Publications

A lady in a wheelchair in a building in Africa

Type

Journal Paper

Themes

Assistive & Accessible Technology
Culture and Participation

Research Group

Disability Interactions
“When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya

Giulia Barbareschi, Mark T. Carew, Elizabeth Aderonke Johnson, Norah Kopi, Catherine Holloway

Stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs towards disability represent one of the most pervasive and complex barriers that limits access to health care, education, employment, civic rights and opportunities for socialization for people with disabilities [1,2,3]. The damaging impact of disability stigma is widely acknowledged and, according to article 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, developing strategies, campaigns, policies and other initiatives to combat disability stigma and ensure that all people with disabilities are treated with dignity and respect is also a duty of the 182 countries who ratified the treaty [4]. Although the majority of literature focused on understanding disability stigma has been carried out in high-income settings [5,6,7], in the last decade, an increasing number of scholars have conducted studies looking at the negative stereotypes, prejudices and inaccurate beliefs that shape disability stigma in the Global South [3,8,9,10]. Most of these studies have described how these stigmatizing beliefs are often driven by a combination of personal and societal factors, ranging from misconceptions concerning the causes of different impairments (e.g., disability to be seen as a form of curse or punishment); assumptions about the lack of capabilities of people with disabilities; or discriminatory practices that actively endorse separation between people with and without disabilities [3,9,11,12]. Yet, there is a dearth of comparative studies that examine the perspectives of both people with and without disabilities of disability stigma and discrimination, including how the use of assistive technology may shape stigmatizing interactions.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; 2021

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Abstract

“When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya

Disability stigma in many low- and middle-income countries represents one of the most pervasive barriers preventing people with disabilities from accessing equal rights and opportunities, including the uptake of available assistive technology (AT). Previous studies have rarely examined how disability stigma may be shaped through factors endemic to social interactions, including how the use of assistive technology itself may precipitate or alleviate disability stigma. Through two strands of work, we address this gap. Via a series of focus groups with Kenyans without disabilities (Study 1) and secondary data analysis of consultations with Kenyans with disabilities and their allies (Study 2), we identify shared and divergent understandings of what shapes disability stigma and discrimination. Specifically, Kenyans with and without disabilities were cognizant of how religious/spiritual interpretations of disability, conceptions of impairments as “different” from the norm, and social stereotypes about (dis)ability shaped the experience of stigma and discrimination. Moreover, both groups highlighted assistive technology as an influential factor that served to identify or “mark” someone as having a disability. However, whereas participants without disabilities saw assistive technology purely as an enabler to overcome stigma, participants with disabilities also noted that, in some cases, use of assistive technologies would attract stigma from others.

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“When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya

Barbareschi G, Carew MT, Johnson EA, Kopi N, Holloway C. “When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(8):4272. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph...

“When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me”—Factors Shaping the Experience of Disability Stigma and Discrimination in Kenya

Photograph of an informal settlement

Type

Journal Paper

Themes

Inclusive Design
Culture and Participation

Research Group

Disability Interactions
Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

Giulia Barbareschi, Ben Oldfrey, Long Xin, Grace N. Magomere, Wyclife A. Wetende, Carol Wanjira, Joyce Olenja, Victoria Austin, and Catherine Holloway

The World Health Organisation estimate that there are approximately a billion people with disabilities who require access to appropriate assistive technology and this number is set to double by 2050 [82]. Assistive technologies (ATs) play a crucial role in the lives of people with disabilities and are necessary to be able to access essential services and participate in family and community life according to one’s aspirations [40, 62, 68, 81]. Although this is not often specifcally mentioned, the large majority of people with disabilities will routinely use more than one assistive device in their everyday lives [25, 26]. For example a person with a visual impairment is likely to use a white cane to navigate from their house to the office where they work and have a screen-reader, or an equivalent accessibility software, on their computer to be able to do their work once in the office [17].

ASSETS '20: Proceedings of the 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility; 2020

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Abstract

Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

Living in informality is challenging. It is even harder when you have a mobility impairment. Traditional assistive products such as wheelchairs are essential to enable people to travel. Wheelchairs are considered a Human Right. However, they are difficult to access. On the other hand, mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous and are increasingly seen as an assistive technology. Should therefore a mobile phone be considered a Human Right? To help understand the role of the mobile phone in contrast of a more traditional assistive technology – the wheelchair, we conducted contextual interviews with eight mobility impaired people who live in Kibera, a large informal settlement in Nairobi. Our findings show mobile phones act as an accessibility bridge when physical accessibility becomes too challenging. We explore our findings from two perspective – human infrastructure and interdependence, contributing an understanding of the role supported interactions play in enabling both the wheelchair and the mobile phone to be used. This further demonstrates the critical nature of designing for context and understanding the social fabric that characterizes informal settlements. It is this social fabric which enables the technology to be useable.

