‘Accessible environment needed for persons with disabilities’

BHUBANESWAR, INDIA: A barrier-free environment is needed for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to move safely and freely,” said the speakers at a district-level advocacy workshop for Zilla Parishad members on ‘Accessibility and barrier-free environment for children with disabilities’ organised by the Open Learning System here on Friday.

Inaugurating the workshop, Puri ZP chairperson Debraj Behera said barrier-free environment enables people with disabilities to move safely and freely and use the facilities within the built environment. The goal of barrier-free design is to provide an environment that supports independent functioning of individuals and participate without assistance, he added.

Adviser to SCPD Dr PR Das said an accessible environment provides benefits not only persons with disabilities but also helps the persons with reduced mobility like elderly people, pregnant women and families with young children.

Resource person RK Sharma said that steep ramps should not be installed during construction of buildings.

Among others, Puri ZP vice-chairman SM Baral and resource persons Sumitra Panda and Sarojini Moharana were present.

Source: Daily Pioneer

Are You Interested in Representing Your Country for the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES)?

GAATES is seeking Country Representatives to promote accessibility in your country and participate in the Global Alliance.

GAATES is the leading international organization focusing on accessibility of the built environment, transportation, information and communications technologies and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Please submit your applications for consideration.

Applications will be reviewed by our Review Committee which meets every 3 months.  Positions are for 1 year terms.

For more information on the Benefits and Obligations of being a Country Representative, and for the application form, please visit GAATES at http://gaates.org/regions

If you are not yet a member, but are interested in applying for a Country Representative position, GAATES membership is free, just register on-line at http://gaates.org/join/country-rep-application

Thank you for your interest, we look forward to hearing from you.

Mukhtar Al Shibani
GAATES President

Building barrier-free environment in Ghana for people with disabilities

Feb 20: Ghana is among the few countries in Africa that have taken affirmative action in favour of marginalised groups at a higher level with a focus on persons with disabilities. These efforts have resulted in laws and policies promoting equality, inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society.

The Government of the Republic of Ghana back in 1996 developed the National Disability Policy leading to the passage on the National Disability Law, Act 715 of 2006 aims at promoting equal opportunities, enhance, empower and seek the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities irrespective of gender, age, or type of disability.

However, advocacy, implementation and supervision of disability programmes are severely lacking. Accessibility is one of the key elements addressed in these policies and laws. Due to limited enforcement of disability laws, absence of National Accessibility Standards and lack of knowledge about the rights of persons with disabilities, laws and policies on accessibility have been largely overlooked.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility entails understanding its relation to areas of life beyond just the physical environment.
Areas that are often overlooked are access to services, information and communication which are an integral part of making a barrier-free society and address the accessibility needs of persons with sensory, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities as well. These aspects should be addressed in a set of complementary Standards.

The environment in Ghana is not barrier-free. It does not allow easy and safe movement, function or access for all, regardless of age, sex or condition. Access by all to physical space and to services is not possible without obstacles, which leads to loss of dignity and independence.

This is in recognition that persons with disabilities can live to their full potential given the same conditions and opportunities. The national disability policy and Act 715 and the 1992republican Constitution and other legal legislations also provide for accessibility not only for persons with disabilities but also for elderly persons, the sick, pregnant women, and those carrying heavy loads.

Despite the efforts of the government to establish a conducive environment for participation of Persons with disabilities in all spheres of life, there is still difficulties in terms of accessing the physical infrastructure as most buildings do not have facilities such as ramps, lifts, and so on.

Some of the existing accessibility facilities are not designed according to the required Standards and as a result, persons with disabilities continue to face difficulties in accessing them. Leading to discrimination, violation of the rights of persons with disability and deliberately putting impediment to the disabled to exhibit their full potential to contribute to the development of Ghana and Africa.

People affected by accessibility barriers: People who use wheelchairs, people with limited walking/movement abilities, People with visual impairment or low vision, People with hearing impairment, People with intellectual disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Elderly persons, Pregnant women and People with temporary disabilities

The need for Accessibility Standards: To the best of my knowledge one of the cardinal reasons why it has been very difficult to implement the legal provisions on accessibility is the absence of Accessibility Standards to guide architects, property developers, policy makers and implementers on the accessibility requirements in the physical environment during the design and implementation of construction projects.

