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Towards an African Australian Community of Practice

Friday 06, Jul 2018

Members of the African AT Community have expressed interest in ARATA’s structure and purpose, and are looking to build a similar organisation. This initiative delivers on ARATA’s Strategic Goal to develop, strengthen and support local and global assistive technology communities. In response to the action call (see below) , we have a ‘listserv’ email list of approximately thirty AT practitioners, researchers and disabled persons organisations from fifteen countries.  This is early days, with people introducing themselves and their practice queries, and some focal enquiries underway around sustainable seating and WHO policy.

Purpose

The WHO Global AFRO Region has extensive unmet need for AT, as well as exciting innovations and developments in appropriate and sustainable AT development and delivery. International Assistive Technology Professional Associations operate in many regions to connect and support AT users, researchers, practitioners, suppliers and supporters. Australia’s International Assistive Technology Professional Association, ARATA, offers its structure and resources to African stakeholders who may choose to establish an African AT Association. ARATA also seeks to learn from African innovations relevant to service delivery in similar environments (rural and remote) and climactic conditions (heat, humid/arid, salt, dust).

Proposal

The Global Cooperation on AT (GATE) Network supports global and regional actions to progress the Global Priority Research Agenda to improve access to high-quality affordable assistive technology.

A vision for a community of practice in assistive technology in Africa was proposed at the GREAT Summit, 2017 (see GREAT Innovation Snapshot below). This concept was further explored during the recent ISO meeting in Kenya, May 2018.

Actions

  • Form a mailing list of interested parties
  • Form an online repository of documents and resources (Dropbox)
  • Communicate with WHO GATE to consider this initiative as a regional group
  • Invite leadership and connection: Diane Bell (South Africa) and Natasha Layton (Australia) to establish infrastructure and co-ordinate initial phase

Any ARATA members with specific interests in and capacity to contribute to this community, please inform president@arata.org.au to join the list.