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Closing Ceremony for “Jobs and Skills for Persons with Disabilities Using ICT” Project

Under the auspices and in the presence of His Excellency Eng. Yasser El-Kady, the closing ceremony for the Jobs and Skills for PwDs using ICT Project (J&S-4-PwDs-U-ICT) - Opportunities and Challenges is due to be held on the 9th of March 2017.

The project is a continuation of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT)'s efforts to empower young persons with disabilities in pursuit of achieving local and international sustainable development goals (SDGs). J&S-4-PwDs-U-ICT is in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Article 81 of the Egyptian Constitution that provides for the rights of people with disabilities, securing them jobs and boosting their integration in all aspects of life on equal footing with others. The project makes these goals possible via a clearly defined strategy encompassing training, education, qualification, employment and healthcare using ICT.

Out of MCIT’s due regard to the development of human resources and the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship among youth, the Egyptian ICT Trust Fund has developed programmes to promote awareness of self-employment and entrepreneurship culture and support micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in order to boost the gross domestic product (GDP) and create jobs that will contribute in turn to addressing poverty and unemployment in Egypt's governorates as well as remote, marginalised, border and most deprived areas. J&S-4-PwDs-U-ICT has been realised in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) with a view to boosting the skills of visually and physically challenged people via ICT in order for them to find appropriate job opportunities in ICT and tourism.

J&S-4-PwDs-U-ICT was launched in September 2014 with the slogan, “Your skill set is your key to work”, and was informed by a field study of needs that included visually and physically challenged persons, civil society and private sector in nine governorates. Accordingly, relevant training curricula were developed for people with either visual or physical impairments in Arabic in the fields of: Entrepreneurship skills, PC basics, call centre skills, design and graphics skills and PC maintenance skills.

As part of J&S-4-PwDs-U-ICT’s efforts to strengthen the competencies of civil society partners, empowering them to contribute to the sustainability of the project, a number of workshops were held to train 55 trainers in the designated fields so that each organisation and society could train a target number of project beneficiaries. As a result, J&S-4-PwDs-U-ICT scored a success by realising its primary target of qualifying 600 visually and physically challenged trainees. The project remarkably managed to raise the awareness of those PwDs’ capabilities in their home governorates and neighbouring governorates.

In order to provide innovative technology solutions to grant PwDs easier access to the labour market, two workshops were held in Cairo and Alexandria to design an innovative framework in participation with the Information Technology Institute (ITI) and the Library of Alexandria. The two workshops provided venue to enhance interaction between youth programmers and PwDs, thereby leading to 12 ideas for innovative applications that would help overcome challenges that PwDs encounter.

As part of J&S-4-PwDs-U-ICT’s contribution to ensure accessibility and independent living for physically challenged persons, Al-Hassan Organisation took part in the production of the first Arabic-language video series (comprising 26 episodes) to qualify people with spinal injuries for employability. The series has been published online.

With the aim of further enhancing PwDs’ rights, ILO has launched the Accessible Tourism Competition for the first time in Egypt, which targeted hotels and tourist service providers who put distinguished efforts into rendering tourist destinations accessible, employing PwDs in the tourism sector and building the first Egyptian network of inclusive businesses that boasts 12 members by now, among which are service providers and production businesses.

The ceremony will play host to governmental entity stakeholders, participants from civil society organisations as well as training and employment agencies, a number of visually and physically challenged project beneficiaries along with project partners. The ceremony aims to exchange experience and expertise to determine best practices in the field of supporting, integrating and employing PwDs using ICT. Discussions will also be held as to the key challenges of PwDs qualification and employability and how to overcome them through community involvement.

Among the events on the ceremony’s agenda:

·        A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Holistic Community Development Using ICT Project (HCDUIP), ILO and the National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA) is due to be signed.

·        A documentary on the project achievements and a number of success stories will be screened.

·        Discussions will be held on the opportunities and challenges of training and employing PwDs in ICT and accessible tourism with a view to disseminating the outcomes to as many stakeholders as possible in concerned entities and ministries.

·         Key and best experiences of governmental entities, civil society organisations and international organisations to raise awareness in capacity building and employability of PwDs will be reviewed.

·        Some of the most prominent trainees, trainers and organisations will be honoured in recognition for their outstanding performance during the training period and their contribution to making training accessible to more beneficiaries using ICT in order to qualify them for the job market.

·        Winners in the Accessible Tourism Competition open to PwDs-friendly hotels and tourist service providers will be honoured.