Thera Connect, a team of tech enthusiasts, has won $1,000 in a two-day hackathon organised by Project Enable Africa, in partnership with the US consulate, to find tech solutions for persons living with disabilities (PWDs).
In line with getting the message of disability inclusion to all stakeholders, Project Enable Africa, in partnership with the United States Consulate, gathered tech enthusiasts at the Inclusion Hub, the first digital hub for Persons With Disabilities in Nigeria.
The hackathon sought to create technology-driven solutions that promote inclusion and accessibility for PWDs.
According to Owonikoko Olusola, the project director, “the theme for the 2019 International Day for Persons With Disabilities, which is ‘The Future is Accessible’ is apt”.
“We live in a technology-driven world and we can’t afford to have Persons With Disabilities left behind. If technology makes things easier and faster for Persons without disabilities, imagine the new world of possibilities we open PWDS to,” Owonikoko said.
“Working towards an inclusive and accessible future is everyone’s responsibility. Project Enable Africa is committed to improving the lives of PWDS and amplifying their voices as well.
“The disability inclusion hackathon which had young innovators, software developers and technology enthusiasts across the nation pitch their inclusive solutions to a panel of tech experts who served as judges is a novel idea.
“The overall goal is to engage the use of technology to provide inventions and solutions that will make life easier, better and more convenient for Persons With Disabilities”.
Claire Pierangelo, the United States consul general, in her remarks, applauded the tech developers and encouraged them to be inclusive in their ideas.
“Olusola Owonikoko is an alumnus of the United States Consulate Mandela Washington Fellow and we are proud of his developmental contributions and what he has done with Project Enable Africa,” she said.
“Technology is very important to persons with disabilities to maximize their potential and explore their opportunities. It’s very important for us to be inclusive in our policies and processes and we are proud to support great ideas for tech enthusiasts. We will continue to encourage Civil Society Organizations around the world.”
According to Lanre Olagunju the head of Communications, “the Project Enable Africa inclusion hackathon is aimed at promoting innovative use of assistive technology, IT products and offer value to the community of persons with disabilities”.
“At Project Enable, we look towards a future with no barriers, a future where physical structures are accessible, where persons with disabilities get jobs without fear of discrimination based on their disabilities,” Olagunju added.
Thera Connect, the team with the most innovative solution got a financial reward of $1,000 and support to fully develop and scale.
The idea will be co-owned with Project Enable Africa so as to scale into a commercially viable product.
Fielding questions from journalists,Fredrick Adams, one of the judges, said: “We are proud of the quality of ideas we received. The tech community has got a new challenge and it’s important that we continue to produce ideas and concepts that help Persons with Disabilities to thrive.”