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Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

Giulia Barbareschi, Ben Oldfrey, Long Xin, Grace Nyachomba Magomere, Wycliffe Ambeyi Wetende, Carol Wanjira, Joyce Olenja, Victoria Austin, and Catherine Holloway. 2020. Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal settlement. In Proceedings of the 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 50, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1145/337362...

Bridging the Divide: Exploring the use of digital and physical technology to aid mobility impaired people living in an informal setlement

A man is photographed trying out a new Digital Innovation, he is wearing a VR headset

Type

Editorial

Themes

Assistive & Accessible Technology
Culture and Participation

Research Group

Social Justice
Critical Junctures in Assistive Technology and Disability Inclusion

It is clear from the events of the last 18 months that while technology has a huge potential for transforming the way we live and work, the entire ecosystem—from manufacturing to the supply chain—is vulnerable to the vagaries of that ecosystem, as well as having the potential to exacerbate new and existing inequalities [1]. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the lives of people with disabilities, who make up around 15% of the world’s population and already face barriers to accessing education, employment, healthcare and other services [2]. Some of these barriers are a result of unequal access and opportunities. However, there is a growing movement to better understand how assistive technology systems and services can be designed to enable more robust and equitable access for all. As part of this growing movement, the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this autumn saw the launch of a new global campaign to transform the lives of the world’s 1.2 bn persons with disabilities: the ‘WeThe15’ campaign reached more than 4.5 billion people through its marketing and stands ready to be the biggest of its kind in history. Next year, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), AT scale and GDI Hub will publish the first World Report on Access to Assistive Technology, which will include research from the £20 million, UK Aid funded, GDI Hub-led, programme, AT2030. Ahead of that, in this Special Issue, we focus on how some events and situations—as diverse as the coronavirus pandemic and the Paralympics—can act as ‘critical junctures’ that can enable a rethink of the status quo to facilitate and promote change.

Sustainability; 2021

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Critical Junctures in Assistive Technology and Disability Inclusion

Kett, M.; Holloway, C.; Austin, V. Critical Junctures in Assistive Technology and Disability Inclusion. Sustainability 2021, 13, 12744. https://doi.org/10.3390/su1322...

Critical Junctures in Assistive Technology and Disability Inclusion

Mobile phone kiosk features mobile devices, plugs and other accesories.

Type

Conference Paper

Themes

Assistive & Accessible Technology
Culture and Participation
Inclusion and Independence: The impact of Mobile Technology on the Lives of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh

Nusrat Jahan, Giulia Barbareschi, Clara Aranda Jan, Charles Musungu Mutuku, Naemur Rahman, Victoria Austin, Catherine Holloway

Worldwide it is estimated that there are over a billion people who live with some form of disability [1]. Approximately 80% of people with disabilities live in low-and-middle income countries (LMICs). The combination of an inaccessible environment compounded by socio-economic factors such as poverty and stigma, makes it more likely for people with disabilities to be marginalised and excluded from society [1]. Assistive Technologies (ATs) are known to bridge the accessibility gaps and allow for greater social inclusion. However, there is a lack of adequate access to ATs in LMICs, combined with often poorly designed services, which only magnifies these challenges, thus limiting the opportunities for persons with disabilities to live an independent life [2]. Despite the importance of AT, access to AT globally is inadequate with only 10 percent of those in need having access to the ATs that they need [2].

2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference

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Abstract

Inclusion and Independence: The impact of Mobile Technology on the Lives of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh

Globally, mobile technology plays a significant role connecting and supporting people with disabilities. However, there has been limited research focused on understanding the impact of mobile technology in the lives of persons with disabilities in low or middle- income countries. This paper presents the findings of a participatory photovoice study looking at the role that mobile phones play in the daily lives of 16 persons with disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh. Participants used a combination of pictures and voice recordings to capture their own stories and illustrate the impact that mobile phone use has on their lives. Through thematic analysis, we categorized the benefits of mobile phones captured by participants as 1) Improved social connection; 2) Increased independence and 3) Access to opportunities. While mobile phones are ubiquitously used for communication, for persons with disabilities they become essential assistive technologies that bridge barriers to opportunities which are not accessible otherwise. Our paper adds evidence to the need for mobile phones for persons with disabilities to enable communication and connectivity in support of development.