The goal of the Accessibility Standards is to contribute to improving equal access for persons with disabilities, in order to enable them to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.

• To provide a blueprint for creating an accessible physical environment.
• To provide a tool for measurement and auditing of accessibility of the environment.
The Standards are intended for use by a variety of stakeholders, including those that:
• Develop laws, policies and regulations e.g Parliament and line ministries.
• Build and implement changes in the physical environment such as architects, contractors, engineers and those who own or operate public infrastructure or services like the banks, churches and other service providers.

ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DIFFERENT DISABILITIES

The principal targets for these Standards are people with different disabilities. In order to harmonize between the accessibility needs of different groups, there is need to have a proper understanding of these needs which differ from one disability to another.

People who use wheelchairs: Many accessibility requirements relate to dimensions and other aspects of wheelchairs. In order to achieve a complete turn with the wheelchair, it is necessary to provide an unobstructed circle with a minimum diameter of 1.50m.

Considerable energy is required to propel a wheelchair manually up ramps, over changes in level and over soft or uneven surfaces. Therefore the Standards address those aspects in particular.

Resistance between the floor and the wheelchair wheels depends on the floor surface of the pathway – whether it is even or uneven, firm or loose. Changes in level should be avoided and the floor surface should be hard, even and slip resistant.

People with movement difficulties may use crutches or sticks: Special attention must be paid to avoid broken, rough or sloping floor surface and surfaces that become particularly slippery after rainfall, such as wood covering, granite, hard burnt bricks, gravel and Murom.

The following aspects are important to enable independent movement for people using wheelchairs and other assistive devices:

• Changes in level should be avoided.
• Floor surfaces should be hard, even and slip resistant.
• Rails should be provided on stairs and ramps.
• Ramps should have resting places and be of low slope along travel routes.
• Pathways should be of limited slope and include sufficient turning radius.
• Doors should be light and easy to turn, and entrances should be sufficiently wide.
• Parking space should be close to the main entrance.
• Furniture, counters, equipment, power sockets, and plugs should be placed at suitable heights reachable by persons who use wheelchairs.
• Handrails should be easy to grasp.

Persons with visual impairments: For blind persons and persons with visual impairments, orientation can be eased by the use of contrasting colours and changes in the texture of the floor material. This helps a blind person in identifying doors, stairs, steps, ramps and pedestrian crossings.

The path of travel should be easy to detect by a blind person using a long white cane. A guide strip with a contrasting floor texture running parallel to main pathway should be used for this purpose.
The use of protruding elements and low overhanging signs should be avoided in pathways.
Visual capability is different from one person to another and changes with age and disability.
Lighting systems should be made to suit different needs a In order to provide a barrier-free environment for blind persons and persons with visual impairment, the physical surroundings should be arranged in a simple and logical way.
Visual information should be accompanied by audible information, handrails should be available to grip when using stairs, and ramps, entrances, stairs, and information boards should be well lighted.

Blind persons are aided by tactile and auditory information. Therefore, written information should be made available in braille and visual information should be accompanied by audible information.

Persons with hearing impairments: People with hearing impairments may experience difficulty in distinguishing words and sounds in noisy environments. Therefore, rooms should be acoustically insulated.

Supplementary visual information should be provided for deaf persons and persons with hearing impairments, such as visual information at airports and bus stations, and alarms and bells in lifts.

People with learning or intellectual disabilities: Some people with learning or intellectual disabilities experience difficulties in understanding or interpreting information like signs, and in distinguishing between different colours or between left or right.

The following design elements will enable people experiencing these difficulties to physically access the built environment: simple design with clear and unambiguous sign postings; use of signs and notice boards with pictures and symbols; and separation of a mass of information into a number of signs that can be more easily read and understood than in one sign.

