|ROUGHLY EDITED FILE
ITU WORKSHOP ON ACCESSIBILITY
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2009
Session 8: The Training Session G3ict ITU Toolkit for Policy Makers on e Accessibility and Service Needs for Persons with Disabilities
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This text is being provided in an unedited format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
>> ANDREA SAKS:
I'm going to begin in 5 minutes, if you could all take your seats. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like you very much to move up, please. Because it will be easier for us to do the workshop, if some of you could move forward, please. Don't be shy. You know we don't bite now.
Also, we need the interpretations devices for the front panel, please. Excuse me.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for coming back for the workshop today. I just want to make a couple of announcements before I turn over the program to Asenath Mpatwa and Axel Leblois.
When you speak, could you remember to give your name, distinctly. Could you tell us your country so that the captioners have an easier time of capturing it for the record.
Also, when you use the microphone, be careful not to put it too close to your mouth. Other wise there's feedback and that causes a problem for interpretation and for captioning for people to hear what is being said. And also if you notice I'm speaking a lot slower, so if you can remember all those things, that would be great. If you don't, don't worry, but do the best you can.
I also want to thank the Mali administration and the organizers for giving us such a wonderful dinner last night and wonderful entertainment.
[ Applause ]
That was absolutely fabulous. We had such a wonderful time, and it was so gratifying to see this wonderful performance and hear this wonderful music, and the dinner was fabulous. Thank you very, very much.
We're going to I'm going to actually leave and work with Christine on the report so I'm going to leave this to Axel Asenath to take over and begin the workshop. Thank you very much.
>> ASENATH MPATWA:
Thank you very much, Andrea. I think we're all ready after a restful night, so this morning, as you heard, we're going to have a workshop on the toolkit.
As you can see in front, we will have the following topics. First, just a brief welcome to outline the key objectives of this session. Then there will be one success story, which is from Japan. I think it is a very inspiring story, so you should look forward to that one.
And then that will be followed by the demographic challenge, which is one of the key issues as we try to understand the dynamics of the persons with disabilities in a given country.
And also the question of awareness, which is also important as we have seen over the last two days.
And then we will look at how to set priorities for policy making, and how can regulators and other stakeholders all team up to make ICT accessibility happen. There will be a short break, as usual. And then we will continue for the next session, which will focus on good practices by looking at a few examples of best practice, and, of course, all these are contained in the toolkit, so as these discussions are going on, we will show you where you can find different resources in the toolkit.
And finally, we will end up with looking at priorities and summarizing what key issues you might take back with you and get the work started.
Now, with that much ado, I will now turn over the podium to Axel Leblois, who will continue with the discussions. Thank you.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: Thank you, Asenath. Don't hesitate to tell me if the sound is not proper or if I speak too fast for translators and for the captioning. Too. This morning we shall address one very practical phase of our workshop, and we shall review a series of elements coming from good practices we have gathered from all over the world.
And my wish is that at the end of each session, we try to agree on one step, on one phase, that seems to be achievable, feasible, in your countries in this particular area that we are reviewing so that at the end of the day, you can have a list of actions that are appropriate for your environment.
Now I'll ask in the room, how many people are representing organizations of people with disabilities? Please raise your hands. How many people are either in a Ministry or with a regulator? Raise your hands, please.
Are there people from telephone operating companies? Two persons. That's wonderful. So 5 persons. So thank you very much.
So we have a tremendous mix, because it will be very interesting because we have representatives from all concerned parties.
Now, this morning I will start with a story coming from Japan, the story of Raku Raku. Has everybody heard of Raku Raku? Raku Raku is a story that points out the concept of universal design, and in universal design, which we talked to you about for the last two days, there are three things that are important, very important.
The first one is that when you apply the principles of the universal design, you should recognize the whole range of aptitudes of the uses of the products and services that you set up and the desire of the population, so you have to make a very detailed assessment of need.
The second thing is that you have to understand the demographics, that is, how many people and which profile to well measure the different aspects. And the third thing the technology is not cooperating. So this is Microsoft. I'm sorry. We don't know when these updating are made automatic, they occur at the worst time, but things will be normal soon.
So Raku Raku is the story of a Japanese Telecom operator called entity DoCoMo one of the largest telephone operators in Japan. They have 50% of the mobile telephony. So in 2001 they have noted that the Japanese market was saturated, that is, that mobile phones were, the number was more than 1 per person. By analyzing very precisely the market segments they realized in the population between 20 and 50 years old, there were more telephones by persons. But after 50 years old, the rate of penetration of mobile telephony among elderly declines with age drastically.
