Building a More Inclusive and Accessible Internet.

By Hildah Nyakwaka-iHub |

Technology has woven itself into every aspect of our lives over the past few weeks. People have been required to work online, attend school lessons online, shop for essential goods and most importantly, build social communities online. Building communities requires people to have at the most basic, access to relevant ICT. We have seen a surge in the implementation of policies to cushion the general public from some costs, such as reduced M-Pesa, introduction of data bandwidth subsidies for university students  and providing a wider internet coverage among others.

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Why Access to Information on Covid-19 is Crucial to Persons with Disabilities in Africa

By Paul Kimumwe |

While the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues to ravage the world, there is growing concern that critical messages about the disease that are disseminated by health authorities, telecom companies, and broadcasters are not reaching persons with visual and hearing impairments.

In order to create public awareness about the pandemic, African governments are using mass media, notably radio and television, as well as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), particularly  social media and mobile telephony platforms. The countries with confirmed Covid-19 cases, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ivory CoastKenya, NigeriaRwandaSenegalSouth AfricaTunisia, and Uganda, have restricted people’s movements and banned public meetings.

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What Does the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, and The Huduma Bill Really Mean for a Kenyan Citizen?

By Hilder Nyakwaka /

How often do you “forward as received” messages on WhatsApp? Do you usually take a few minutes to verify whether that information is true or do you usually believe that every text you receive is written with the best intention? Do you believe you are absolved of any negative consequence of forwarding a message you have not verified? Well, the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act begs to differ! These were some of the things we tried to decipher at this month’s #InternetPizzaFriday session. Together with the startup community, we took a deep dive into what the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Actand the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) Actmeans for techpreneurs and the tech community in general.

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Open Data and Data Analytics Training for ToroDev Staff and Interns Advancing

News Update|

The open data usage and data analytics capacity building of ToroDev staff and Interns has entered it’s third month here at ToroDev offices on plot 46 Mugurusi Road in Fort Portal, Kabarole District. The Training is conducted by Thibi, a Data Analytics and ICT4D Consulting institution based in Singapore, in partnership with a team from Open Development Institute.

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Impact of The WOUGNET ICT Trainings to The Rural Communities

News Update |

For information and communication technologies and skills to be more effective in the rural areas, ICT training must be conducted to equip the rural population with knowledge on how to fully utilize the different available ICTs accessible to them. Training in ICTs, to a greater extent, narrows the digital gap between the rural and urban communities. The rural population should not only know about the ICTs but be able to use them, for the ICTs to be effective and fully utilized, there must be a systematic effort to understand the exact challenges of the rural dwellers and identify the best innovative ways to address them.

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Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda Must Do More to Improve Access to ICT for Persons with Disabilities

By Paul Kimumwe |

On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) 2019, the Collaboration of International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is calling upon governments and communication services providers in East Africa to take decisive steps to enable meaningful usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for persons with disabilities.

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Online Safety Fair 2.0 is Here!

By Hilda Nyakwaka |

iHub’s Online Safety Fair is back! The second edition will be on 14th December 2019. As we wrap up the year, we would like to explore the various ways in which emerging technologies seep into our everyday lives and how we can still protect ourselves. The event is geared towards engaging with our younger citizens who are online and providing a space to explore and even experience ways to stay online practically.

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Governments and Donors Urged to Advance ICT Access for Persons with Disabilities

By CIPESA Writer |

While advances in Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) including the Internet have created avenues of inclusion, for some, especially persons with disabilities, it has also widened the extent to which they are excluded from the social and economic potential of the digital society.

Persons with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socio-economic outcomes than persons without disabilities, such as lack of access to information, less education, poorer health outcomes, lower levels of employment, and higher poverty rates.

Several factors are contributing to the deepening of this exclusion in the digital society, including a non-conducive legal and policy environment, poor investments in telecommunication infrastructure that supports ICT access for persons with disabilities, and the lack of access to the required assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and braille.

According to the  World Health Organisation, at least one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability, while an estimated 2-4% have significant difficulties in functioning. In Africa, persons with disability are estimated at 10% of the general population, but could be as high as 20% in the poorer regions.

