Friday, August 18th, 2023: African governments have been urged to promote the digital inclusion of youth with disabilities by integrating digital courses in schools.
The call by Paradigm Initiative, a leading pan-African that advocates for digital rights and inclusion comes just six days after countries across the world commemorated the International Youth Day. The day which was commemorated on August 12th is observed annually.
Youth with disabilities are digitally excluded in Africa, a situation which violates their fundamental rights. On the continent, youth with disabilities, especially those from under-served communities, are at a disadvantage regarding most Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) despite government commitments to comply with international human rights treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Statistics from the United Nations (UN) indicate that Africa has more than 80 million persons with disabilities, half of whom are youth. Young people with disabilities continue to face barriers as they lack assistive technologies and have limitations in accessing the Internet. They face unparalleled discrimination and are the most at risk when it comes to the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. This is despite the fact that young people in Africa are seen by the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 as a crucial population group in enhancing socio-economic solutions in Africa.
To achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and ‘leave no one behind,’ youth with disabilities will need to have an accessible Internet which can significantly increase their inclusion by enabling online education, communication, entertainment, and civic participation.
Additionally, PIN calls on African governments to do the following:
- Improve policy frameworks to assist youth with disabilities in accessing digital technologies
- Ensure digital literacy programs in schools for youths with disabilities.
- Provide the necessary resources to support the implementation of disability-inclusive policies.
Paradigm Initiative works to connect under-served young Africans with digital opportunities and ensures protection of their rights.
Across our regional offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and beyond, we work to connect under-served African youth with improved livelihoods through our digital inclusion and digital rights programs.
The organisation’s programs include Life Skills. ICT. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship (LIFE) Training Program, a digital readiness workshop for girls, and a Life at Schools Club Program.
PIN has also built online platforms that educate and serve as safe spaces for reporting digital rights violations. These mediums are in the form of reports, short films, and educational online resources, including Ayeta, Londa, and Ripoti.