So they had less than 25% of use of mobile telephones among this group of people. There is a curve. It made them think there should be a means to extend their customers to elderly people and to people with disabilities, and after a detailed analysis of the needs of this population they have launched a program for universal design, and to do so, they have associated people with disabilities to their approach.
They have conducted detailed studies disabled people and have launched a telephone line called Raku Raku. This is the origin of the name Raku Raku. So in 2003, they have conducted the first market test and in 2004 the range of products were produced with distribution of products dedicated to people with disabilities.
I will not be facing automatic updating on my screen. I'm sorry for this incident. That was not planned.
And on this phone you have functionalities such as you can detect a text message. You cannot use fingers so you have larger keys, larger screens, and big characters. You can zoom on the screen and you can also listen to your messages text to speech and you also have a particular phone for people who are hard of hearing. You can put it on your head and you can capture your message.
So they have developed all this range of products and network distribution and they have developed stuff to serve people with disabilities and they have started to sell at large scale in 2003 2004. Now in 2009, I'll ask you to guess how many telephones Raku Raku telephones, designed for people with disabilities were sold in Japan for 5 years by entity DoCoMo in this Raku Raku range? This is a guess.
Can you tell me?
How many people with disabilities are in Japan?
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: More or less the same number in our countries in the world. I need at least one estimate from somebody.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: Somebody says 10%, I want one figure. 1,200,000. Who can have another figure? 5 million people. You are getting close. They have reached 15 million of Raku Raku in 5 years.
These statistics, we look at it and you wonder how can we how can they sell 15 million to disabled people in Japan? So I say to the operators present in the room, this is a good story, success story for those markets who want to extend their customers. But it's also true that for the whole population, this is a demonstration that when the products and services are adapted, there's a huge demand that comes.
So with this story I'll try now to make this computer work, and I'd like to take it practically, and say if Microsoft is working this morning, I say Microsoft because I think that they should take the advice of their users before proceeding with automatic updating.
So this story calls upon us and takes us to the following issue. Do you think that this situation is comparable in your countries? If tomorrow you develop a model of telephone for disabled people, do you think that this model of this type has a chance for success, a chance of becoming successful? Yes?
The product will be affordable to the customers financially, and secondly, if the product is adapted, there is an adaptation and financially it will be affordable, these are the two fundamental basic elements.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: Which is a very important point because we think there are opportunities for the regulatory authorities and Ministry of Telecoms to help operators through universal design, to fund with more money the adaptation to disabled people, so there is a great opportunity where everybody can win.
The operators extend their share of the market. The phones of universal design and the Ministry of Telecom achieve better their mission in the field. So this is something we will discuss later today.
The computer is still making updates. It's not a problem.
Now, the next point we will address in the Raku Raku, within the story, is the statistics. Do you have in your respective countries an idea of the statistics, precise statistics about people with disabilities in your country? Somebody says 10% of the population.
Out of 40 million, that makes 1.4 million people with disabilities. Out of 14 million population, 1.4 million live with disabilities.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: I'll show when the computer will be operational again, some tables showing the results of censuses, surveys, demographic censuses and surveys conducted around the world on the rate of people with disabilities among the population. And you will see as I told you yesterday that these range from 2% to 20%. The reason I address this subject this morning is as long as we don't have reliable statistics it's very difficult for government, it's very difficult for people with disabilities to make known their rights and for the operators to have good knowledge of the market.
So the fact of having good statistics is an essential imperative for any policy for the promotion of people with disabilities.
I'll show you some tables, I hope so. I hope I can do it.
So this is the first table I wanted to show you. On this table you have two types of statistics. You have on the left hand side, statistics related to demographic censuses organized by the government to establish the profile of the population. On the right hand side you have surveys done on the basis of sampling. In the two columns, you see the results are quite different.
At left, for Kenya it was 0.7%. In the United States, it's 17% of the population with disabilities. So intuitively you can understand there is a problem. You cannot have 60% in Kenya and 17% in the United States of people with disabilities. We agree so the question now is why this fact? In fact, the basic that was identified as a problem of disparity between the results is the nature of the questions that are asked during these surveys and studies.
For example you can have somebody who come for the survey and say do you have a handicap? This is the worst question because very few people will answer "yes." And in some countries culturally people will not say that there is somebody with disability in the house, and if you ask my mother who is 82 years old if she has disabilities, she will say no. Be but she cannot see very much. She's unable to use a telephone or computer. Is she disabled? I will say yes but if you ask her the question she will answer no.
