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3 September 2019

The Disability Inclusion Challenge

Recognizing the fact that all great innovations begin with an idea, the Disability Inclusion Challenge that ran from April to May 2019 in Uganda aimed at triggering individuals both with and without disabilities, NGOs, social enterprises, disability networks, universities and student groups to bring forward realistic solutions that stood a chance at promoting inclusion and improving the lives of persons with disabilities in Uganda.

All interested parties were invited to focus on types of solutions that:

  1. Provide access to services for persons with disabilities.
  2. Encourage the inclusion of a specific group, specifically psycho-social, intellectual or multiple disabilities.
  3. Aim at building economic self-reliance.

Over 67 proposals were received and weighed based on their potential for impact, originality and ability to be scaled. Here are the three top ideas that emerged (in no particular order);

  1. A Mobile Coffee Shop completely run by persons with hearing impairments. Concept by Nasser SsenyondoChanging how you order your morning coffee.Picture this – a simple daily morning routine such as ordering coffee from a roadside café turned into an awareness opportunity on deafness and disability as a whole. The expected ripple-effect should go on to offer several employment opportunities to budding entrepreneurs with hearing impairments and facilitate their inclusion as an integral part of the community.
  2. Professional Personal Assistants for persons with disabilities. Concept by Musa Mwambu.There’s more to it than holding a hand.Personal Assistants are part and parcel of the daily and professional life of many persons with disabilities. In Uganda, personal assistants tend to be friends or family of the individual with limited knowledge of the extent of their role or their rights and entitlements. This concept aims at creating a professional industry out of the service coupled with a university course and certification done by one of the most reputable universities in the country.
  3. “E-Wheely”. Concept by Boda WerkFor the daily city commuter.Kampala is an average African city characterized by congestion and poorly planned walk-ways that make the daily commute for wheelchair users a struggle. The E-wheely concept involves the production of affordable solar-charged wheelchairs with added adaptations for comfort and usability. Local manufacturing ensures lower costs (as compared to imported electric wheelchairs) without compromising quality and the solar-charged battery reduces the inconvenience caused by power outages that are common in the country.

In July, a co-creation process was held to shape all three ideas into well-formed, practical and implementable ideas. Following co-creation, the concepts – now developed into business ideas will be presented to a selection committee for approval by the end of August 2019.

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