A mobile app and website database called AT-Info-Map is being implemented by SAFOD to collect and disseminate information on the availability of Assistive Technology (AT) within 10 countries in Southern Africa, to help Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) find suppliers and services of AT. Upon the expiry on Feb 28, 2019 of the 3-year funding from Google.org, we seek to sustain provision of AT information and awareness with long-term goal of increasing access to AT and independent living for PWDs.
In Southern Africa, it is estimated that 85-95% of PWDs who need AT do not have access. AT includes a wide range of technology products that are used to support PWDs as they work, learn, play and live in their communities, e.g. crutches, wheelchairs, ramps, hearing aids, Braille, etc. Improving access to AT is a problem that will take concerted effort on many fronts; however, one key challenge at this stage is lack of information about the availability of AT & awareness of what constitutes AT.
Without access to AT, PWDs are less likely to realize many basic human rights e.g. access to education, healthcare, employment, information, and activities of daily living. The project will help in achieving a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) e.g. Goal #4 on equal and accessible education, Goal #8 on inclusive economic growth, etc. We'll work with local disability organizations to address gaps in AT availability and collaborate with stakeholders on increasing public AT awareness.
Our project seeks to contribute towards the goal of Global Partnership for Assistive Technology - https://atscale2030.org - of reaching half billion people globally by 2030 with life-changing AT. We also align our project with other Global AT initiatives like the WHO's Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) - https://goo.gl/EjfMD5 By 2021, the specific medium-term target of SAFOD is to help in increasing and improving AT access by 60% for the 11.5 million PWDs in Southern Africa.