Interactive session on ICT and Persons with Disabilities at WSIS Forum 2010
UNESCO, in partnership with the Sindbad Mediterranean without Disabilities, organized an interactive session on Information and Communication Technologies and Persons with Disabilities on 11 May 2010 at WSIS Forum 2010 in Geneva (Switzerland). The session presented a number of good practices in the use of ICT to facilitate social inclusion of persons with disabilities.
UNESCO has recently published the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2010, which focuses on marginalized groups. The Report states that mainly social, institutional and behavioural barriers limit the full inclusion of persons with disabilities. The participants of the interactive session draw the attention of the international community to the available ICT solutions that can compensate for physical and functional limitations by providing new opportunities to access information and knowledge. They stressed that such technical solutions could lead to a greater empowerment of persons with disabilities and to offer them new employment opportunities.
One of the session's sub-themes was teleworking, which is a flexible work practice that takes place at distance, either at the employee's home or at a local telecentre. During the last decade, teleworking has proved to be a good practice in developed countries. Now it is becoming a way to get a job for persons with disabilities in developing countries as well. Special telecentres have already been established for this purpose in several countries. They provide training opportunities to persons with disabilities in order for them to gain necessarily skills and competences to accomplish working assignments. This allows newly trained persons with disabilities to become a part of national human resources, able to contribute to the social, economic and political development of a country.
According to Faouzi Kardous, Director of Sindbad Mediterranean without Disabilities and speaker at the session, a network of telecentres established in the Mediterranean region has already shown good results of inclusion of persons with disabilities. For example, the International Telework Centre, set up in Morocco in 2006, now reaches approximately 80 per cent of integration into a work market.
Participants of the session also addressed issues like the development of accessible content on the Internet, the design of web pages accommodating the needs of those with disabilities and international accessibility standards.
At the WSIS Forum 2010 UNESCO, together with its partners, advocated the right of persons with disabilities and promoted good practices of international, national and non-governmental organizations working in this field.