So the way you ask the question is crucial. And also, there are persons that ask what type of conditions, what type of handicap you can have or disease. And here people who answer said yes, no, yes, no, et cetera. And even for this, there is no result.
Recently 15 years ago, statisticians have started to use statistics on the daily activities of people, what they can do and what they can not do, and in this way, they were more and more sophisticated questions.
To be very concrete, so if you take the world statistics and you look at what type of questions were applied, this is what you find. If you ask, do you have a disability? The rates are very low. From Nigeria, 0.5, 6.3 in Jamaica. A list of conditions. But if you ask questions can you read a paper, can you look at TV, can you have a telephone call, you go to, in the last column, between 10 and 19.4%. This is a result that showed that world statistics are varied and false.
To measure disabilities on censuses you absolutely should ask a question on what people can do, and not on the diseases or their disabilities. Types of questions. Do you have difficulty even if you have glasses? Do you have difficult to difficult to see or to hear, and do you have difficulty walking or climbing stairs? These are real questions that allow you to discover the aptitude of people able to participate in daily activities.
These are the real statistics for disability. So I give you at the bottom a link that is a site of the United Nations for which all the organizations, international organizations, agreed to measure disabilities in countries, and I can tell you that today, very few countries have implemented this link, and the results are successful.
One study has done it, South Africa. I think that Asenath, it's also Tanzania that has applied this, is doing the same thing with this link.
You see for south after can captioning screen by applying these methods of survey of calculation of people with disabilities, these are the results you obtain. Supposing there's between can categories you have 20% of the population with disabilities. That is quite coherent with what you found in the United States. Do you have any questions about this presentation or this
I'm going to talk about the percent with relation to this types of questions. It's true that according to your explanation, this segment depends on the types of questions raised.
I would like to know if the three types of questions raised in one segment keep the same result. We don't have this unfortunately.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: All that we have is we take the results of the country, we ask them how they have assembled the data, what types of questions they have used and we put them on this table.
This is a good question because definitely it gives the real picture of distortion. What we can say is that in countries where handicaps are traditional asking if you have a disability, the statistic is 2%. In Bangkok recently, all the presenters of countries were saying in our country we have 1%, 2% of people with disabilities. I was there. And I said to myself they're completely out of the question. It's unreal. I insist on that because in your respective countries, I think that one type of action to do for people with disabilities is to establish a small study commission at the level of government to see in the statistics submitted in the statistics office and maybe with mobile telephone operators if there is not a means to introduce this type of question in order to have the best idea of what is going on.
In Thailand the regulation authorities were facing this problem so they said our National statistics is not reliable. We don't know how to establish a policy for disabled people. If you don't know the statistics, the numbers. So the authority in Thailand conducted a sampling in the population in Thailand to ask questions according to the definition of identification of disabilities, and they found completely different numbers that allowed them to identify the size if of the population with disabilities.
In your country if it is possible, this is a very useful step for everybody, for disabled people, government operators and regulators, to have these reliable statistics that help to understand the size, the extent of the problem.
So because we cannot leave part of the population excluded from the policy from governmental policy.
I am Zumanam Okaru. I want to tell something about Mali, the statistics about people with disabilities. In Mali, I say that there is a cultural problem. In the rural areas, the people with disabilities are marginalized. If you try to get statistics on this, the number of people with disabilities. For example in our organization we ask all the people with disabilities to come we have 2200 people but we also, we advocate, we ask the parent to let their children come and register.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: If I understand, you call on people with disabilities to identify, in order to identify the number. For people to benefit from social protection for disabled people, they shouldn't have to come and register themselves. This is very important. But what you will observe is there's a considerable segment of the population who will never think of going to register themselves as disabled people because but don't think they are people with disabilities especially with elderly people. It's a great problem.
So here the statistics register will serve you as a basis but at the bottom you have a huge segment of the population that will not be forcibly identified by your method.
The previous slide I would like to say in terms of the activity, can this give a good result in African countries especially in Mali?
Because if you ask somebody what does he do, I think that in our country, those who don't do anything are more numbers than those who exist in activities.
So for me, the results obtained for this activity would not be reliable.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: In South Africa they were employing this method because they applied it fully. I don't know the similarities or differences between South Africa and Mali, but I think that there are possible in terms of urban/rural population and categories of population. But in these questions, you have the questions do you have difficulty of seeing if you have glasses? If you have difficulty to hear even if you're using hearing aids. On this question you can say people don't have a hearing aid but I think here for you your statistics office or the people who do the study should select types of questions adapted to local population.
