Presentation on theme: "IGF workshop no. 137 “Mainstreaming the disability perspective for an inclusive society” IGF, Nairobi, Kenya, 28 September 2011."— Presentation transcript:
IGF workshop no. 137 “Mainstreaming the disability perspective for an inclusive society” IGF, Nairobi, Kenya, 28 September 2011
The Internet is now used - to the best of their ability – by a wide variety of people, including children, persons with disabilities and senior citizens. Today’s Internet users will get older, and these future users, as well as children and persons with disabilities, will soon find it difficult to use the web if websites continue to become more complex. What solutions can be envisaged for broad access to the Internet?
Persons with disabilities are likely to be deprived of access if their specially designed hardware is not taken into account for access to any given web service. Think of a paralysed person wanting to do their shopping over the Internet… Or a blind or sight-impaired person wanting to subscribe to their favourite newspaper on line because they can no longer read the paper copy.
How will persons with disabilities and senior citizens in the countries of the third world, who are a particularly vulnerable segment of the population (handicapped by age, physical ability and poverty) be able to access the web?
Whatever one’s difficulties, whatever one’s disability, everyone should be able to access the same content and services as the average person. I know that many professionals, in particular webmasters, overlook the fact that computers may be used by a blind, sight- impaired or older person, for example, and that these people need to enjoy the benefits of the Internet. Not only are they consumers like everyone else, but the Internet constitutes a strong tool for their insertion in daily life. Forgetting them is not only a strategic error, but to some extent inhuman.
Persons with disabilities and senior citizens are potential visitors and/or customers for any commercial site. Therefore, web professionals need to reassess their content and service offerings. To achieve this objective, we must encourage the establishment of national agencies and mulitpurpose centres or cybercafés….
National agencies: All countries should establish national agencies, to progressively reform national websites so as to make them accessible for everyone, and to ensure interoperability and good ergonomics.
Multipurpose centre or cybercafé: Following the lead of ITU (International Telecommunication Union), all non- governmental organizations should encourage third- world countries to equip themselves with multipurpose centres/cybercafés.
Mali is one of the countries in which ITU has financed a mulitpurpose centre, where we witness broad access to the Internet… Such centres can serve as veritable testing grounds… Indeed, in the third-world countries in general, and Africa in particular, there is a large potential pool of Internet consumers or e-commerce customers. However, it is true that these populations are generally poor and may be illiterate, young or disabled due to wars or illness.
To ignore this segment of the world’s population would prevent us deriving the threefold benefit to be gained from accessibility of Internet sites, namely: Public authorities, who must lead by example, want digital services to be used by all citizens. Companies seeking to reach the largest possible market understand that it is essential for people to be able to use their websites. Africa’s hugely rich cultural heritage can be made available to humanity as a whole.
The centre equipped by ITU comprises: 10 computers (8 standard and 2 designed for sight- impaired or blind people) 1 fax 2 printers (standard and Braille) 5 webcams Installation and training costs. It is planned for the centre to start up in Bamako (Mali’s capital) with branches in all the regional capitals.