What are we looking for?

What are we looking for?
We wish to foster & scale digital and technical innovations that provide or improve access to education for children, youths and/or adults with disabilities in Africa.

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What can you submit?

You can submit your innovative idea, mock-up, or proof of concept (PoC) if any of the following four criteria apply:

  1. You are developing a digital device and/or application, that facilitates inclusive education
  2. You have a concrete idea to raise awareness for inclusive education using digital technologies
  3. You are developing digital assistive technologies to be used in educational settings
  4. You are working on accessibility solutions for online learning environments

What kind of ideas are we looking for?

We are looking for ideas which are not yet mature enough for general use. The idea must not be an existing product or service available to the public. Other than this, no matter the maturity of your idea, feel free to participate in the challenge and, if you are selected, we will help you further develop your idea from ideation to a functional demo.

How mature is your idea?

There are three levels of maturity of ideas that are eligible for the challenge:

  • Innovative Ideas

    Your team has found a promising looking breakthrough concept or theory to fill a gap, and which is unique or clearly differentiated from similar existing solutions. It is still a concept or theory in abstract form and cannot be characterised as a product or service.

  • Mock-up
    Your team has analysed the concept or theory through user and maker analysis, has identified areas of focus and has started envisioning what this product or service could look like. You have graphically visualised the potential product or service by creating design drafts of its various web pages in static form featuring its final design elements but they are not functional.

  • Proof of Concept (PoC)
    Your team has developed a prototype to verify that the concept or theory can be viably developed and to demonstrate the functionality of your idea. The Proof of Concept helps to visualise how the product or service will function. It is an interactive model of the end-product which provides a concrete view of its design, navigation, layout and basic features.


When we speak about impact, what does it mean?

We are looking for ideas that foster change that can be described or measured as impact. Here are some examples to help you put in context your idea with this possible change.

Social change means:

Enabled participation of disabled persons in broader social groups/sections of society and an improved sensitization of the society for (the variety of) disabilities in order to continually consider disabilities in social settings.

Examples for social change: 

  • Disability is positioned/described in media and by educators as a human rights and employment rights priority.
  • Disabled  people are seen to speak for themselves in local/social/all media- and directly with educators, public policymakers, key stakeholders   
  • Technology is widely regarded as having the potential to liberate ALL human potential – including humans with disabilities   
  • Disabled- and educators – actively support & encourage girls with disabilities to go to school
  • Families that include children/adults with disabilities are more optimistic about their futures
  • Students with disabilities have a voice – are asked to evaluate the quality of their experience with education and training providers
  • Senior business leaders and educators collaborate to invest in disabled young people as a valued talent pool
  • Youth with disabilities become more confident and optimistic in their future
  • Investments in young leaders  and youth unemployed automatically and effectively  include young leaders with disabilities
  • It becomes much easier for adults who become disabled to re-train, i.e. to acquire the new skills that lead to new careers/jobs  


Economic change means:

Improved education of disabled persons resulting in better employability and thus in a better financial situation of disabled persons. This includes disability-appropriate facilities and equipment of economic entities.

Examples for economic change: 

  • Governments are investing in inclusive education – paying for training teachers, ensuring schools and remote learning is accessible, in assistive devices that enable disabled students to succeed.
  • Microfinance institutions routinely support people with disabilities as they do their non-disabled peers.
  • Disabled school leavers, University graduates, TVET graduates, digital skills training graduates, etc have  similar rates of employment within 6 months as their non-disabled peers
  • Assistive devices have become more affordable for students, families, employers, educators.
  • Families with children and adults with disabilities move out of poverty.
  • Educators and employers describe the provision of adjustments, including assistive devices and technology, as an economic and ethical imperative.
  • Governments pay for – or at least share the cost of – assistive technologies which enable individuals with disabilities to be employed (using the UK Access to Work and Disabled Student Allowance policy model)


Systemic change means:

Continuous and integral consideration of persons with disabilities and their participation in informative/educational, professional, and social contexts and settings.

Examples for systemic change: 

  • Disabled young people have the same rates of access to education as their non-disabled counterparts.
  • Health systems coordinate with education systems and with employers to ensure disabled people access affordable assistive devices /tech that enable them to study and then become economically self-sufficient
  • Mainstream education and training programs become attractive to, and barrier-free for, trainees with disabilities  
  • NGOs actively enable employers and educators to learn directly from people with disabilities
  • Schools in remote rural areas routinely use Washington Group Questions to monitor (and report on) the numbers of disabled students they serve each year- and the numbers they turn away.
  • NGOs and educators respect the job choice & career aspirations of individuals with disabilities.
  • Educators and employers know how to access the expert advice they need in order to teach and employ disabled people.
  • Remote teaching technologies & methodologies are accessible and usable and effectively
  • Education & training providers ensure disabled students acquire hard & soft skills that are in demand by local employers.
  • Education & training providers work closely with employers who offer internships, work experience, mentoring, etc to help disadvantaged students transition from education to employment/self-employment
  • Quotas are replaced by meaningful anti-discrimination legislation

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Collection of pictures of some members of the international jury

ICT 4 Inclusion Challenge Jury

The judging panel is composed of experts of Atos, GIZ, private sector, civil society and international organisations. The panel is carefully selected to provide expertise in the fields of education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), innovation, accessibility and inclusion and regional African perspectives.

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Intellectual workshop

What’s in it for you?

Whether you are a tech-savvy digital entrepreneur who tackles challenges with a solution-oriented approach or if you are someone directly impacted by a lack of accessibility to education with an idea on how to improve the situation; if your submitted idea is successful, you will be provided with the unique opportunity to turn your idea into an operating and impactful solution.

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More information on why this challenge is crucial now

Why is this challenge crucial now?

Education is the foundation on which inclusion is built. However, children and young persons with disabilities in Africa are significantly less likely to attend and complete basic and higher education.

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