Mobile Experiences for the differently-abled, what can be done?

This year’s Grace Hopper Celebration, to be held 2nd to 5th October in Minneapolis has inspired a lot of brilliant ideas from several members of Afchix. Some of them include; Emily Namugaanyi, Lisa Katusiime, Liz Mirembe and Viola Bazanye.

The team wrote a paper titled, ‘Mobile Experiences for the differently-abled in Uganda’ discussing how the differently abled, for example; the blind, deaf and physically challenged feel about the advancements in mobile technology in terms of accessibility, utility and how it has affected their lives. The paper also highlights the responses from the government and developer community in Uganda with a comparison to the developed world situation.

Members of the team where able to visit a selected number of schools, facilities and organizations that cater for the differently abled to find out, exactly, what barriers limit the disabled from experiencing mobile technology like normal people do.

From all those visits, it was concluded that, there is an opportunity to open the minds of female developers in Uganda and Africa at large to think big and drive innovative mobile applications for the differently abled but the major limiting factor is the high level of illiteracy in our country prohibiting these people from adapting easily to the few technologies that have been introduced by the organizations mentioned above. The government of Uganda has approved a number key policies to accommodate the differently abled but the challenge remains with the implementation of those policies to make a difference to the lives of the differently abled.

That leaves a question to all of us, what can we do, as Afchix, to contribute to changing that?

Written by Viola Bazanye