Look at the list of questions suggested by the United Nations, and go to find in these questions those that make sense for Mali, that make more sense for Mali. Otherwise you will miss for example, the questions with hearing aids, I think that this will not make sense because many people need them but don't have hearing aids so if you ask, can you climb stairs? This is a universal type of question. You can use all the types of questions.
The idea is to know if there are some basic tasks you cannot do in view of your disability. This is an important aspect. Thank you for the question. It is very important that you have the flexibility to create your own questions in function of your environment.
Now I come back to more business prospect and I'll turn to the operators, because there are some of them in the room. Microsoft, in 2003, tried to go from XP to Vista, Microsoft Vista and in Microsoft they had a large discussion saying, is it really important to put these functions in the model? What percentage of the population will be interested in using them.
So they appealed to research that surveyed a sample of more than 1,000 customers in the United States, between 20 and 50 years old. To this population they asked them if you use functionality of accessibility or not in windows, do you need them? The question was very well prepared, developed.
So what percentage of the population of users, Windows users in America use the functionality of Windows today? The percent of this population?
20%, somebody says. I have the first answer. 12%. 80%, somebody says. So I'll give you the reply now and it is very interesting, 57% of the population of users of Windows from all categories one way or the other benefit from accessibility features. What does this statistic mean for ICT? It means that the features you develop on TV, on websites, on computers that are in principle defined for disabled people will serve one more important segment of the population, much more important segment of the population. In fact if you take mobile telephones, we see that Raku Raku in Japan is sold to people who don't have disabilities but find it very pleasant, very easy to use.
For example, I cannot use my telephone, my cell phone, without my glasses and people say I don't see well if I use it without my glasses.
If I had a screen that has more features, it will be good while I am not a person with a disability. So from business point of view I'd like to say that digital accessibility and accessibility in general is not a charity operation. It's a charity operation but it's a performing operation for marketing and competitiveness.
Do you have another microphone.
>> CHRISTOPHE OULÉ:
I would like to say in our country where illiteracy is very high, if the cell phones are adapted with vocal synthesis, it can help the illiterate people who will be helped by registering their addresses in the directory, and for research you just to listen to the names and when you have enough people, local censuses can tell you who has called even if they can't read the numbers.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: Thank you. This is exactly the perfect example to illustrate this concept. You shall see for subtitled television, the same phenomenon applies. The subtitling of TV is very useful for people who try to learn to read. There is always somewhere some benefit, marginal benefit you didn't think about but that has a deep impact on our society and is very good. This is the lesson learned from this demographic study.
I put on the presentation a number of links that could be useful to you, if you wish, that are in the website of this meeting, the group the U.N. Washington group on disability statistics. A series of papers on the same subject that will give you good method logic source and on the toolkit the same issue is addressed and you can have the data you wish to have.
Now we'll change the subject, and now address the role of disabled persons in the defining of policies and policy making in order to compare practices among the different countries. So what I would like to share with you is the following, that is, everywhere we see good policies, good policies put in place. There's a process of National consensus that is established.
In Mali, I'm happy to say that for the ratification of the convention there was a National consensus of all people to well assess the impact of the legislation and organization of the programs of the country. So if there is no consensus, things will not work. For them to function, disabled people should be represented at all the steps of the process.
Certainly it's true that in most cases, for market studies, definition of policies support all the process to support the needs. If you have a disabled person participating, the results will be better so there are many good practices for businesses, companies, government, where some Councils are set up where disabled people are supported financially to participate in them, to have in order to get their advice, their opinion on the policies.
For example I'll mention this later, the largest mobile operator in the United States has a Council for disabled people with which is influencing the company and constantly participates in definition of products and services for disabled people.
This is a sort of mechanism of association of disabled people. In all the countries I know where there are good policies, there are National councils including association of disabled people, people who do research coming from private sector, public sector and work for the area of disabilities.
For example the National Council on disabilities in the United States which is an active supporter of G3ict, they are present in the Congress and they do research, they organize focus groups, they research overseas so my question to you, today in your country, are there some bodies to follow the problem of disability in your countries.
I'd like to add a very important part concerning the recruitment of disabled people at the Civil Service. You refer to article 18 in the Constitution that all disabled people nobody can suffer from discriminatory measures so they are have established recruitment. I don't know if you understand me.
