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Themes: Assistive Technology

Mobile-powered employment opportunities for all; up to £20k available for Bangladesh solutions

Globally persons with disabilities have lower employment rates compared to the general population due to systemic barriers particularly in the formal sector. In developing countries, 80 percent to 90 percent of people with disabilities of working age are unemployed. In Bangladesh though there is currently a 96% employment rate for the overall 165 million population, only 1% of persons with disabilities are employed.

The i2i programme, funded by UK Aid and led by Leonard Cheshire has teamed up with Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) and SBK Foundation to launch the mobile innovation challenge for employment for all, using mobile technology to bridge to employment opportunities by the development of skills, increasing awareness of job opportunities and helping disabled people to get and retain employment opportunities.

Up to £20,000 is available to support winning applicants in the development of employment solutions focused around mobile in Bangladesh.

The current context

As the global pandemic breaks barriers to remote working one part of the solution will be to empower persons with disabilities with appropriate access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), assistive devices and services and digital skills, creating more accessible and inclusive digital platforms for persons with disabilities.

The most marginalised groups are the least likely to gain access to ICTs, but that when they do it can make the biggest difference to their lives. Despite the great potential ICT, advances in technology alone are insufficient to address all forms of inclusion.

In Bangladesh, lack of assistive devices in the country is a major barrier in the inclusion of people with disabilities in the mainstream development process. Many persons with disabilities are not getting access to employment opportunities and the job market.

Employment of persons with disabilities is one of the most powerful indications of social inclusion. It is the most effective and efficient way of eradicating poverty among persons with disabilities and ensuring their participation in mainstream development activities.

Challenge Statements

Digital inclusion is essential to enable fair access to work for persons with disability. It is also a growing market. We are looking for start-up proposals or initiatives which address one of these challenges:

  1. Pivot/adapt their mission and market offer to make it more inclusive to persons with disability
  2. Develop and test proofs of concepts which utilise mobile to help create or sustain employment opportunities for persons with disability in Bangladesh.

Examples may include but are not limited to access to safe transport to and from the workplace, improved ability to work remotely, improved accessibility of workplaces, digital or mobile technology approaches to support career development, access to information to support employment.

Key Details

  • Deadline: 14th March 2021
  • Application formats: 7-slide slide deck covering key proposal, see full brief for application details
  • Submit your application online: via the application form