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AU-EU Summit 17-18 February 2022: A Science Agenda

The AERAP Africa-Europe Science Collaboration Platform will organise side events at the AU-EU Summit on 14-18 February 2022. The purpose of the meeting will be to promote awareness of the contribution of collaborative research and development as a critical aspect of EU-Africa relations and collaborations, in particular in addressing global challenges together.

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Wednesday, February 16 • 17:00 - 19:00
(Ref 161600) Using Assistive Technology to Promote Inclusion for People with Disability through Collaboration and Partnership between Europe, Africa, and the United States

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Using Assistive Technology to Promote Inclusion for People with Disability through Collaboration and Partnership between Europe, Africa, and the United States.

One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience forms of disabilities. Among those, one-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities. Disability prevalence is even higher for developing countries and those with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes such as less education, poorer health and employment outcomes, and higher poverty rates.

The European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 had identified social exclusion as one of the grand challenges that people with disabilities in Europe are facing. People with disabilities are the most disadvantaged in society exacerbating many inequity issues. For instance, people with disabilities may have limited access to basic education, which can largely reduce their chances to obtain meaningful and gainful employment as adults. Globally, the employment rates of people with disabilities is significantly lower than their peers without disabilities. In addition to the socio-economic implications, social exclusion impacts negatively on self-esteem, mental health and quality of life. Thus, social Inclusion is an important element of well-being for people with disabilities and a key component of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Research has highlighted that social inclusion can be promoted through access to education and employment.

Research has also demonstrated that assistive technology (AT) can be a meaningful way to improve access to education, employment and independence among people with disabilities. AT, include both high-end and low-end devices, equipment and systems, apps and other products. While AT can be useful in improving the life of people with disabilities, the World Health Organization have identified that only 10% of the population in need of AT products have access to them.

While AT provision varies across countries, the intent to support people with disabilities should be a global priority with a focus on removing barriers and providing facilitators to independent living, community participation, and transition from education to employment settings. The rapid pace of technological advancement can leave behind the most vulnerable in society especially those with disabilities. There are low rates of AT adoption by service providers, educators, employers and policymakers as well as high rates of AT abandonment. Building global capacity for AT provision and applications will provide a unique opportunity to support independence and inclusion for people with disabilities through the use of AT.

In collaboration with different stakeholders and through the voices of researchers, practitioners, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers, we will highlight the critical role of partnerships between Europe, the US and Africa in increasing inclusion and improving lives for people with disabilities. Using an international project, we will describe the challenges faced by inclusive education programs for transition-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Mali and Malawi. We will also share innovative strategies in improving the situations by capacity building as well as guidelines and program development. Finally, we will discuss the importance of promoting interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations between all stakeholders and placing the person with a disability at the centre of the program and resources development, deployment and dissemination

avatar for Geraldine Leader

Geraldine Leader

Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology & Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research, NUIG
Dr. Geraldine Leader is a Behavioural Psychologist and is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). With over 90 peer-reviewed publication, Geraldine’s research interests lie in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorder... Read More →
avatar for Connie Sung

Connie Sung

Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Dr. Connie Sung is an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Counselling, director of the master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling, and director of MSU-DOCTRID Hegarty Fellows Postdoctoral Program at Michigan State University. She is also a certified rehabilitation counsellor... Read More →
avatar for Binta Koita

Binta Koita

University of Letters and Humanities of Bamako, Mali
Dr. Binta Koita is a lecturer at the University of Letters and Humanities of Bamako, and she is currently a visiting scholar and postdoctoral researcher of the AAP (African Alliance Partnership program at Michigan State University. He holds a master's degree in communication studies... Read More →
avatar for Sinaba Fatoumata Camara

Sinaba Fatoumata Camara

Chair of the Department for Planning and Management of Projects, Malian Federation of the Organisations of Disabled People (FEMAPH)
Mrs Sinaba Fatoumata Camara holds a Master’s degree in Le Genre comme condition de développement durable from the Catholique University of Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium. She since has served in various leadership positions in institutions for people with disabilities. Since 2006... Read More →
avatar for Ahmed Ag Biga

Ahmed Ag Biga

Project Manager, Humanity and Inclusion
Mr Ahmed Ag Biga holds a B.A. in Psycho-Pedagogy from Ecole Normal Superieur of Bamako(ENSUP). Since 2013 he works at Humanity and Inclusion as the responsible of project management. This position has given Biga the opportunity to work closely with organizations of people with disabilities... Read More →
avatar for Coulibaly Fatoumata Dicko

Coulibaly Fatoumata Dicko

Ministry of Social Development in Mali
Mrs Coulibaly Fatoumata Dicko holds a Master’s degree in ‘Communication for Development” and a B. A. in Social and Community based services. She has served in various positions in rehabilitation and community-based work and has more than 30 years of experience working with people... Read More →
avatar for Barthelemy Sangala

Barthelemy Sangala

Ministry of Education of Mali
Mr Barthelemy Sangala holds a Master degree in Science for Education from the Institut Supérieur de Formation Appliquée de Bamako. He has served different positions in the labour market. He has also successfully served as a community service worker, at the Ministry of Justice and... Read More →
avatar for Ambumulire N. Itimu Phiri

Ambumulire N. Itimu Phiri

Acting Chief Executive Officer, National Council for Higher Education (NCHE)
Dr. Ambumulire N. Itimu Phiri is the Acting Chief Executive Officer for the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).  She has served the public higher education system for over 19 years. She spent 15 years as a Lecturer in inclusive education at Mzuzu University.  Before joining... Read More →

Wednesday February 16, 2022 17:00 - 19:00 CET