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What we learned from the Global Disability summit

Every1Mobile was at the first Global Disability Summit in London earlier this summer, in an exciting strategic alliance with DeafKidz International and Islamic Relief Worldwide. By bringing together these three specialised organisations, we were able to demonstrate the power and potential of digital approaches in enhancing inclusion across the world. Here are some reflections in the wake of the summit from Henri Habershon, E1M’s Business Development Manager for Africa.

The Power of Three

Islamic Relief Worldwide has one of the largest global footprints of any INGO, serving millions of people across 35+ countries each year, whilst DeafKidz International works with local organisations across the world to support inclusive, rights-based programming for children and young people living with differing abilities. Together with Every1Mobile, we see the value of our partnership to be greater than the sum of our parts, and the summit offered a chance to explore this potential. We will be working together in the coming weeks to explore ways to build supportive, informed communities and services across the world: watch this space.

Inclusive Language, Inclusive Delivery

Paul Polman, CEO of international enterprise and Every1Mobile delivery partner Unilever, spoke about his company’s strategies for inclusion in the workplace. His term, ‘difability’ – denoting differing ability rather than a lack of ability – refers to the unique set of communication, movement and task processing skills that differently abled people bring into the workplace. Through data and anecdotes, many speakers told how their proactively inclusive recruitment policies had resulted in more impactful and holistic programming and inclusion.

The Untapped Digital Opportunity

UK Department for International Development Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt said in her closing speech that “people living with disabilities are some of the most creative problem solvers around”, and when looking at the innovative assistive tech solutions on show it was hard to disagree. It was interesting to note, however, that amongst the international and national, public sector, private enterprise and specialist organisations in attendance, digital technology was underrepresented. A huge range of apps and tools exist that improve the day-to-day tasks and interactions of differently abled people, such as text-to-speech readers, audio-maps and even simple accessibility features on any website however at Every1Mobile we believe in using digital technology to also

  • Overcome physical and geographical barriers to information and inclusive services
  • Build inclusive social movements and behaviour change at scale
  • Build supportive, informed communities of practice and care

What’s next

As DeafKidz International, Islamic Relief Worldwide and Every1Mobile reflects on the messages from the summit we will continue to explore opportunities to learn from each other, leverage each others’ core skills and work together to bring about inclusive social change across the world at scale. The summit marks a strong commitment from several countries, embodied in the Charter for Change, which we hope to see carried forward into policy and practice.

We at Every1Mobile have made an organisation-wide promise to hold ourselves accountable to the commitments we made by signing the Charter for Change, pushing for the most inclusive policies, language, services and technology in everything we do. We aim to be the global leader in inclusive digital solutions for social change, and our work with DeafKidz International and Islamic Relief Worldwide is the first step in that journey.

By Henri Habershon, Business Development Manager – Africa