The government has made a decision from the Article 18 of the Civil Service, all people all disabled people can benefit from discriminatory measures so each year there's a quota of recruitment for disabled people in the Civil Service. is very important.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: The question is that establishment of quotas for employment if of disabled people is a good example. That's a good policy. For other countries represented in the room I think that you could have systems so that disabled people can participate in the decision. If you don't have all of the processes at law, it is very important to be active to set up these bodies so that disabled persons can be represented at government level.
In many countries, there are interministerial organizations at the head of states office that deal with these meetings and committees for disabled people. And very often associations of disabled people they're at the lead of innovation and clear projects that have a huge impact hugely positive impact, and there is bookshare.org. This is a digital library dedicated to blind people and people who cannot hear. You can listen to them, you can download it and listen.
In Japan, you can hear 15,000 books on so in the United States there is bookshare.org. We have an official member of this bookshare with Fernando because this is deserved to American people. So Fernando, can you tell us about this bookshare.org?
>> FERNANDO BOTELHO:
Yes. Bookshare.org is an organization that is non government, a civil society organization, and it scans books and makes them available to people who have sent them and registered with them, people have sent a letter from a doctor say they are blind or they have another disability that prevents them from being able to read conventional books.
Once they're registered in the system, they're able to download books to their computer in the Daisy format, which is a universal standard for digital books. And they're able to download these books, and they're also able to contribute books to the collection from bookshare, so any individual that has some time and is able to scan books, I have done this many times, is able to scan books, send them to bookshare, increase the collection of books that they have. They have more than 30,000 books now, and the person that sends contributions of new books to the collection gets also a reduction in the membership cost.
And it's possible for you become a member as an individual, or to register your organization as a member. So I think it's a fantastic system.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: Thank you, Fernando. The only point I want to make here is that this is an extraordinary organization done by disabled people for disabled people and it's quite new and facilitated by the internet. So disabled people and the organizations can do a lot of things, conduct projects and start innovations with good support from their members. So to tell you in English you have the notion of empowerment so take the initiative and it works, it works, because there is a wonderful energy.
So to show you in details, the participation of disabled people in decision making is a basic principle of the Convention and the Convention was established with an extremely important participation from disabled people from all over the world.
So this is an example to be This is a test of the captioning screen.
[ Computer Restart ]
It's a basic need to understand the market, to understand the needs of the population
This is my message. It's very important we can't do anything we want without the participation of disabled people.
Now, have I convinced everybody, those who agree with me, raise your hands, please. The majority of you seems to agree with me, so it's good.
Now we look at the convention as we did since two days, and the Convention covers many areas: TV, so the establishment of priorities is a very delicate, sensitive challenge for governments.
What I would like to try to do is to clarify the motivations that can start these policies. If you have a regulator, it makes sense. You can say, digital accessibility will use these in the country or many cell phones or many TV sets, how many websites, e government. You make sure the main vectors of access to information are effectively accessible. This is the first series of motivation. They puts you in a good position to address the policies in this record, because it is laid on telephony and broadcasting for TV.
Now, in certain countries, we can have concentrations turn to health, social problems with a specific type of disability. You have completely different programs. You have programs to support the categories of the persons with disability rather than another. These are geographic concerns.
In many countries, they can say, we need e accessibility for reasons of social policy. We want in education and for veterans be supported to have e accessibility and another Minister will address this issue, Minister of defense. That means that in a country you will have many motivations and probably many types of applications that would like to be interested, involved. It very good but it's complicated.
I'll continue on this matter. And you also have the approach of human rights consisting of saying but we should be careful. If we introduce an electronic voting machine, will disabled people have access to the different candidates? Who is the owner of these programs? This is a question that is raised everywhere. There are forcibly some priorities and rules for the different subjects but what I wanted to tell you is that first, in one way or the other, it is very important to have a form of interministerial coordination to facilitate it. It is good to have a standard, and if there are few resources, these resources should be used adequately.
One country wants to finance the development of text to speech in local languages. We'll not have the Minister education, Minister of the ministers each of them adopted a different system. The standardization is a very important point so that you can do the best use of your resources that are limited.
From this point of view, I would like to say that for those who are in regulatory authorities, these have a very important role to play. Why? Because they know the story of standards. There are people in the regulatory authorities that are good technicians, they know computers and Telecom and third, I think they have a good idea of problems at the statistical, demographic level for the development of technology and also you have the fund of universities that can be used especially in some manner. The authorities for regulation of the ministries of Telecom, both of them they have an opportunity to serve as essential support within the government services that have to develop the policies.