Other Groups: In addition to enabling access to persons with disabilities, the Standards also ensure access to other groups, such as elderly persons, pregnant women, people and children with temporary disabilities, and people carrying heavy or cumbersome luggage. In short, accessibility benefits all persons and the Standards ensure a barrier-free environment for all people include the possibility of adjustments from low to strong light.
Winding staircases, vertical turning doors and side-hung doors should equally be avoided.

Conclusion
Despite the efforts of the government, Ghana Federation of the Disabled and its partner, the network of journalist for the promotion of the Rights of persons with Disability in Africa (PROMOAFRICA) and other OPWDs to establish a conducive environment for participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life, they still face difficulties in terms of accessing the physical infrastructure.

Most buildings do not have facilities such as ramps, lifts, and so on. Some of the existing accessibility facilities are not designed according to the required Standards and as a result, persons with disabilities continue to face difficulties in accessing them. The responsibility lies on us as citizen to help build a better environment all persons living in the land of gold call Ghana. The author is the president of the network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disability in Africa (PROMOAFRICA) and the managing editor of the EVENING TRIBUNE newspaper.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com

Building barrier-free environment in Ghana for people with disabilities

Feb 20: Ghana is among the few countries in Africa that have taken affirmative action in favour of marginalised groups at a higher level with a focus on persons with disabilities. These efforts have resulted in laws and policies promoting equality, inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society.

The Government of the Republic of Ghana back in 1996 developed the National Disability Policy leading to the passage on the National Disability Law, Act 715 of 2006 aims at promoting equal opportunities, enhance, empower and seek the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities irrespective of gender, age, or type of disability.

However, advocacy, implementation and supervision of disability programmes are severely lacking. Accessibility is one of the key elements addressed in these policies and laws. Due to limited enforcement of disability laws, absence of National Accessibility Standards and lack of knowledge about the rights of persons with disabilities, laws and policies on accessibility have been largely overlooked.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility entails understanding its relation to areas of life beyond just the physical environment.
Areas that are often overlooked are access to services, information and communication which are an integral part of making a barrier-free society and address the accessibility needs of persons with sensory, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities as well. These aspects should be addressed in a set of complementary Standards.

The environment in Ghana is not barrier-free. It does not allow easy and safe movement, function or access for all, regardless of age, sex or condition. Access by all to physical space and to services is not possible without obstacles, which leads to loss of dignity and independence.

This is in recognition that persons with disabilities can live to their full potential given the same conditions and opportunities. The national disability policy and Act 715 and the 1992republican Constitution and other legal legislations also provide for accessibility not only for persons with disabilities but also for elderly persons, the sick, pregnant women, and those carrying heavy loads.

Despite the efforts of the government to establish a conducive environment for participation of Persons with disabilities in all spheres of life, there is still difficulties in terms of accessing the physical infrastructure as most buildings do not have facilities such as ramps, lifts, and so on.

Some of the existing accessibility facilities are not designed according to the required Standards and as a result, persons with disabilities continue to face difficulties in accessing them. Leading to discrimination, violation of the rights of persons with disability and deliberately putting impediment to the disabled to exhibit their full potential to contribute to the development of Ghana and Africa.

People affected by accessibility barriers: People who use wheelchairs, people with limited walking/movement abilities, People with visual impairment or low vision, People with hearing impairment, People with intellectual disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Elderly persons, Pregnant women and People with temporary disabilities

The need for Accessibility Standards: To the best of my knowledge one of the cardinal reasons why it has been very difficult to implement the legal provisions on accessibility is the absence of Accessibility Standards to guide architects, property developers, policy makers and implementers on the accessibility requirements in the physical environment during the design and implementation of construction projects.

The goal of the Accessibility Standards is to contribute to improving equal access for persons with disabilities, in order to enable them to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.

• To provide a blueprint for creating an accessible physical environment.
• To provide a tool for measurement and auditing of accessibility of the environment.
The Standards are intended for use by a variety of stakeholders, including those that:
• Develop laws, policies and regulations e.g Parliament and line ministries.
• Build and implement changes in the physical environment such as architects, contractors, engineers and those who own or operate public infrastructure or services like the banks, churches and other service providers.

ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DIFFERENT DISABILITIES

The principal targets for these Standards are people with different disabilities. In order to harmonize between the accessibility needs of different groups, there is need to have a proper understanding of these needs which differ from one disability to another.

People who use wheelchairs: Many accessibility requirements relate to dimensions and other aspects of wheelchairs. In order to achieve a complete turn with the wheelchair, it is necessary to provide an unobstructed circle with a minimum diameter of 1.50m.

Considerable energy is required to propel a wheelchair manually up ramps, over changes in level and over soft or uneven surfaces. Therefore the Standards address those aspects in particular.

Resistance between the floor and the wheelchair wheels depends on the floor surface of the pathway – whether it is even or uneven, firm or loose. Changes in level should be avoided and the floor surface should be hard, even and slip resistant.

People with movement difficulties may use crutches or sticks: Special attention must be paid to avoid broken, rough or sloping floor surface and surfaces that become particularly slippery after rainfall, such as wood covering, granite, hard burnt bricks, gravel and Murom.

The following aspects are important to enable independent movement for people using wheelchairs and other assistive devices:

• Changes in level should be avoided.
• Floor surfaces should be hard, even and slip resistant.
• Rails should be provided on stairs and ramps.
• Ramps should have resting places and be of low slope along travel routes.
• Pathways should be of limited slope and include sufficient turning radius.
• Doors should be light and easy to turn, and entrances should be sufficiently wide.
• Parking space should be close to the main entrance.
• Furniture, counters, equipment, power sockets, and plugs should be placed at suitable heights reachable by persons who use wheelchairs.
• Handrails should be easy to grasp.

Persons with visual impairments: For blind persons and persons with visual impairments, orientation can be eased by the use of contrasting colours and changes in the texture of the floor material. This helps a blind person in identifying doors, stairs, steps, ramps and pedestrian crossings.

The path of travel should be easy to detect by a blind person using a long white cane. A guide strip with a contrasting floor texture running parallel to main pathway should be used for this purpose.
The use of protruding elements and low overhanging signs should be avoided in pathways.
Visual capability is different from one person to another and changes with age and disability.
Lighting systems should be made to suit different needs a In order to provide a barrier-free environment for blind persons and persons with visual impairment, the physical surroundings should be arranged in a simple and logical way.
Visual information should be accompanied by audible information, handrails should be available to grip when using stairs, and ramps, entrances, stairs, and information boards should be well lighted.

Blind persons are aided by tactile and auditory information. Therefore, written information should be made available in braille and visual information should be accompanied by audible information.

Persons with hearing impairments: People with hearing impairments may experience difficulty in distinguishing words and sounds in noisy environments. Therefore, rooms should be acoustically insulated.

Supplementary visual information should be provided for deaf persons and persons with hearing impairments, such as visual information at airports and bus stations, and alarms and bells in lifts.

People with learning or intellectual disabilities: Some people with learning or intellectual disabilities experience difficulties in understanding or interpreting information like signs, and in distinguishing between different colours or between left or right.

The following design elements will enable people experiencing these difficulties to physically access the built environment: simple design with clear and unambiguous sign postings; use of signs and notice boards with pictures and symbols; and separation of a mass of information into a number of signs that can be more easily read and understood than in one sign.

Other Groups: In addition to enabling access to persons with disabilities, the Standards also ensure access to other groups, such as elderly persons, pregnant women, people and children with temporary disabilities, and people carrying heavy or cumbersome luggage. In short, accessibility benefits all persons and the Standards ensure a barrier-free environment for all people include the possibility of adjustments from low to strong light.
Winding staircases, vertical turning doors and side-hung doors should equally be avoided.

Conclusion
Despite the efforts of the government, Ghana Federation of the Disabled and its partner, the network of journalist for the promotion of the Rights of persons with Disability in Africa (PROMOAFRICA) and other OPWDs to establish a conducive environment for participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life, they still face difficulties in terms of accessing the physical infrastructure.

Most buildings do not have facilities such as ramps, lifts, and so on. Some of the existing accessibility facilities are not designed according to the required Standards and as a result, persons with disabilities continue to face difficulties in accessing them. The responsibility lies on us as citizen to help build a better environment all persons living in the land of gold call Ghana. The author is the president of the network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disability in Africa (PROMOAFRICA) and the managing editor of the EVENING TRIBUNE newspaper.

