Technology offers many different ways to help people with disability lead more normal and meaningful lives. Devices that help them perform an activity are called assistive technology. Assistive technology can help people reach their personal and professional goals by overcoming the limitations.
UNICEF Nepal, Google and Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal is collaborating to initiate an effort that identifies the common issues faced by people with disability and develops an innovative model to develop interactive and useful assistive technological solutions that can help people with disabilities overcome and compensate for their limitations. The first step we are taking is to organize an Assistive Appathon where designers, developers, strategists and project managers who want to make a difference through technology will gather and work in an unnerving, challenging and fast paced event to develop many innovation solutions. The main purpose of this Appathon would be to find solutions for common existing problems that impede persons with disability to reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the social and economic development. This will be also an opportunity to raise awareness about such issues and use this opportunity to advocate and influence the policy environment in Nepal.
With Assistive Appathon, an ambitious and transformative initiative, Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal is leveraging the capabilities of challenging development professionals to create an innovative assistive solution that leverages technology and development to deliver real results.
This Appathon aims to crowd source innovative technology that is home-grown and applicable to the complexity of Nepal. The winning apps can be integrated in the existing arrangements to facilitate processes and enhance overall system. It will further empower young developers to contribute their talents meaningfully for the better Nepal. This appathon will also serve the purpose of raising awareness among Nepal’s talent pool on issues related to disability.
Register your team here: http://bit.ly/1CD7BLv
Adolescent Development and Participation
Most adolescents in Nepal lack access to information on life skills, which is further compounded if they have a disability.
Adolescence, the age group between 10-19 years, is a time when children experience significant physical, emotional, cognitive and social changes including sexual and reproductive maturation, and is also a transition period towards adulthood. With a total of 6.4 million, adolescents constitute one fourth of the total population of Nepal (CBS 2012) but most of them lack access to information on life skills they need to deal with the challenges they face during this crucial period. Access to information can be limited because of the various layers of discrimination that adolescents face (such as gender, class, caste/ethnicity, geographical location to name a few) but this problem is even more severe for adolescents with disability.
Adolescents require guidance and support to develop life skills in order to deal with the challenges they face during the crucial period of transitioning to adulthood but the need is even greater for adolescents with disability. There is a need to help adolescents with disability to access information on and develop life skills so that they can live a more productive and fulfilling life.
(“Life skills" are defined as psychosocial abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. They are loosely grouped into three broad categories of skills: cognitive skills for analyzing and using information, personal skills for developing personal agency and managing oneself, and inter-personal skills for communicating and interacting effectively with others)
1.Prevention of disability through golden 1000 days campaign
Nutrition is associated with the mental development of the children. More than 80 percent of brain development within first two years of life requires good nutrition during that period including breastfeeding that provide proper nutrition for optimum brain development. Studies have linked under nutrition in early life with cognitive development later in life. Under nutrition including micronutrient deficiencies such as iron and iodine deficiencies are found related to poor cognitive and intellectual performances. The adverse impacts of the poor cognitive and intellectual development may include several life-skill disabilities including poor reading, writing, learning and making associations, which in turn influence the children’s quality of life and future career as well. Mental and intellectual retardation in early life can hardly be corrected in later years of life resulting in to permanent handicaps in terms of person’s skills and overall work productivity.
Ensuring good nutrition during first 1000 days is the Nepal Government’s priority action under the multi sector nutrition plan (MSNP) since it is associated with the mental development of the children and thereby reducing the children with mental retardation, a form of disability most prevalent in Nepal. It is estimated that 4.9% of the total population in Nepal had learning difficulties in 1989. Nepal Government, with the support from UNICEF, has design a golden 1000 days campaign for the Children, Pregnant and Lactating Women in order to communicate nutrition message effectively to the most vulnerable groups living in the community. With the campaign, it is assumed that the nutrition status of the children and women will be improved through better Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) Practices in the community, which will ultimately contribute in reducing the number of learning disability with improved cognitive ability in new cases. Children developed with full potential without any form of the disability will contribute further in improving nutrition situation in the country through better economic productivity again and intellectual lead of the country.
The success of the golden thousand days campaigns depends on the improve knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of the families for better nutrition practices. Children can be changed agent to accomplish the effective implementation of the golden thousand day’s campaign, but the formal and non-formal nutrition education is not at a level as it should be. So, providing better nutrition related information to the children through the use of Child App can be a solution to enhance the knowledge, attitude and practices of Children towards nutrition and then, change the family’s nutrition security situation through them.
There is need to educate children and families on nutrition through interactive platforms, like social media, games and edutainment materials. Children with creative minds can be used on the discussion forums to access, analyses, act and advocate for improving their nutrition status, and they can be agent for change in their families to adapt good nutrition practices. Keeping children at the center of the golden 1000 days campaign, various platforms like Child Clubs, Citizen forums and Schools can be utilize best for preventing learning disability through improve nutrition.
A large of number of government funded and privately owned schools in Nepal do not have infrastructures that accommodate persons with disabilities. They seldom have special curriculums for those that need it. This makes obtaining an education much more difficult.
Nepal’s public transportation is a booming business. Sajha buses, safa tempos, and micros allow locals and tourists alike to reach their destination for only a small cost. However, such transportation is not suited to persons with disabilities. Buses do not accommodate wheelchairs, and safa-tempos override their holding capacity, squeezing people in, making it difficult for persons with disability to comfortably travel.
Natural Disaster Management
Natural disasters are often unexpected. Thus, when one occurs, it is usually followed by chaos and panic. The age-old infrastructures that dominate the Nepali landscape often have people racing to the safest places. People with disabilities may not always be able to easily evacuate in such situations. The same applies to many other emergency situations, such as fires or street floodings.
Health: Stigma and discrimination against children with disability
Stigma and discrimination against children with disability
Every child has right to live with dignity and it equally applies to children with disability as well. In the rural areas of Nepal, despite the gradual change of perception towards disability, it is still seen as a curse resulting from the sins of the previous life.
In Nepal, more than 90 per cent of the households considered that having people with disability in families creates problems (National Planning Commission and UNICEF, 2001). About 30 per cent disable people did not receive any treatment while more than 83 per cent who visited health facilities did not benefit from relevant services. The data indicated that more than 70 per cent of people with disability had difficulty living in the community with self-respect and more than 68 per cent of people with disability had no education. More than 79 per cent of people with disability were dependent on their families for their care including financial, emotional and physical support.
According to National Living Standard Survey in 2011, 3.6 per cent of people have some kind of disability in Nepal. The disability rates for males and females are 4.2 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively. The types of disabilities are physical (29%), visual (22%), hearing (23%), hearing and seeing (3%), speaking (9%), mental (7%) and multiple disabilities (7%).
In cultures where guilt, shame and fear are associated with the birth of a child with a disability they are frequently hidden from view, ill-treated and excluded from activities that are crucial for their development. As a result of discrimination, children with disabilities may have poor health and education outcomes; they may have low self-esteem and limited interaction with others; and they may be at higher risk for violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Increased risk of sexual harassment / abuse
Persons with disabilities may not always be able to defend for themselves or ask for help when they come across a sexual predator. Physically escaping such a situation may also be difficult
Open Problem Statement
This category is a place to address problems that persist in our society, in relevance to disabilities, that have not been mentioned yet and that you might think are important (including any ideas you might had during the discussions with subject matter experts).
Register your team here: http://bit.ly/1CD7BLv