This is what you can observe now but each country has a different situation. In some countries, the Regulatory Authority is at the level of the President of the Republic, a coordinator. This is the case in many countries, and this coordinator will have a good understanding of the thing.
From time to time I can see some situations of the regulator but in the United States there's a very good coordinator but he doesn't have the technology. There's no technology with him. For ICTs, this is very important, this is all I can say. If you have the opportunity in your country to make proposals, once again try to have a good coordination at the ministerial level.
I'm sorry, but I'm sorry, I have some concerns with my computer today. If you think of the types of policies you can put in place, implement in your countries, I have classified them in two blocks, two types of tools that you can see here. The first one is changing of behaviors so that society adopts a program everywhere in favor of disabled people, or e accessibility.
In this list of possibilities, you have actions consisting of awareness raising on the problem of accessibility and establishing consensus which we discussed before. This is organizing a forum, white papers and ensuring that all the stakeholders are aware of the problems. In fact, they are stakeholders to the solutions.
The second category on which I want to insist and that we have seen been successful in many countries, establishment of codes of conduct and voluntary charters by the different stakeholders. In Telecom you have a voluntary charter with the government, the regulation authority, Telecom operators and association of disabled people. I'll show you an example of this later on that operated well.
The advantage of this system is that you have positive energy. It's not the government that says, you should do this. You must do this. Generally you have this approach and the risk is that there is a response of I hear you but I don't quite agree with you and I'll do things so it doesn't work. So if you can generate voluntary approach with some discipline for actions to take and advertising of results, dissemination of results that will be a very positive approach. It's not always possible but it's a positive approach.
The second step is legislation and regulation. Of course, we have a lot of areas but nothing will happen in a country where people hate rules and laws, in the United States nothing happened for subtitled telephones until the day when there was the law that said you have to put subtitles on TV and we will no more sell TV sets if they're not equipped with the code to do captioning so that is the only way, there are always situations saying that if you can do the voluntary approach or if the voluntary is not possible, you go to legislative regulation approach.
The fourth thing is and the Convention is very specific, as I said, the day before yesterday, there are standards that exist, that work with, the establishment of standards allows to affect the change in the marketing of ICTs, because if you can say there is a standard for the country and it will be the following, then if it is a concern for the process, everybody will follow the standard. This is a very important arm that the Ministries of ICT know very well.
And the fifth tool that is extremely important is public invitation to bid, public biddings. If you think one second it is unacceptable to use the money of the taxpayer to go and buy tools from a Telecom product that are not accessible, you agree with me on this? You shouldn't spend government money to by inaccessible products. You agree with me? Raise your hands. Yeah, I see that even in India they agree with me.
So there are rules that are established in many countries where you cannot do bidding if there is no provision in the bidding imposing that a product or service should be accessible to disabled persons. In the United States they were the first ones to do it according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. To do so, they have created, established a committee including one for ICT defining the accessibility for telephones, for any tool that the government will have to buy. What is the consequence of this?
First, if you have an ICT seller and the market of government represent 1/3 of your sales, you will tell yourself I don't want to lose 1/3 of my market so immediately it creates a very high level of attention on the production for digital accessibility. It's very powerful.
If you ask the seller to do bidding for accessible products I think the example of a website, what does it do, the local services will have to train their staff on digital accessibility. It will create a population of people in businesses who start to have skills to treat e accessibility because it's necessary for public bidding.
So this bidding creates opportunities to have local skills in e accessibility. If you have in your government an organization that is in charge of bidding to control or establish them and establish rules forbidding you have to talk to them, tell them, in the Convention on the rights of disabled people there are provisions that make that you cannot make bidding without having without demanding products with e accessibility for disabled people.
You can take the example of the United States and it is very important. I think particularly that it is quite unacceptable to do one bidding for the design of the website for e government that are not accessible for disabled people.
Do we agree? Does it make sense for you?
In many cases, there are financial problems because some things are for low cost but some others cost a lot, are high cost. In all the examples we have mentioned, we note that there are a lot of political will but not many costs, not much cost. So the opposition saying that it costs too much money is false. So if you develop a new site, the addition cost to make it accessible site is zero. There are times where you have costs. For example, we have mentioned and we will mention also later the opportunity for to fund the localization of some certain tools of assistive technology.
For example, in Italy, the text software can be downloaded from the operator, directly from the operator. They can just download it free on their telephone, free of charge on their telephone. So there is a small cost. Maybe you have to buy the license from the country, adapt to local conditions, put it on the server, there are small costs. But in these conditions where are we to go to look for the money? There are government budgets. In many countries, we were talking about the quotas.