Source: http://www.ghanaweb.com

Now Available – GFDRR Publications on Disability-inclusive DRM

World Bank Group - Social, Urban, Rural & ResilienceWASHINGTON, DC, USA: Over the past year, members of the Disability & Development team of The World Bank reached out to their networks for inputs and insights into Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) supported work on including persons with disabilities in Disaster Risk Management (DRM).  The GFDRR is a global partnership managed by the World Bank, that supports disaster risk management projects worldwide, is ‘committed to promoting socially inclusive disaster risk management and has prioritized the engagement and empowerment of persons with disabilities.’

Betty Dion, Vashkar Bhattacharjee and Federico Batista-Poitier were invited to represent GAATES and share their experience and resources.  Their valuable expertise was consulted to ensure that disability-inclusive DRM considers the needs of the vulnerable in not only planning of the built environment, but to also consider their needs first in the occurrence of a natural disaster or other need for evacuation.

This work has resulted into a report and policy brief on disability inclusive DRM published by GFDRR. In addition, they have also drafted an internal action plan for increased targeted efforts in the future.

From the report, a recent survey of the literature and experience identified five broad active that development institutions and governments, as well as their partners and stakeholders, can take to improve disability-inclusive DRM. Those five actions are:

  1. Include persons with disabilities as valued stakeholders in disaster risk management activities.
  2. Help remove barriers to the full participation of persons with disabilities.
  3. Increase awareness among governments and their partners of the safety and security need of persons with disabilities.
  4. Collect data that is disaggregated by disability.
  5. Ensure that new construction, rehabilitation and reconstruction are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Free to circulate widely and be shared within networks and communities, those involved hope these resources help to make a difference and promote the importance of Disaster Risk Management.

Written internally.

Source: The World Bank

Successful Accessibility Certification Graduate

Photo of Richard Tambe Mobile Premise

Richard Tambe Mobile Premise

CAMEROON, AFRICA: Cameroon resident Richard Tambe has a dream to make Cameroon more accessible to it’s citizens and visitors.   To realize that dream, he registered with GAATES and successfully completed his certification as an expert in accessibility of the built environment. Richard was highly motivated to achieve his certification to give him the credibility to make change in his country.  He has a plan.

GAATES initiated the International Certification Program in 2017 to meet an identified need for recognition of international certification of accessibility consultants who are working with the built environment. GAATES graduates are emerging or current leaders in the accessibility field with the technical knowledge, experience and credibility in the field of accessibility and application of universal design to the built environment. GAATES has a roster of recognized international accessibility experts that conduct the reviews and interviews. The application procedure is available on the GAATES website www.gaates.org.

Richard’s knowledge and experience earned him certification as an accessibility consultant. His character and commitment to inclusion despite extenuating barriers has earned our respect and admiration.

Due to a spinal cord injury, Richard brings a personal insight to his accessibility work. Despite his heightened awareness of mobility barriers his work is characterized by a strong awareness of the full range of disabilities and design solutions for all.

Richard’s plan is to continue his work from the city of Bamenda in the north-west region of Cameroon. This region has seen recent political upheaval that has sometimes been violent and caused the closing of schools and businesses. Despite these uncertainties, his spirit for inclusion is highlighted by his founding of an inclusive vocational primary school, ensuring access to accessible polling stations, Braille election materials and sub-titling and sign language interpretation of election news.

Having received international certification as an accessibility consultant, Richard plans to expand his consultancy business by contributing to the development of improved building codes and standards and to continue to promote universal design in Cameroon and beyond.  We congratulate him on being an accessibility rock-star.

Source: GAATES News

Stakeholders to Make Delhi a Model Accessible City

Left to right- Chief Commissioner for persons with Disabilities, Secretary , Jt Secretary and Director Department of Empowerment of persons with Disabilities

The Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Smt. Shakuntala D. Gamlin chairing the ‘1st Sensitization Meeting of Stakeholders to make Delhi a Model Accessible City’, in New Delhi on May 07, 2018.

