ICTs FOR PWDs IN THE POST COVID 19 ERA

Juliet Acom
Posted March 25, 2021 from Uganda
Co creation session to formulate communities of practice for persons with disabilities in Northern Uganda
Infographics highlighting assistive technology and learning devices for persons living with disability
Infographics highlighting assistive technology and learning devices for persons living with disability (1/1)

I recently had the opportunity to be part of a group of Human Rights Defenders who travelled to the Northern Region of Uganda as a part of a research on Assistive devices for persons conducted by the Digital Human Rights Lab in Partnership with POLLICY Uganda, a group of Data Enthusiasts, feminists and Researchers.

Even after having experienced the challenges that came with the country wide lock down during the COVID 19 epidemic, it had not occurred to me that communities living with disabilities were having it worse than most of us. Due to the lock down a lot of them were going through adverse economic challenges caused by the stay at home campaign, failure to access health facilities due to both distance and curfew challenges - It was sad to learn how PWDs living with HIV and on ARVs relapsed and some even passed on during this period not to mention the mental health challenges that affected both the PWDs and their caregivers who are mostly women and girls because of stress and depression arising from this.  Hard to miss was the increase in domestic and gender based violence and cases of alcohol and drug use increased tremendously. Another challenge was the inability to observe the SoPs (masks and sanitizing) because of affordability but also the nature of their disability (e.g someone who moves using their hands may not see the necessity of continued sanitizing especially when they are at home where even access to clean water is a challenge. The biggest Challenge of course lack of information since many of them did not have access to online and assistive devices to get information on time - Persons with visual and audio impairment were mostly relying on second hand information. The internet shut down that came with the post COVID 19 lock down elections took away their right to citizen participation meaning even fewer PWDs got the chance to exercise their right to vote or stand for legislative offices due to limited information and political violence.

Never the less it was a relief to see their representatives turn up for meetings to formulate communities of practice that would see them develop ideas for future reference by policy makers when developing community programs and also for further opportunities for improvement of persons with Disabilities during National emergencies.  My question as I conclude is: What are you doing in your community to enable persons living with disability to access assistive technologies to better their lives during the Post COVID era?

This story was submitted in response to Dispatches from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Comments 14

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Jill Langhus
Mar 26
Mar 26

Hi Julie,

How are you doing, dear? Welcome back! Thanks for sharing your update. I'm glad that this training was available to them.

Hope you're doing well, and that you have a good weekend, dear. XX

Juliet Acom
Mar 29
Mar 29

Hi Jill,

Thank you!! - Yes it has been a while but always happy to hear from you
I have been doing some outreaches lately - so much information to share. Will keep documenting as we progress.

Wishing you a happy Easter.

Jill Langhus
Mar 29
Mar 29

Hello there:-)

You're welcome! Aw, that's nice. It's nice to have you back!

Oh, great! Looking forward to hearing more about them.

Thank you. Same to you.

XX

ARREY- ECHI
Mar 26
Mar 26

Hello Julie,
It has been a while. I hope you are doing well and your warrior too.
Thank you for this timely, reflective piece on the challenges of people living with disabilities during this COVID 19 era. In many ways, they have remained the most neglected group during this pandemic. I am glad to hear of such meetings and workshops and I pray that their voices are heard and their challenges be looked into.

Keep impacting and keep writing. Hugs to your warrior,
Arrey

Juliet Acom
Mar 29
Mar 29

Thank you Arrey,

Always a pleasure to hear from you my sister? How are you and how is your project fairing?

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 26
Mar 26

Dear Juliet,
Your message is a strong reminder to me that those of us who may not live with a disability need to pay close attention to whatever is needed to make sure we are all included. "...it had not occurred to me that communities living with disabilities were having it worse than most of us". We need this in all of our communities: "...to see their representatives turn up for meetings to formulate communities of practice that would see them develop ideas". If everyone is not at the table, we have not yet succeeded.

Juliet Acom
Mar 29
Mar 29

Hello Tam,
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and for the great feedback. Indeed we have a lot of work to do if we are to have an inclusive mindset towards PWDs.
Have a great day!!!

Hello Juliette for us our organization is working with some disables people in different around area: like capacity building training but for technology the plans are there but no sponsors or partners to help. But actually people living with disabilities are also part of society.

Juliet Acom
Mar 29
Mar 29

Thank you so much for your feedback.

This is true, Persons Living With Disabilities are a great part of our community - Have you thought of alternative methods of fundraising? We can talk some more about resource mobilization and fundraising when you have a minute. Below is a link with some resources you can review to apply for grants.
https://www.notion.so/A-Beginner-s-Guide-to-Tech-Society-268cf3b005b749e...

charlenegailtaruwona

Dear Julie
Thank you for sharing your update and presenting us with such a very important question. It truly challenges me.

Juliet Acom
Mar 29
Mar 29

Thank you Charlene,

Your feedback encourages me to work better and harder.
Thank you and have a great week ahead

Cgbidi
Mar 30
Mar 30

Thanks for the advice, person with living with disabilities are humans.

Kirthi Jayakumar
Mar 30
Mar 30

Hello Julie! It's SO good to hear from you and to see your update. Congratulations on this training being available! Sending you lots of love :)