GIFEC committed to contributing to inclusive ICT for PWDs

Mr Prince Ofosu Sefah, the Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), says the institution is committed to ensuring inclusiveness in the implementation of all initiatives by providing support to Persons with Disabilities.

He said as part of their Digital Inclusion efforts, students with varying degrees of disabilities had been supplied with laptops equipped with Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) and other computer accessories.

‘We have provided 30 and 14 laptops with accessories respectively, to the Association of students with disabilities at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) branch, and the Wesley College of Education, and an additional 10 desktop computers to the R-CAMAT ICT lab at the UCC.’

‘Also, the ICT lab of the Akropong School for the blind, has been equipped with 25 NVDA desktop computers and UPS, with 24 students from the Wesley College of Education, with varying degrees of disabilities being supplied with laptops equipped with NVDA,’ he added.

Mr Sef
ah said this at the opening ceremony of the Digital Transformation Centre’s (DTC) Training of Trainers programme in Accra.

As part of the DTC, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in collaboration with ST Foundation, was providing basic computer skills training, for the visually impaired, under the title ‘Introduction to Computer Basics for the Visually Impaired.’

The project, which began on November 13, 2023, with the training of 20 Trainers would end on November 24, 2023, with 50 more trainers to be trained by January 2024.

The DTC Project is a collaborative initiative between GIFEC, ITU and Cisco, with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), focused on requisite supervision of the programme.

It aims at building a digitally literate citizenry to boost the visually impairer’s ICT capabilities and enable them to meaningfully participate in the knowledge society of today.

The programme involved the training of beneficiaries, including persons in the formal and infor
mal sectors; students, teachers, training for women and girls, youth, and the marginalised in communities such as head porters, school dropouts and school leavers in Cisco certified courses.

Mr Sefah said the project was designed to develop digital skills, mainly at the basic and intermediate levels, particularly in underserved communities.

Additionally, the project featured courses like Introduction to Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Essentials, Introduction to IoT, Python, C++ and Entrepreneurship, also known as the DTC Training Suite, he said.

The CEO indicated that the programme with three-years lifespan, from 2021 to 2023, formed part of a broader goal of building an inclusive digital society where lack of such skills should not be a barrier to participation in the digital economy.

‘The trainers are persons with visual impairments assisted by a sighted person, so, after the training of trainers, then the training for persons with Visual Impairments across the country will be done in 2024,’ he stressed.

adam Robyn Fysh, the Senior Project Manager, ITU, said her outfit launched the DTC in 2019, and that through the initiative, there had been the establishment of 34 DTCs across four regions, of which GIFEC was a part.

‘We are partnering to help and support people to meaningfully engage in the digital space, and one of the fundamental steps is to have the skills these citizens need for effective engagement,’ she added.

Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, the Assistive Technology Manager, University of Ghana (UG), said it was crucial to acknowledge the impact of gender and diversity on social processes and shaping the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion.

He said the University was dedicated to ensuring that gender and diversity were ingrained in the institutional culture, recognising the significance of these interrelated demographics, such as disability, religion, and ethnicity.

Mr Williams said the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA), and the Office of Students with Special Needs, played pivotal ro
les in championing diversity and fostering an inclusive environment for all members of the academic community.

He said since 2006, the UG had championed the cause of digital accessibility through its Assistive Technology Unit under the UG Computing Systems.

‘This unit currently boasts of an impressive 17 years of experience in the digital accessibility space in breaking down barriers and ensuring that our academic resources are accessible to all, regardless of physical ability,’ he added.

Mr Williams called for recognition of the profound impact of their collective efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion, by embracing digital accessibility for the visually impaired and others with disabilities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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