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is having the commitment to uphold the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and to ensure the accessible and inclusive assets are created in the country. Chairing the ‘1st Sensitization Meeting of Stakeholders to make Delhi a Model Accessible City’ On May 7th, 2018, Smt. Shakuntala D. Gamlin, Secretary, DEPwD said that the Department has taken up the initiative to coordinate the meeting of all key stakeholders, sensitize them about the legal mandates and would hold supervisory role in this entire journey.

Secretary, DEPwD said that Delhi being the capital city of the country is proposed to be selected for this drive. The rationale for selecting Delhi is that it is assuming increasing eminence among the great cities of the world. Growing at an unprecedented pace, the city needs to be able to integrate its elegant past as well as the modern developments into an organic whole, which demands a purposeful transformation of the socio-economic, natural and built environment. Due to daily influx of visitors and representatives from different parts of the country, a capital city which is also a prime example of “Barrier free environment” and “Inclusivity”, would enhance visibility of the campaign and would also serve as a replicable model for others to follow. Apart from critical issues such as land, physical infrastructure, transport, ecology and environment, housing, socio-cultural and other institutional facilities, the cornerstone for making Delhi an Accessible city is the planning process itself and related aspects of governance and management. This needs a co-ordinated and integrated approach amongst several stakeholders and participatory planning involved with providing services such as Health, Education, Banking, Recreation, Sports etc. The process will commence with: Identification of important built-spaces, public transport infrastructure, services, recreational areas, tourism sites etc. in Delhi; Categorization of the infrastructure and spaces; and Selection of the key executing bodies.

It is a well-established fact that, disability is caused by the way society is organised, and not the person’s limitations and impairments. The physical, social, structural and attitudinal barriers prevent People with Disabilities (PwDs) from participating equally in the socio-cultural and economic activities. A barrier-free environment facilitates equal participation in all the activities and promotes an independent and dignified way of life. India ratified United Nations Conventions on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) 2007. This convention required that India make a number of changes to its laws, policies, regulations, notifications, programs, and schemes. As a part of the process of bringing the legal instruments of India into compliance with the UNCRPD, the process of enacting a new legislation in place of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 (PWD Act, 1995) began in 2010. Meanwhile, Accessible India Campaign (AIC) was launched on December 3, 2015 and subsequently the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016 was enacted replacing the PwD Act 1995.  The AIC has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of PwDs so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives. As a nation-wide flagship campaign for creating universal accessibility for PwDs in Built Environment, Transport system, and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) eco-system, objectives were set up to enhance the proportion of accessible government buildings, accessible public transport and accessible websites.

Further, RPwD Act 2016 mandates that all the Establishments/institutions should ensure barrier free spaces and services for rightful inclusion of PwDs in the society. The Act lays stress on non-discrimination, full and effective participation and inclusion in society, respect for difference and acceptance of disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity, equality of opportunity, accessibility and equality. Section 40- 46 of RPwD Act 2016, lays down clear mandates, timelines and punitive actions to foresee the vision of creation of accessible environment and services for all.

 

Key Stakeholders:

  1. Delhi Government and related agencies
  1. Department of Social Welfare, Delhi
  2. Directorate of Health (Hospitals, Health Centres)
  3. Directorate of Education (Schools)
  4. Directorate of Higher Education (Higher education Instt.)
  5. Art, Culture and Language Department (Theatres, drama schools etc.)
  6. Delhi Transport Corporation (Bus fleets and Depots)
  7. Municipal Corporation of Delhi
  8. New Delhi Municipal Council
  9. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board
  10. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
  11. PWD, Delhi
  12. Home Department (Police Stations/ Judiciary)
  13. Tourism Department
  14. Delhi Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (Bus stops, Interstate terminals etc)
  15. Urban Development Department
  16. Delhi Police (police stations)

 

  1. Central Government
  1. Reserve Bank of India
  2. Ministry of Finance (Banks/ATMs)
  3. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  4. Ministry of Home Affairs (Police stations)
  5. Ministry of Culture (ASI)
  6. Ministry of Tourism
  7. Ministry of Communications (India Post)
  8. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  9. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
  10. Ministry of Human Resource Development
  11. Delhi Cantonment
  12. Delhi Development Authority

