Enabling the disabled - The role of ICTs in the lives of persons with disabilities in Myanmar. Research reprot by Gayani Hurulle, Dilshan Fernando and Helani Galpaya. Published August 2018.
Slideset presented at the report launch on 21 August 2018.
Inspired by LIRNEasia's Hackathon for Accessible and Inclusive ICTs in Kathmandu, Nepal, Rajat Acharya, went looking for his childhood neighbor, a self-taught deaf man. What resulted was an gamified learning app with a wide range of use, first runner-up at the hackathon.
This was an issue that came up in the discussions leading up to our Nepal Hackathon. But the idea that apps should be developed to read currency notes did not go too far. Electronic payments should, of course, be designed with all disabled persons in mind. Here is a report on how the debate in playing out in India: Currency notes should be of different lengths and widths or have simple symbols embossed on them for easy identification, as this would be simpler than a separate device to recognise them, according to associations representing the visually impaired. The comments come after the Reserve Bank of India, in its bimonthly Monetary Policy Review, said it would look into the feasibility of developing a device or mechanism to help the visually challenged easily identify currency notes.
We are inviting Proposals from potential Bidders to conduct a qualitative study on ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities in Myanmar. The full RFP is given below. Please also see our FGD Sampling Table, Technical Proposal Template, Financial Proposal Template, and Draft Contract before submitting the proposals. Deadline for submissions is 09 April 2018.  
The hearing or speech disabled require sign-language interpretation to communicate with the normally-abled world. But sign-language interpreters are scarce. Unless there is a sign-language competent person in the household (e.g., a child who can communicate through the spoken word who also knows sign language), it is quite challenging.
Now that the telecom markets in emerging Asia have matured and now that the potential of easily deployable apps is within reach because of the fast spreading smartphones, we must make access by the disabled a priority. The key to independent living is technology. Our current work in Nepal, supported by the Ford Foundation, has accessible and inclusive access as the principal focus. The workshop held 16-17 March in Kathmandu sought to prioritize the problems amenable to ICT solutions. This will feed into a pre-hackathon being organized March 18-19 at the Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Campus: Here are some reflections on problems faced by the disabled in Nepal which are amenable to ICT solutions.
We are inviting Proposals from potential Bidders to conduct a nationally representative study of ICT access and use in Nepal with special focus on the disabled. The full RFP is downloadable below. Please also see our Technical Proposal Template, Financial Proposal Template, and Sample Locations before submitting the proposals. Deadline for submissions is 29 January 2018.
Workshop on ICT Accessibility for Persons with Disability Event for disabled people’s organizations and media 12-13 December 2017 Yangon, Myanmar Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI), established in 2011, is a self-help organization led by disabled persons that has been working at various levels and fighting for equal rights, inclusion and independent living of people with multiple types of disabilities in Myanmar. MILI promotes disability access in employment, education, health, disaster-risk reduction, social-enterprise, social, political, electoral and public sectors. LIRNEasia is a pro-poor, pro-market think tank established in 2004. It has been working on catalyzing policy change through research to improve people’s lives in the emerging Asia Pacific by facilitating their use of hard and soft infrastructures through the use of knowledge, information and technology. Myanmar ICT Development Organization (MIDO), established in 2012, uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a tool for the development of the country by narrowing the digital divide in Myanmar; using ICT for the country’s development and the safeguarding of human rights; and encouraging the emergence of good Internet policies for ICT users.
LIRNEasia research fellow, Nuwan Waidyanatha, will be part of a panel discussion on ‘Rapidly Reconnecting the Disconnected in Disasters‘ at the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum to be held in Bangkok from 26 to 29 July, 2017. The session, titled “Cry for Help!” is meant to expose participants to low-cost, easy-to-use tech and foster an environment which challenges experts through dialogue and participatory exercises. “Rapid Restoration of Access to Telecommunication” (RREACT) – AP is highly susceptible to disasters. Telecommunications, as a critical infrastructure, is vital for crisis management.
Professor Gregg Vanderheiden has a record of achievements in enabling the differently abled to use technology such as personal computers and automated teller machines. Through Raising the Floor, an international organization that he established, Professor Vanderheiden is working on an ambitious initiative to create a platform that will make it possible for various interfaces to “morph” into forms accessible to users with disabilities (which includes many people who are not so identified ordinarily). For the interfaces to be fully responsive to the unique needs of each of the users, the platform would have to know about their preferences and behaviors. Raising the Floor is taking the issues of putting in place strong safeguards for these data and to ensure that harms are avoided. For this purpose, they convened expert groups in Geneva and Washington DC.
Text-voice readers that enable visually challenged persons to access books, websites and other content have been around in English and many other languages for years. In Myanmar too, many have attempted over the years to develop the Myanmar Language version of some of the most popular conversion engines. This week, we brought one of the world’s leaders in such software, Dr Dipendra Manocha, and his colleague Mr Piyush Chanana to Yangon to diagnose the problem and map the way forward. Dipendra and Piyush met with Myanmar National Association for the Blind (Mr. Benedict La Hkun and Mr.