In many countries there are quotas and when businesses are not in compliance they pay some fines. For each person with in deficit, they pay a fine. This fine goes to a disability fund and this fund is used to support initiatives supporting insertion of disabled people in everyday life so this is another source. I don't know how many countries have this type of device but it exists in some countries.
Also we have the Universal Service Fund. These Universal Service Funds are not present in all the countries but I think several countries in this room do have them so those who have that, please raise your hands. Is there are some.
In these funds there are a lot of money. A lot of money.
>> Youssouf Diakité: The Universal Service Fund is fueled from the is fueled by retaining 3% on the budget in Senegal. We have 10 to 15 billion CFA in this universal fund.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: This is an impressive statistic.
Thank you. For the Universal Service Fund, 3% for Senegal. In Guinea, it's 2%. We retain 2%. 1% research and development. So we join 3% for Senegal.
>> Just to add one thing to the Universal Service Fund in Gambia we've included the penalties we impose on operators who violate certain rules or regulations, whatever penalties they pay we plow into the universal fund.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: Excellent. That goes to initiatives for disabled persons? That's great.
In Guinea Bissau it's something because we follow what is fixed by the organization in the framework of the strategy. It's up to 3%. We've put it on all the specification books. If an operator wants to operate in Guinea Bissau they know they have to pay this percentage to the Universal Service Fund. That's what I said yesterday. We are now regulating reauthorization and we shall resolve all the problems of contribution for accessibility of ICT for disabled people. The government can resolve this with some resources coming from telecommunication.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: This is a very good thing. It's wonderful to hear this, because this Universal Service Fund were created to create the equality of access among citizens, and beginning it was dedicated to rural areas but now we call it the new Frontier with mobile telephone extending everywhere and the next step will be the accessibility for disabled people. It's entirely logical for universal fund. We agree. Do we agree on this?
If you are in a rural area you benefit twice and this is very good. You're not against this.
In Togo, it's the same thing. 3%, including 1% for research and development, but the universal service is the to bring the basic telecommunications into remote areas so we say that the law doesn't take account of the digital accessibility at defined now but what we can do possibly is to think to the modification of the law by integrating into it the concept of digital accessibility.
What I would like is that African countries should consider digital accessibility as a service, and possibly insert them in the book of specifications of operators. This way, they are obliged and we can define later the indicators of quality of services allowing to assess, to evaluate particularly these criteria.
This is my opinion.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: I quite agree with you, thank you. Thank you to have made this contribution. It's very important. For those countries where the Fund has a charter, that includes only the geographic equalization we have to modify if possible the charter.
Some countries have done so. Thailand is doing the modification of the charter for their fund to use fully their fund for disabled persons. If the charter permits it, it's good. If it doesn't I put it in actions to take that is incorporating the law, the act defining for universal service, the access to disabled persons.
The second thing is if voluntary approach doesn't work, as a regulator, when you deliver licenses, there are conditions to grant licenses. You can add and you should add a criterion for digital accessibility knowing that today you have some hand sets, some mobile telephones on the market that have these functionalities. There's nothing magic.
The operator should arrange with these manufacturers to have these features, functionalities, on his product. It's not impossible. It's not out of reach.
I would like to say that in Mali, there is a fund, National fund for employment, so I think that its budget, the budget for this fund is composed is made from constitutes 3% of the government budget so this fund it finances employment of disabled persons so there is also a great budget a large budget that has been developed the program for employment of youth. This program employs many disabled youth who have great waited without employment to prepare them for the labor market, and also we have a fund that funds many projects for disabled people.
Also we have a fund for employment that funds many projects for disabled people, so I want to say that last year, the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training has visited many projects for disabled people, and he has met associations of disabled people and asked them to design some projects, develop projects, and send them at his Department so that they can be funded.
So I want to say that in the field of employment, the government is doing a lot, and as the person said, the person the convention the government has ratified, each year the government recruits some 30 or 40 disabled youth, graduates, disabled youth, and assigns them to public service. And each year, the federation and associations do some advocacy so that disabled employees can be employed in private sectors or state companies or to have training for disabled persons. This was my contribution. Thank you.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: Thank you very much. This is very important in the sense that ICT can be a tool for professional insertion and also for professional progress for disabled people, because they can allow them to cover many fields they couldn't cover.
In a country like Mali, I'm not here to tell you what to do, but in instinctively I feel that if you have a central skill for assistive technologies it would be important that the same to establish some standards so that the Ministry of education, or Minister of ICT, work together to avoid applications and they should have a National policy so that you have some consensus on what technology to boost, and what product to boost.