 

  1. Others
  1. Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, New Delhi
  2. State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Delhi

Source: Press Information Bureau of India

www.pib.nic.in

ISO Establishes New Task Force on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

ISO Logo

ISO Logo

INTERNATIONAL: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) announced that they have established a new Task Force on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Several of GAATES Founding Board Members are active participants in ISO Task Forces and have shared that the new “Task Force will:

  1. Review the mapping of ISO standards to the SDGs,
  2. Determine the priority SDGs for ISO,
  3. Oversee the design of a website that can be used by members and businesses to find the right standards in support of any particular SDG,
  4. Develop guidance for committees on how to proactively look for the right partnerships (e.g. with UN and other international organizations), and
  5. Provide recommendations for which organizations ISO should engage with (e.g. consortia, other IOs) in the promotion of standards in support of SDGs.”

At the time of writing ISO 21542 : 2011 – Building construction (Accessibility and usability of the built environment) has been adopted as the National Standard in many countries, including: Kenya, Spain, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Italy, Ecuador and Denmark to name a few.

According to their website, the ISO 21542 “specifies a range of requirements and recommendations for many of the elements of construction, assemblies, components and fittings which comprise the built environment. These requirements relate to the constructional aspects of access to buildings, to circulation within buildings, to egress from buildings in the normal course of events and evacuation in the event of an emergency. It also deals with aspects of accessibility management in buildings.”

 

Sources:

ISO 21542:2011

https://www.iso.org/standard/50498.html

Zero Project Conference

Group Photo of some Participants of the Zero Project.

Zero Project Group Photo

VIENNA, AUSTRIA: From February 21st to the 23rd  of February, GAATES was actively engaged in the Zero Project Conference. The Zero Project is an initiative of the ESSL Foundation, with the mission of supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for a world without barriers. Today, the Zero Project is composed of a network of 4,000 experts that represent over 150 countries.

Since 2010, the Zero Project Conference has brought together an expert Network, which includes representatives of International organizations, multinational companies, leading NGOs, and entrepreneurs — to highlight global innovative policies and practices that actively promote the principles enshrined in the CRPD. During each Conference, an Awards ceremony recognizes different international policies or practices that have improved the lives of persons with disabilities and lead to greater accessibility to the built and digital environment.

Photo of Dr Salem A. Alshafiei presenting on stage

Dr Salem A. Alshafiei

One of the policies recognized during this year’s Awards ceremony, was the Dubai Universal Accessibility Strategy and Action Plan (DUASAP)– a project in which GAATES was directly involved in the development of the policy. Stemming from the strategic goal of being full accessible by 2020, the Government of the Emirate of Dubai chose to collaborate with GAATES to develop the DUASAP that addressed the areas of legislation, governance and enforcement, retrofitting, capacity building and awareness-raising in the Emirate.

Dr Salem A. Alshafiei, of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, accepted the award on behalf of the Emirate of Dubai and GAATES. We would like to thank him and the Government of Dubai for their commitment to accessibility, universal design and inclusion.

GAATES additionally organized a Forum on Urban Development, presented the International Certified Accessibility Consultant – Built Environment (ICAC-BE) Program and held our Annual General Meeting (AGM).

We would also like to welcome our newest Board member, Alireza Darvishy, who accepted his nomination formally during the AGM. We are looking forward to collaborating with Alireza and our dynamic members of the Board and Country Representative Program to further our mission and reach in 2018.

Photo of Tracey Shipman, Program Director of GAATES, presenting the International Certfied Accessibility Consultant-Built Environment (ICAC-BE) Program in a panel discussion during the Zero Project

Tracey Shipman presenting GAATES ICAC-BE Program at the Zero Project Conference

The days in Vienna went by fast but it was wonderful to connect with the GAATES family, share laughs, good food and plan our strategic objectives for our dynamic and impactful engagements this year!

Bis nächstes Jahr Zero Project

 

100 Accessible Websites of Various State Governments/UTs Under Accessible India Campaign Launched – Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot Inaugurates ‘National Conference on Improving Accessibility’

NEW DELHI, INDIA: In a path breaking initiative to empower Persons with Disabilities, 100 Accessible websites of various State Governments/UTs under Accessible India Campaign were launched by the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot on the occasion of ‘National Conference on Improving Accessibility’ here today (January 19th, 2018). Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Vijay Sampla and Shri Krishna Pal Gurjar were present. Secretary, DEPwD Shri Shakuntala D. Gamlin and the officials from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development participated in the conference and submitted their valuable inputs on implementation of accessibility in various walks of life.

The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot addressing at the inauguration of the 'National Conference on Improving Accessibility', organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), in New Delhi on January 19, 2018. The Ministers of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Vijay Sampla and Shri Krishan Pal are also pictured.

The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot addressing at the inauguration of the ‘National Conference on Improving Accessibility’, organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), in New Delhi on January 19, 2018.
The Ministers of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Vijay Sampla and Shri Krishan Pal are also pictured.

Accessible Websites are those websites into which Persons with Disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) initiated a “Website Accessibility Project” for State Government/Union Territories under Accessible India Campaign through ERNET India, an autonomous scientific society under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), to make total 917 websites accessible and providing funds for the same. Now 100 accessible websites are made accessible under the project.

The aim of the conference was to sensitize and bring awareness among different stakeholders including the officials of state government on accessibility in the context of recently enacted Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2016. The Accessible India Campaign has three important components viz Built Environment; Transport and Information and Communication Eco-system accessibility.

In his address, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment said that the Divyangjans are an integral part of our society and we have to play an active role for their welfare. He said that Accessible India Campaign is a nationwide flagship campaign of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The aim of the campaign is to make a barrier free environment for persons with disabilities all over the country for safe, dignified life of Persons with Disabilities. He said that around 5800 ADIP camps had been organised nationwide by his ministry for distribution of assistive device to Divyangjans. He opined that such Accessible websites will play an important role in proper dissemination of Governments policies and schemes for the welfare of Divyangjans.

Shri Vijay Sampla in his address said that today we have moved ahead are more step towards Accessible India campaign by launching 100 Accessible websites of various State Governments/UTs under Accessible India Campaign. He said that DEPwD is doing a commendable job in this regard.

In his address Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar said that during past three and a half years many revolutionary steps have been taken by DEPwD, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for the welfare of Divyangjans. He said that we need to empower the Divyangjans so that they can lead a normal life.

Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Shakuntala D Gamlin urged the Central and State Government Departments to adopt accessibility standards while providing any service be it physical, infrastructural and IT etc.

Mrs. Dolly Chakrabarty Joint Secretary, DEPwD emphasized on ensuring rural access as there is substantial difference in planning accessibility in rural areas and it is a less talked about topic in the growing era of urbanization.

ERNET India (MEITY) is executing the project which is funded by DEPwD under Accessibility India Campaign so far 917 websites across 27 States & UT have been chosen from the list of websites which have been provided by the State Social Welfare Departments through DEPwD.


Accessible Website Design Principles:Provide appropriate alternative text, Caption video; Provide transcripts for audio; All documents (e.g., PDFs) to be accessible; Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning; and Make sure content is structured, clearly written and easy to read.

Current Status of Accessible Websites: –Total no. of websites: 917; Under Development: 244; Developed and Internally Audited: 208; and   Live: 100

Web content accessibility guidelines –WCAG 2.0 :- Websites are made accessible by complying it as per Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standard organisation for the World Wide Web.

The guideline establish three levels of accessibility on basis of which websites are designed, namely:

  • Level A: This Indicates the basic level of accessibility that any web page must have
  • Level AA: This indicates an intermediate level of accessibility that any web page should have
  • Level AAA: This indicates the highest level of accessibility that any web page can achieve

The founding principles of the guidelines state information and user interface components must be presentable to user in ways they can perceive, user interface components and navigation must be operable and information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. Moreover, content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

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Sanjay Kumar/jk/SJ&E/19-01-2018

www.pib.nic.in

Reposted with permission.