A Digital Rights Inclusion Forum (DRIFGhana22) aimed at advocating for the proper inclusion of the marginalised in the digitalisation drive of Ghana has been held in Accra to discuss key issues in the digital rights space.
The two-day forum which was climaxed on Tuesday, focused on developing action plan for enhancing digital rights, and inclusion in Ghana and also increasing networks and collaborations on digital rights and inclusion.
DRIF is a Paradigm Initiative (PIN) platform where experts, members of the civil society, academia, technical community, government and the private sector were engaged in a conversation to shape policy directions in Africa, and forge partnerships for action on digital rights.
The forum was organised by PIN in conjunction with Inclusive Tech Group and the Ghana Chapter of Internet Society.
Speaking at the Ghana’s session of the 9th edition of DRIF which is being replicated in 16 other African countries, Chief Operations Officer of PIN, Nnenna Paul-Ugochukwu, said the forum provided a platform for strategic gathering around digital rights, freedom of and access to information, inclusion and surveillance.
Other focus areas of the conversation she stated, also included internet shutdowns, gender rights and disability rights all for stakeholders to strategise and influence policy actions and changes in the digital space for equity.
At a panel discussion, Programmes Manager of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU), Dr Elizabeth Ladjer Bibi Zotorvie, indicated that, though there were policies on digital rights in Ghana, it had not been designed to address segregated groups, such as the PWDs with varied disability needs.
A lecturer at the Department of Communication Design and E-Learning at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Ralitsa Diana Debrah, told the Ghanaian Times that technology could be used to enable the hidden capabilities in PWDs to function effectively, if their special needs were identified and integrated in the development and design of digital tools.
She stated for instance that, beyond the digital space, there were technological innovations in interactive surfaces, such as sensors in wearable technologies and in walking sticks to aid the mobility and navigation of some PWDs.
Executive Director of GBU, Dr Peter Obeng-Asamoa, observed that little had been done to include PWDs in the digitalisation agenda, citing the under resourcing of institutions responsible for the IT needs of PWDs.
He added that the GBU had to add four computers to the existing two of the ICT lab of Okuapeman Senior High School, which he said were woefully inadequate to cater for over 60 students in the school.
BY KEN AFEDZI