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Digital Accessibility Workshop, Colombo

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Date: 12 May 2017

Document Type: Reports

Tags: accessibility

According to the United Nations, it is estimated that one in six people (in Asia and the Pacific) live with disability – that is some 650 million people. Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) often face challenges that restrict them from participating in society on an equal basis including access to, and use of, information and communication technologies (ICTs). To name a few, these barriers include limited (or none) accessibility features for online content (including the websites), limited adaptability in functionality of products and services, and weak policy frameworks to support the provision of an accessible digital environment. Being online has become a core part of life today and with more and more services - ranging from government services to banking to retail - being made available digitally, not being able to use such services becomes a major challenge for PWDs. 

Starting December 2015, the Internet Society Asia-Pacific (ISOC APAC) Bureau in collaboration with local stakeholders including government, industry and civil society, facilitated a series of endeavours to highlight digital accessibility issues in Pakistan. These resulted in action towards addressing the digital needs of PWDs, including policy measures.

Building on the success and learnings from our work in Pakistan, ISOC APAC has planned two workshops on digital accessibility in 2017 in other parts of the Asia-Pacific to help catalyze action in these countries. The first of these workshops was held on 31st March, 2017 in Colombo, hosted by the ISOC Sri Lanka chapter. The document highlights some of the key discussions and actions identified during this workshop.