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Inclusion and Independence: The impact of Mobile Technology on the Lives of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh

N. Jahan et al., "Inclusion and Independence: The impact of Mobile Technology on the Lives of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh," 2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), Seattle, WA, USA, 2020, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1109/GHTC46280.2020.9342934.

Inclusion and Independence: The impact of Mobile Technology on the Lives of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh

A group of people are photographed in sports wear in an athletic stadium

Type

Journal Paper

Themes

Culture and Participation

Research Group

Social Justice
Paralympic Broadcasting in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sport, Media and Communication for Social Change

Jessica Noske-Turner, Emma Pullen, Mufunanji Magalasi, Damian Haslett, Jo Tacchi

Communication & Sport

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Abstract

Paralympic Broadcasting in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sport, Media and Communication for Social Change

The purpose of this commentary is to discuss how Paralympic coverage in sub-Saharan Africa can be effectively mobilised to stimulate discursive and structural change around disability. Paralympic coverage has demonstrated its pedagogical power to engage public(s) and challenge stigma toward disability. Yet, the Global picture of Paralympic broadcasting is deeply uneven, with audiences in parts of the Global South afforded limited opportunities to watch the Games. Considering this, the International Paralympic Committee has begun to broadcast Paralympic coverage across sub-Saharan Africa with an explicit aim to challenge stigma toward disability. In this article, we draw on examples from research to argue that ideas from the field of Communication for Social Change (CfSC) can add value towards this aim. We begin by providing a brief overview of CfSC before critically examining one of the field’s key concepts – Communicative (E)ecologies. Following this, we critically reflect on the potential of Paralympic broadcasting as a vehicle for social change and disability rights agendas in sub-Saharan Africa. We argue that thinking with CfSC concepts show the importance of a ‘decentred’ media approach that engages with disability community advocacy groups, localised communication activities and practices, and culturally specific disability narratives.

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Paralympic Broadcasting in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sport, Media and Communication for Social Change

Noske-Turner, J., Pullen, E., Magalasi, M., Haslett, D., & Tacchi, J. (2022). Paralympic Broadcasting in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sport, Media and Communication for Social Change. Communication & Sport, 10(5), 1001–1015. https://doi.org/10.1177/216747...

Paralympic Broadcasting in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sport, Media and Communication for Social Change

Type

Working Paper

Themes

Culture and Participation

Research Group

Disability Interactions
Barriers to Access and Retain Formal Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya

Nusrat Jahan and Catherine Holloway

This working paper was developed to support the development of challenge statements for a GDI Hub innovation challenge fund call related to improving access to and retention of employment for persons with disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh and is written by GDI Hub's Nusrat Jahan and Professor Catherine Holloway.

The issue of disability and employment has taken centre stage on the global arena in part because it is recognised across several areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in which confrontation of extreme poverty in its many manifestations is the number one goal [2]. The World Health Organization (2011) reports about 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability [1]. In developing countries, 80 to 90 percent of people with disabilities of working age are unemployed.

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Abstract

Barriers to Access and Retain Formal Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya

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. There has been limited research in low-income and middle-income countries focused on the barriers to access and retain formal employment for persons with disabilities. The aim of this paper, based on desk research, is to analyse the barriers to access and retain formal employment of persons with disabilities which are framed in three categories according to where the barriers primarily manifest: 1. In the workplace among employers and co-workers without disabilities, 2. Among persons with disabilities seeking or engaged in formal employment and 3. In the wider social, physical and policy environment. Although the study mainly focuses on Kenya and Bangladesh other countries’ literature on access to and retention of employment of persons with disabilities were reviewed where relevant. In the current context where the global pandemic is breaking barriers to remote working one part of the solution will be to empower persons with disabilities with appropriate access to Information and Communication Technology, assistive devices and services, digital skills, creating more accessible and inclusive digital platforms for persons with disabilities which also hold the potential to improve working conditions and productivity for the whole workforce as well as enhancing resilience to potential future shocks.

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Barriers to Access and Retain Formal Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya

Jahan & Holloway, 2020, Barriers to Access and Retain Formal Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya, GDI Hub Working Paper Series Issue 01

Barriers to Access and Retain Formal Employment for Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh and Kenya