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Baseline study on the Level of Awareness, Access and Usage of ICTs among Persons with Disabilities in Uganda
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines disabilities as an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus, disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives”.
According to the WHO, over 1 billion people are estimated to experience disability which corresponds to about 15% of the world’s population, with up to 190 million (3.8%) people aged 15 years and older having significant difficulties in functioning, often requiring health care services. The number of people experiencing disability is increasing due to a rise in chronic health conditions and population ageing. Furthermore, the World Health Organization notes that 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries.
According to research on Uganda’s disability landscape from 2021, 22% of Ugandans who are unemployed have a disability, despite the country’s estimated disability rate of 12%. According to research, people with impairments have fewer employment options, especially in countries where subsistence farming dominates the economy. Understanding the high rates of poverty among individuals with disabilities depends in large part on this. We recommend ICT for PWDS because programs, policies, and services that are inclusive of people with disabilities are necessary to lower unemployment, ease poverty, and increase economic inclusion among people with disabilities.
UCC notes that ICTs can significantly increase the socio-economic livelihoods of communities in Uganda, including Persons with Disabilities (Persons with Disabilities). However, there is a growing outcry from the public and key stakeholders that Persons with Disabilities are increasingly becoming isolated from accessing and using ICTs despite the available evidence of the impact of ICTs. It is thus imperative that ICTs inclusiveness programs be implemented with key ecosystem partners to cater for the needs of Persons with Disabilities. It is against this background that UCC has over the years developed and implemented various initiatives aimed at ensuring universal access and usage of ICTs, not only in rural and underserved areas but also some ICT interventions targeting this special interest group development.
The objectives of the study include;
a) To determine the state of access and usage of ICTs by persons with disabilities
b) To ascertain the extent to which service providers are offering inclusive digital and communication services to persons with disabilities
c) To determine the state of ICT for persons with disabilities innovation ecosystem in the country
d) To establish knowledge management capacity among different actors in ICT on persons with disabilities and inclusion
e) To establish the information needs of the various stakeholders to enhance knowledge management and decision-making
The study was designed to document the state of digital inclusiveness in e-services access, technology, content and information needs before and after the interventions for persons with disabilities in Uganda. The research was also used to identify the content and information needs for various categories of persons with disabilities across the country that is, the physically challenged, the blind, the deaf and the dumb. The baseline study covered all the 5 regions (Eastern, Western, Central, Northern and West Nile) of the country.