At the just concluded sixth Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in September 2019, participants explored the various  challenges faced by persons with disabilities in accessing and using ICT, particularly assistive technologies.

Speaking at the special session on ICTs and Disability, Safari Shuti, a Member of Parliament from the Democratic Republic of Congo, stated that existing disability legal frameworks must be strictly enforced with penalties for non-compliance if they are to become effective.

“Within the legal framework, there should be accountability measures for lack of implementation, with clear provisions on who should oversee the implementation and penalties for lack of implementation,” he noted.

However, according to Sussane Dossi, a Member of Parliament in Malawi, some governments that already have disability rights laws do not have the technical or financial resources to implement many of the inclusion laws. She noted that the private sector players need to support government in implementation of these laws through providing technical support as well as the required funding.

Besides the non-conducive legal and policy framework, there is also the challenge of negative attitudes towards persons with disabilities, and lack of awareness of the different challenges that persons with disabilities face in accessing and utilisation of ICTs.

According to Mohamed Kimbugwe from the GIZ office in Uganda, “In the digital era, we need to focus on mind change and awareness creation. We need to improve accessibility to go beyond design. Persons with disability need information in friendly formats that they can easily navigate. We need to also look at affordability of accessible assistive devices.”.

Dr. Abdul Busuulwa from the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Africa Network noted that providing access to relevant ICTs can go a long way in reducing or even eliminating the barriers that persons with disabilities face. “If you are having an impairment but have all the tech that you can use to navigate through the environment, it becomes debatable whether you have any disability,” he said.

During the same session, a digital campaign tool for persons with visual impairment, was launched by Together!, in partnership with Small Media, and Data4Change. The website uses sonification of data to tell the story of digital exclusion for people who are blind or visually impaired in Ethiopia, and champions the need for a more inclusive and accessible internet. There are an estimated 4.5 million more than 850,000 people with visual impairment in Ethiopia.

Practical solutions.

According to Jude Okite from the Association for Accessibility and Equality in Kenya, disability rights activists and supporters need to start being intentional to include inclusion starting at a very early stages of all interventions. “We need to incorporate disability accessibility features to websites during the development stages as opposed to incorporating them later”.

It is equally crucial to invest in data and research to first understand the extent of disability on the continent.  “Let us find out the figures. How many of those living with disability live in Africa, how many are women, how many are men, children, etc? said Okite. The lack of disaggregated data and research on the situation of persons with disabilities limits the effectiveness of programming to monitor and advance the rights of persons with disability.

The need for research was echoed by Dr. Busuulwa, who noted that ICTs and disability is still a virgin area for research and development. He urged the business community to proactively think of persons with disabilities as key consumers or a market:  “Make it easier for persons with disability to become interested, and even much easier for the rest to flock your business.”

Mr. Awoke Dagnew, from Together!, noted that issues of persons of disabilities should be mainstreamed in all aspects, academia, research and funding. According to him, “Everyone should understand the situation of persons with disabilities and how they are suffering exclusion.”

Participants urged development partners to make it mandatory within funding structures for grantees to make commitments to include persons of disability in their programming and other interventions.

Besides enforcement of laws, national government were urged to work with private sector, especially the entrepreneurs, and telecom companies, through public private partnerships, to provide accessible and affordable services for persons with disability.

Calling all Digital Creatives: Visual Arts and the Culture of Sharing

By Tess Wandia |

With the rise in popularity of various digital platforms, the ease of sharing content online has improved tremendously. Kenya’s internet penetration, fast approaching the 30% threshold, has seen platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Youtube, become the most popular in the country. This rise in patronage of digital platforms in Kenya, has availed opportunities for ‘online jobs’ for digital artists, online community managers and creators, especially in the wake of Kenya’s unemployment crisis. 

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Championing Internet Freedom and Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at #FIFAfrica2019

By Sandra Acheng, Wougnet |

Due to the rise of internet usage, there is an increasing rate of abuse, threats, and attacks on the internet users’ which women usually fall prey to. The internet can lead to disruption and disinformation and this determines the intensifying need for defending digital human rights violations with a focus on freedom of expression, press freedom and digital rights.

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