improving education and employment outcomes for the visually impaired

by IP Australia

(Government)

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ABC is an aid for trade-funded initiative for the production and distribution of educational material for visually impaired people in the Indo-Pacific.

Project implemented: 2014

Project goal

Improve educational and employment outcomes for visually impaired people in Indo-Pacific developing countries.

delivering on

why is this project important?

Australia is taking an international leadership role by showcasing how the use of aid for trade funding can directly improve the lives of the world’s most disadvantaged.

Key steps to make it happen

1Strategic partnerships

Partnering with Indo-Pacific not-for-profits to enable the production and distribution of accessible educational material.

2Skills capacity building

Training in the latest accessible book production techniques is provided to government and not-for-profit agencies.

impact to date

14,500 people who are print disabled positively impacted in Indonesia, Mongolia and Vietnam
Production of 478 educational accessible books in national languages in Indonesia, Mongolia and Vietnam have positively impacted an estimated 14,500 people who are print disabled.
36,500 people who are print disabled positively impacted in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka
Production of 2,574 educational access books in national languages in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka have positively impacted an estimated 36,500 people who are print disabled.
8 workshops
8 workshops held on accessible book production directly benefitting 48 female and 86 male participants in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
3,052 educational accessible books produced
Production of 3,052 educational accessible books for primary, secondary and university levels, in the national languages for Indonesia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
417 reading devices
Purchase of 417 reading devices (such as DAISY players or Android devices with text-to-speech software), which have been loaned or given to 218 female and 199 male beneficiaries, allowing them to read accessible materials.

Case study: In Sri Lanka, the DAISY Lanka Foundation (DLF) is using innovative solutions to break down barriers for students who are print disabled in acquiring books. With the support of the Accessible Books Consortium, DLF was able to convert over 1,000 educational books into accessible formats in one year, an incredible accomplishment considering that similar NGOs produced approximately 100-200 books over the same period. The difference is due to the agreement by commercial publishers in Sri Lanka to provide the DAISY Lanka Foundation with the electronic files of previously produced books. Traditionally, charitable organisations and not-for-profits have had to scan every page of hard copy books using OCR technology and then edit the scanned files to make them accessible. Alternatively, organisations have used human narrators to record audio books. Both of these processes are resource intensive. Using the original electronic files provided by commercial publishers enabled DLF to convert books into accessible formats more efficiently and economically.

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is an aid for trade initiative between the Australian Government and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) that directly improves the educational and employment outcomes for visually impaired people in developing countries.

ABC provides training and technical assistance in the production and distribution of books in accessible formats by partnering with established, local not-for-profits in the Indo-Pacific region. ABC directly provides funding for the production of accessible educational materials in national languages at the primary, secondary and university levels.

The ABC seeks to ensure that the objectives of the landmark Marrakesh VIP Treaty become a practical reality on the ground. The Marrakesh VIP Treaty, which Australia has ratified, sets out the legal framework that makes possible both the production, as well as the transfer, of accessible books across national boundaries, in national languages. It has a clear humanitarian and social development dimension and its main goal is to create copyright legislation for the benefit of people who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled.

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