Navigating employment, education, and societal acceptance is often challenging for Persons with Disabilities. At UNDP Egypt, we champion a world where everyone can lead a life free from obstacles.
Pioneering Inclusive Innovations: UNDP Egypt's Commitment to Persons with Disabilities
December 4, 2023
Currently, there are 12 million individuals living with disabilities in Egypt. A standout initiative we supported is the "Egypt Walk for Inclusion," launched in 2020 at the Great Pyramids of Giza. Led by UNDP goodwill ambassador for Climate Change, Michael Haddad, the event aimed to spotlight assistive technologies. Participants, spanning diverse abilities, united to promote inclusion, marking a significant stride toward a more accessible future.
Responding to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP Egypt took a groundbreaking step with "Wasel," in 2021 an accessible chatbot for the deaf and persons with hearing disabilities. With over 25,000 beneficiaries, Wasel became the first in Africa and the Middle East to use Arabic sign language chatbot technology. In collaboration with Egypt's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Avaya, this innovative chatbot was available on Tamkeen accessible website, Google Play, and the Apple Store.
To address the specific challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities, UNDP Egypt collaborated with CAPMAS, UN Women, and UNFPA on the "Violence Against Women with Disability Survey" in 2022 This community-based effort sheds light on the stark realities confronting women with disabilities, providing reliable data for targeted interventions.
UNDP Egypt's commitment to fostering innovation is evident through its incubation program supporting five assistive technology projects. Praised by the President of Egypt for their impactful contributions, three of these projects received mentorship and financial support.
Testimonials from beneficiaries, like Khadija, a literature student with cognitive disabilities at the British University in Cairo, underscore the transformative impact of innovative platforms like the "Damg platform." Supported by UNDP's incubation program, this project offers a 'shadow' for individuals with cognitive disabilities, providing tailored support and solutions.
"I wish all universities would empower people with disabilities and offer them an accessible state-of-the-art education. I also hope that the private sector provides decent job opportunities for us to earn our living. With the right support, we are capable of overcoming all challenges." - Khadija
Transitioning from dedicated programs to mainstreaming inclusion, UNDP Egypt also organized the "Africlimate Inclusive Innovation Bootcamp." Emphasizing collaboration among diverse participants, including persons with disabilities, this camp focused on climate action.
While progress has been made, this International Day of Persons with Disabilities reminds us that much more needs to be done.
Active involvement of persons with disabilities in decision-making and collaborative efforts across various domains is crucial.
Together, we must work hand in hand to design and deliver solutions, ensuring the promise of leaving no one behind is fulfilled.