Hi everyone, it was great to be part of the 1st ICT 4 Social Innovation Conference, with aim to boost practical social innovation to help solve communities pressing issues.
I was joined by colleagues from Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, and as far as Nigeria in an ‘innovation’ assignment under group one at the ICT4SI Kigali. Our assignment was to find an innovative solution to one of Africa’s most pressing problem – inclusion of children with disabilities in children services. We gathered that most problems faced by these children find their roots in draconian African out-of-date traditions, practices and taboos. And more interesting, most of these taboos across African countries have one common denominator, stigma.
Because governments are run by individuals from same community backgrounds as people they lead, taboos are, albeit silently, taken into government policy thinking and policy implementing. Therefore, there is limited space (in formal and in informal avenues) to help children with disabilities access services in most African countries.
We also gathered that there are very minimal efforts to account for a number of children with disabilities in most Africa countries. This also includes limited data on types of disabilities children have. Our solutions were two folds, one that we begin with a serious data gathering initiatives to account for not only the number of children living with disabilities in project countries, but also help recognize most critical types of disabilities.
Once data is gathered, the findings will then lead us to Phase II of our solution, i.e. data sharing for advocacy and lobbying policy makers to be more and more inclusive of children with disabilities in their budget and plans for children services, on the one hand, and use evidence from data gathered to create awareness to communities on ending disability taboos, on the other. Hence, ‘‘End Disabilities Taboos in Africa, #EDITA’ was a slogan for our campaign/solution.
What I quickly learnt from the ICT4SI gathering in Kigali is that it is very possible to come up with practical solutions to our communities pressing problems, especially when environment is created for people with diverse background/experience to unobjectionably conceptualise their imagination into implementable answers.
And from our group one, I’ve made not only contacts that looks to become great partnerships, but also that through these partnerships we could work together to implement our baby, #EDITA.
For more information about Sema Tanzania visit www.sematanzania.org