Innovative Competence Network for E-Inclusion and Assistive Technologies: The Kenya and Zimbabwe Experience

Authors : Amos C. Kirongo*, Benjamin Aigner, Guyo S. Huka, and Christoph Veigl

Abstract
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based Assistive Tools allow individuals with even severe disabilities to learn, work in a well-paid job and participate in social activities. However, suitable Assistive Tools are often not available or hardly affordable to people with low income, especially in countries of the Global South. In order to address these challenges, Meru University of Science and Technology Kenya, University of Harare – Zimbabwe and the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien established various resources in the sector of Assistive Technology, including various open source designs for alternative computer input solutions. These resources will be exchanged and applied under the planned Competence Network for e-Inclusion and Assistive Technology (CNEAT) program. The aim of the program is to establish dedicated centres to share knowledge, tools and best-practice models for affordable Assistive Technology and its application. A delegation of the Meru University of Science and Technology and the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien visited Schools with persons with disabilities in Kenya at Igoji Small Home, Kaaga School for the Mentally Handicapped and Athi Special School in Meru County. Secondary and primary information regarding these Centres were studied and analyzed. The findings from the site visits identified the lack of resources that exist in these schools. Assistive Technologies and solutions be co-created, and provided on demand, to persons with disabilities, raising their self-efficiency and contributing to the reduction of poverty in the region. Further, Assistive Technology solutions would catalyze development and human wellness by addressing the indigenous knowledge and customs for continued decolonization of approaches to human resource development.
Keywords: Assistive Technologies, Human Wellness, Assistive Tools, e-Inclusion, Decolonization

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