Disability — LIRNEasia

LIRNEasia’s engagements on disabilities and assistive technologies began in 2015 when we conducted our first study on persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Myanmar to understand the accessibility challenges of ICT use by PWDs.

Working with Disabled Persons Organizations, and in collaboration with our local partners, LIRNEasia identified policy and practical solutions to these problems, in particular solutions enabled by Myanmar’s rapid take-up of smartphones. The recommendations were disseminated widely, to 23 Members of Parliament from the Myanmar Union Parliament, Members of the Yangon Regional Parliament, and the local media.

LIRNEasia repeated the exercise in Nepal in 2017-19, conducting a qualitative study to understand the challenges faced by PWDs. This was supplemented with two additional steps: a nationally representative (quantitative) survey on PWDs which explored their experiences and quantified PWDs by type of disability, barriers and other variables related to education, transport and livelihood, and a hackathon that yielded two mobile apps that could assist those with speech/hearing disabilities.

Working with our local partners, LIRNEasia proposed simple, immediately actionable ways to promote independent living by PWDs with the release of eight white papers to support our engagements with key policy stakeholders in May 2019 in Nepal.

Through our current research cycle, we are seeking to replicate this exercise in Sri Lanka and India. We seek to build on this work by not just prototyping assistive digital solutions for PWDs, but also catalyzing the roll out at scale by connecting developers with social impact investors.


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