Malawi stands to benefit from the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) Assistive Technology (AT) Information Mapping Project that will enable suppliers and sellers of Assistive Technology to market their products for free.
In an email response on Thursday, SAFOD’s Director General, Musa Chiwaula said the organisation has come up with the application to help reduce the hurdles that persons with disabilities in Southern Africa face with regards to accessing AT.
“The opportunity is for companies that supply or sell Assistive Technology products to government, hospitals, persons with disabilities, and whoever may need them within or outside Malawi, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” said Chiwaula.
According to the SAFOD Director General, in Southern Africa, it is estimated that 85-95 percent of persons with disabilities who need AT do not have access to it hence unable to realise other basic human rights such as access to education, health care, employment, information and communication among other things.
“In this context, the project will therefore contribute towards the achievement of a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years,” said Chiwaula.
He said the project would also help in contributing to achieving SDG Number 8 which focuses on promoting inclusive economic growth and productive employment allowing persons with disabilities to fully access the job market.
“Without AT, most persons with disabilities would find it hard to fully access the job market as ATs enhance their functionality within workplaces. Similarly, Goal Number 10 emphasizes the social, economic and political inclusion of persons with disabilities which can be even more feasible when persons with disabilities are accorded the opportunity to access ATs,” said the Director General.
Chiwaula further indicated that the AT marketing application will also provide suppliers and sellers with free wide visibility as it will help marketing their products within their countries as well as throughout the SADC Region and beyond.
“We are not looking to make financial profits in any way whatsoever. We believe that while we will be helping the commercial companies to market their AT products for free, as SAFOD this strategy will also help to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to information related to various categories of AT,” said Chiwaula.
The mobile app is part of the project which is funded by Google Inc called Assistive Technology Information Mapping Project (AT-Info-Map), according to Chiwaula.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) Executive Director, Action Amos has hailed the project saying it is a good development as the world is moving towards digitalising everything.
“This will also help us as a country to be linked up with suppliers of assistive devices as currently we have a major shortage of such devices,” said Amos.
Assistive technology includes a wide range of technology products that are used to support persons with disabilities as they work, learn, play and live in their communities.
Some examples of AT include crutches; wheelchairs, ramps, hearing aids; braille printers and adaptive software and communication devices.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :