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Disability Inclusive Development Research needs Geeks

 Oct 14, 2019 7:00 PM

By Marc Stephan Nkouly, Bamenda, Cameroon

PIRL Blog Post #2

Writing a blog post can be scary, especially writing about research when I am not yet seeing myself as a full researcher. But I love learning, and I have an inquisitive mind, and I appreciate how research can impact our communities. So here goes…

One of my roles with the PIRL Project is to enable learning by helping people to have access to communication – whether that is online, by phone, or in person.

I have been involved in projects with the disability and rehabilitation community for many years, and I am still learning a lot. One of the things I love most about this work is that I can share my passion for technology, and how different kinds of technologies can really open new opportunities for people.

Living in Bamenda , Cameroon , I see the limitations we have but I also see so many opportunities. I love open-source approaches. I want to see access in our African communities grow through the use of both complex technologies, like learning platforms, and what are now often seen as more simple technologies, like text messaging.

The World Health Organization’s work on GATE is really important https://www.who.int/disabilities/technology/gate/en/ and is an initiative that all researchers, no matter what field, can benefit from knowing about.  GATE stands for Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology. Whether you are living in the Global North or the Global South, you have a contribution to make in this area. We need to have more cooperation and collaboration on assistive technologies around the world so that everyone can get the support they need.

Assistive technology is important but it is just a tool. It is often a part that is forgotten or not prioritized in our contexts. Without good assistive technologies, people with disabilities and people living with other circumstances that put them in marginalized situations -like poverty or being part of an indigenous community - cannot be equal beneficiaries of the development occurring in their communities. More importantly, they can not fully contribute to the development process, even though they have much to offer.

I am proudly a geek. I think that smartphones and computer access need to be seen as just as important as other assistive devices like eyeglasses, wheelchairs, prostheses, and hearing aids. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has recognized access to assistive technology as a human right and has called for international cooperation to improve its access (read Article 32) https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html .

The PIRL Project is just one step of many that are needed to make the world more inclusive and accessible.

I am very happy to be able to be part of PIRL, and I look forward to discussing new innovations and strategies with you. Keep in touch!

  

Welcome to PIRL

 Sep 16, 2019 8:45 PM

Blog Post #1 Lynn Cockburn 

Welcome to the PIRL project and the PIRL Team and to the growing PIRL Network.  

We are so excited about this project! I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to work with this amazing group of people from around the world.  

We hope that you will explore our website, share suggestions, projects, and resources to learn more about what we are doing together and to grow our community of practice.  

We are thinking a lot these days about what research in disability inclusive development is all about, and why it is important. Here are some ideas about what it is: 

Participatory – The people who are impacted most by the research are included at all stages of the research process – from conceptualizing and designing a project to collecting and analyzing data and information, to sharing and using the results. It means looking for ways to make participation possible.  

Inclusive – Strives to find ways to include people who learn and work in a variety of ways. DID research provides opportunities for people in different stages of their career and with diverse reasons for engaging in research to be part of research 

Relevant and Action oriented – Focused on issues and topics that matter in everyday life in our communities. This is research that aims to improve situations, especially for those who have been marginalized. 

Equity seeking – These research processes and teams think about how to collaborate across huge differences in access to resources and situations where research is highly valued or less valued, in addition to the topic being researched. 

“Slow research” – Just as there is a ‘Slow movement’, we are increasingly thinking about this kind of approach to research as being ‘slow research’ – not that it goes as slowly as possible but that research is better when we appreciate that our work is better when we do it at the right pace. It means not just doing things as quickly as possible. It means asking: What is a reasonable timeline for this project? DID research is not research that can be quickly done. Inclusive research takes time: to build relationships, to get enough funding, and to work out the best possible strategies. We are not saying we always get it right, but we are trying. 

How can the PIRL Project and Network help you? 

I really hope that you will learn from and contribute to this project. What kinds of learning opportunities and resources are you and your team looking for?  

Where ever you are in the world (our goal is to get people on all continents involved in the PIRL Network), or whatever stage of learning about DID research you are at (just starting or well experienced or somewhere in between), we would love to hear from you.  

We welcome your ideas and suggestions.  

Write to pirl@utoronto.ca or to me, or contact any of the PIRL team members.  

  

 

 
 
 
 
 

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