forty Indians live with a disability, yet they remain far underrepresented in all segments of daily life: experiencing lack of access to information, living with scarce livelihood opportunities, inaccessible healthcare and assistive caregiving support, confronting stigma in public infrastructure and transport, and non-contextual or unaffordable assistive tech solutions, the rights and diverse concerns of people with disabilities remain underserved. While technology has been an enabler in resolving challenges in human existence, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and Assistive Technologies (AT) have mainly casted exceedingly niche solutions in response to the needs of persons with disabilities. To this effect, despite having a flurry of assistive tech solutions, most of them only partially meet the requirements of persons with disabilities at best and fail to achieve higher impact, as often users are forced to adopt more than one solution to actualise their potential. Such approaches to solution building underline the gaps and deficiencies inherent in the disability ecosystem that go beyond the challenges of underserved financing ie. limited demand side insights and infrastructure, a distance of dialogue between persons with disabilities and stakeholders and severely under-developed capacity for service delivery and scaling solutions.
The Disability Innovation Pre-Accelerator Lab which was held as a virtual event from 10th August to 26th August was successfully completed. LIRNEasia organized this event in collaboration with Vihara Innovations Network as part of our work on accessibility,  PWDS (Persons With Disabilities) and use of ICT which is funded by the Ford Foundation. Pre-Accelerator’s journey began with 18 startups in the cohort on August 10th 2020. Team at Vihara planned the first phase to be discussion and learning oriented where multiple knowledge dissemination sessions and workshops were organized. These sessions were hosted in collaboration with individuals representing organizations like GSMA, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) ,  IIT Delhi,  Center for Law and Policy Research (CLPR), Saksham, Handicare, DEOC, Rehabilitation Society Of The Visually Impaired organization, ARTILAB Foundation, Social Alpha, Noida Deaf Society, University College of Medical Science (New Delhi) and LIRNEAsia.
Disasters wreak havoc and destroy full-scale infrastructures, homes, schools, hospitals, communication systems, and disrupt access to food, clean water, electricity, and transportation. Individuals with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disaster, emergency, and conflict situations due to inaccessible evacuation, response (including shelters, camps, and food distribution), and recovery efforts (Robinson, 2020; Samant Raja et al., 2013; Stough & Kang, 2015; Wolbring, 2009).  The primary focus of this study was reviewing literature on PWD and DiDRR (Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction) specifically involving Asian countries to find gaps in inclusive crisis communication Additionally, the study explored other relevant literature all of which is discussed in the literature review. Thereafter, the method involved synthesizing the findings to propose a conceptual architecture for ICT-enabled assistive technology in support PWDs facing crisis situations.
LIRNEasia has partnered with Vihara Innovation Network to set up a Disability Innovation Pre-Accelerator Lab from 10th August – 26th August 2020.  Distilling the learnings from phase I research, LIRNEasia and Vihara collectively conceptualized the need for organizing an innovation lab that facilitates a platform for innovating contextual solutions catering to the emerging challenges in the disability segment.  Disability Pre-Acceleration Labs has been visioned to act as a precursor to a disability innovation accelerator—a collaborative to accelerate the development of and access to assistive social and technological solutions that enable disabled people to achieve their human potential. The pre-acceleration lab will bring together innovators, disability, technology, and behaviour change experts, impact investors, and people with disabilities to develop and fulfill the vision of creating context-specific, usable solutions to address human potential barriers faced by people with disabilities. We are inviting a diverse set of participants from different segments of disability to participate in this virtual workshop.
This short note allows for easy comparison of the options available to policy makers considering the introduction of remote voting in the context of the current pandemic conditions.