This is an enormous source of funding. Good training to ICT with assistive technology is a significant investment. I'll give you a statistic on what you said. Coming from the United States, do you know that what is the percentage of blind adults in the United States who are unemployed?
The percentage of blind adults in the United States who are unemployed?
Don't say it, Fernando. You know the reply. 50%? 10%? 20%?
8%. 15%. You're wrong, 70%. 70% of blind adults are unemployed in the United States.
How much does it cost to give training and equipment and software and material for access to computers to one blind person? Maybe it's $15,000. It's huge. It's more than necessary, but what is the cost for the Federal government to have a blind person at home supported with minimum income and Federal health coverage? $75,000 per year. Do the calculation quickly. You can do the calculation quickly.
So in the fields of policy of unemployment, all places that allow disabled people to have access to digital technology and work is an investment, is significant investment. The problem is that in the investment for technology, assistive technology, is a very good investment.
Among the other sources of funding, the users, they can contribute to a series of initiatives. Private industry if they're convinced of the marketing elements, they can fund many things but you have to launch an information campaign.
I can give you many cases of very large companies, I'll mention intercontinental hotel, Delta Air Lines, very large chain of pharmacy that have identified e accessibility as extraordinary tool of competition. They propose all their websites should be accessible to all their branches in order that they were losing a large part of the market because they didn't have access to persons with some disabilities. If you do the campaign
>> CHRISTINE MUGIMBA:
Thank you very much. I had a point earlier but you didn't see my hand up. When you mentioning the licensing criteria for e accessibility you made a point that the already existing mobile phones with these accessibility features shouldn't be a problem but the issue we have in developing countries is that these mobile phones are imported so the manufacturers are elsewhere. We just get them through different avenues, and so ensuring that they're actually compliant is a challenge.
And I think it needs to, for example we don't have facilities to have conformance testing and having marks to ensure that whatever comes into the country actually meets is compliant with the accessibility features so that's a challenge that I thought I should throw in, in terms of how do you balance that?
While you may put the requirement but as a regulator, how do you enforce it? Because the challenge regulators often have is to balance putting a requirement you cannot enforce within a license even as much as it's important.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: The question is to know if when you're a regulator in a country, the difficult is to check the compliance, if you demand that operator provides some accessible equipment for mobile telephony, how do you make sure that this equipment are compliant with the accessibility you wish?
Maybe you ask the question point blank. I have three answers. First thing, some countries have already done the work, and this work has been done in large markets overseas. Maybe it is possible that you look what is which is the country which are the countries that are closest to your own standards? And maybe and deduce that some models are accessible to you.
And the second solution that we could consider is I wonder if there is no possibility of cooperation between regulators in Africa? Because if you want to all do the same thing, it's not necessary. Maybe if you have an association of African regulators, you should have a small committee to establish and extend information on those models that seem to answer your requirements, and if you take the association of disabled people in the country and make them test these telephones it is very simple because often, we make theoretical test, and when you try the product concretely, it doesn't work so you have to involve associate disabled people in the process. It's very low cost and very efficient. If you have an association of blind in your country, if your association of blind Del gates two or three people knowing the technology you can have the support from the National association of blind to promote the telephone. This is wonderful for the operator. Everyone wins.
So once again you have associate the disabled persons in the process is very low cost and very efficient. Have I answered your question? Yes.
I have heard Madam's question with much interest, in our country in Togo, in the law we have what we call the termination equipment. We can have accessibility for terminal equipment.
If we enter in some many things should be standardized in telephone equipment.
>> AXEL LEBLOIS: This is the ideal solution. You have the international development agencies, The World Bank, African development, inter American development bank et cetera that have programs that fund programs of accessibility. I was talking about Tunisia that received funding from The World Bank to standardize to put web accessibility standards for all the government websites. You can also find a large budget in international development agencies and this implies a very specific definition of your project.
So now, we have a coffee break now. Thank you for your patience. We are 5 minutes we are 5 minutes late.
>> ASENATH MPATWA:
Thank you very much, Axel.
[ Applause ]
I think we will have now about 25 minutes coffee break. Because we've taken up some 5 minutes and when we come back, we will look at possible areas where accessibility would be implemented. So I ask you to take your break quickly and come back, if possible. We can start earlier because we have to finish by 12:30. Thank you.
[ End of Session 30 minute break ]
This text is being provided in an unedited format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.