Disability Initiative

APSIG Initiative on Capacity Building on Internet Governance
for Persons with Disabilities

Through the global pandemic and beyond, the Internet has emerged as a lifeline for many communities. For Persons with Disabilities, the transition to an Internet-centric style of working and living has not been smooth or easy. Differently-abled or special-needs communities are often excluded from the discourse and the ability of Persons with Disabilities to influence policy formulation processes is limited.

Within the broad canvas of Internet Governance, APSIG has been promoting digital rights, digital literacy, best practices for safe and secure use of technology, and advocacy for influencing policy formulation for general audiences so far. Given the importance of the Internet for Persons with Disabilities, APSIG is planning a capacity building initiative covering these areas but specially directed at Persons with Disabilities. APSIG will partner with the ISOC Standing Group on Disability for this initiative and may use the services of other partners as well. The pilot phase is supported by Article 19 and APNIC Foundation.

Accessibility for persons with a disability needs to be mainstreamed for a truly inclusive internet. APSIG aims to streamline the process of inclusion by actively encouraging the disability community to more actively contribute to Internet governance. This will be done by establishing a pilot train-the-trainer program as the first phase of the initiative, with follow-up support and mentoring in the trainers’ own countries as the second phase. Through this capacity-building process, it is envisaged that the disability community will gradually strengthen its voice in Internet governance. Digital rights, advocacy skills, and digital literacy will be some of the main areas covered in the context of the Internet ecosystem in this program.

The two Phases of this initiative are:

  1. Pilot Phase (Brainstorming session scheduled during 24-26 June 2022 at Dhaka, Bangladesh), in order to brainstorm on an outreach strategy for building the capacity of Persons with Disabilities on Internet Governance
  2. Second Phase (Capacity building roll-outs in 6 countries, tentatively during Oct 2022 – Mar 2023), wherein the leadership group from the Dhaka Workshop will work with their local communities to further engage with Internet Governance and related topics.

List of Participants at the Dhaka Workshop

1. Mr Eshaq Shahin Bhuyan (Bangladesh)
2. Mr Faisal Mohammad Ibrahim (Bangladesh)
3. Ms Gunela Astbrink (Australia) (Resource Person)
4. Ms Hendawitharane Kishara Manique Gunaratne (Sri Lanka)
5. Mr Rifat Pasha (Bangladesh)
6. Mr Madhav Prasad Chamlagain (Nepal)
7. Dr Muhammad Shabbir (Pakistan)
8. Mr Murali Srinivasa (India)
9. Ms Shirmin Akther Dolon (Bangladesh)
10. Ms Sarita Lamichhane (Nepal)
11. Mr Shah Zahidur Rahman (Bangladesh) (APSIG Representative)
12. Ms Shyama Sagarika Wickramasekera (Sri Lanka)
13. Mr Vashkar Bhattacharjee (Bangladesh)
14. Ms Vidhya Yella Reddy (India)