Minister Hughes holds Guyana up high at ‘ICTs 4 ALL’ Accessibility conference

Minister Cathy Hughes is ably representing Guyana this week at the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) sixth “Accessible Americas: ICTs for ALL” conference in Quito, Ecuador, S.A.  This annual conference that concludes on Friday November 22, is an annual gathering of government leaders in Telecommunications and product developers to report on the strides each participating nation has made to include Persons with Disabilities into the natural course of life and living.  It is also intended to encourage other nations that have not begun to develop inclusionary programmes.

Minister Hughes, in her Guyana report, spoke of the Web Accessibility Train-the-Trainers programmes her Ministry of Public Telecommunications has held with the ITU mainly to lead local IT Developers towards creating easily accessible assistive software for use by people with disabilities.  She spoke about working in close collaboration with the National Commission on Disability, especially on the new tax exempt policy for the purchase of vehicles and smart devices by PwDs which was mandated in the 2019 national budget.  The Minister also highlighted the November signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Guyana to insert Web Accessibility modules into the curricula of the University’s Computer Science Department.

Accessible Americas is held within the framework of the implementation of the Regional Initiative on Accessibility and Affordability for an Inclusive and Sustainable Americas Region that was adopted by the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017.  It focuses principally on IT solutions to eliminate barriers of access to web content for persons with disabilities, and others in vulnerable situations.

The host, Ecuadorian Minister of Telecommunications and team
The host, Ecuadorian Minister of Telecommunications and team

At the conference, a prize was awarded to Enzo Telles Poeta, the Portuguese-speaking creator of a computer programme that translates video subtitles into sign language performed in real time by an interpreter.  Another prize went to Carlos Pereira, CEO and Founder, Livox International LLC who led the team that developed a teaching/learning software to enable non-verbal people and persons with hearing impairment to access regular learning material.

Around the world, there are more than one billion people with disabilities who are at high risk of social exclusion.  When it comes to education, many cannot communicate verbally to ask or answer questions.  The solution Livox software created enables non-verbal disabled people and others with motor, cognitive, or visual disorders to communicate.