UNHCR is calling proposals for Digital Inclusion of People with Disabilities to understand and address barriers in the access and use of mobile technologies for persons with disabilities, and maximize opportunities for social and economic inclusion.
The evolving humanitarian landscape lately marked by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relevance of connectivity in accessing relevant information and remote assistance mechanisms by UNHCR´s persons of concern. For the most marginalized groups like refugees with disabilities, their digital inclusion represents more than ever a gateway to efficient access to vital protection services, participation in humanitarian programming, increasing livelihood opportunities and facilitates integration.
The Innovation Service, through its Digital Inclusion Programme, is committed to ensure a meaningful, safe and inclusive online engagement of particular vulnerable groups at heightened risk of exclusion. As such, they are launching a challenge within the Call for Proposals that seeks to test initiatives and solutions to address some of the specific challenges faced by people with disabilities in displacement contexts.
Scope and Objectives
Interventions will take into consideration the specific barriers faced by people with disability such as communication challenges or lack of digital literacy, as found in the GSMA study. As such proposed interventions might address some of the following priorities (but not limited to):
- Tackling access and affordability roadblocks: Persons with disabilities usually have lower income than their nondisabled peers; thus, in many cases, the cost of a device and connectivity services can be burdensome. There may be other access issues relating to devices covering both hardware and software. Exploring initiatives with local service providers and phone manufacturers can provide opportunities to facilitate access to connectivity.
- Accessible information and engagement mechanisms: To guarantee effective information-sharing among people of concern with disabilities, content has to be developed, presented and shared through modalities and channels preferred by this vulnerable group. Making vital protection content and participation methods accessible across all disability constituencies ensures an accountable humanitarian response.
- Building digital skills: Many persons with disabilities, their families and disability service providers, especially in low and middle income countries, are not aware of the range of accessible online tools available and how these can be used. Ensuring that persons with disabilities can effectively make use of them is paramount to ensure a meaningful online engagement.
- Enhancing livelihoods opportunities: The global digitalization trend of the labour market can positively impact the access of refugees with disabilities to job opportunities. Connectivity can underpin the promotion of income generation activities online to achieve independent living, social and economic inclusion for persons with disabilities.
This will depend on the specific challenge but generally they are unable to provide more than USD 50,000 to ensure that a number of different country operations can benefit from the available support.
Only UNHCR country operations are able to apply to the challenge and one submission is accepted per operation. This Expression of Interest should command the support of senior management within the operation.
For the Call for Proposals, awarding of funds will be based on the following criteria equally weighted:
- Challenge: Framing of the Challenge and evidence / data to support it with a key focus on inclusive community engagement, leadership and feedback response.
- Solution: Articulation of the solution in context addressing key aspects covered in the background notes. Specific attention will be give to proposed levels of community engagement / meaningful participation considering diversity and inclusion.
- Impact: Potential Impact of the solution in not only in terms of the number of community members supported, but also how the intervention would affect them in their daily lives and build broader community resilience.
- Feasibility: Based on approach, administration, tentative budget a determination on how viable the project will be. Specific consideration will be given to sustainability strategies including community self-management.
For more information, visit https://www.unhcr.org/innovation/digital-inclusion-call/