Blog Posts


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  • Image of two children playing with a ball, both are smiling and both are using wheelchairs Cover Image

    Assistive technology access gets a boost thanks to £12 million investment from the LEGO Foundation, five years after AT2030 begins

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Vicki Austin, Frederic Seghers
    March 2, 2023

    The partnership between GDI Hub and CHAI has been a great example of how complementary capabilities and experiences can fuel transformational change. In this blog we explore more on the history and future of collaboration, and how we are working together to drive access and impact of AT globally.

  • Opportunities and challenges for disability inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Giulia Barbareschi, Mikaela Patrick
    Feb. 19, 2023

    Measures implemented by governments worldwide in response to the escalation of the COVID-19 global pandemic have had a significant impact on everyone. Lockdown and physical distancing policies have led many people to spend the majority of their time at home, only leaving the house for basic essentials and relying on digital infrastructure and delivery services for work, learning, socialising and receiving supplies more than ever before. However, many people with disabilities might be affected by some of these changes in unique and unexpected ways, both positively and negatively.

  • What is Assistive Tech, who is it for, and what does it enable?

    Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Feb. 19, 2023

    When we use the term Assistive Technology (AT), we usually think about products like wheelchairs and walking sticks, hearing aids and eye-glasses, prosthetics and digital or mobile devices. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests a broad definition of assistive technology which emphasises services (diagnostics, fitting, ‘on-demand’ assistance), systems (infrastructure, processes), and products (eyeglasses, hearing aids, mobility aids).

  • Graphic text Allied Health Professionals and AT. Two people stand side by side. One person is using a crutch and is wearing an orthotic, the other person is offering support by their side Cover Image

    Allied Health Profession Day

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Kate Mattick
    Oct. 14, 2022
    United Kingdom

    In this blog Kate Mattick, an Allied Health Professional (AHP) and GDI Hub team member, shares her reflections on working as a physiotherapist and the challenges when people who may need AT don't have access. Kate explains who AHPs are, their role in AT delivery and how the new Training in Assistive Products, to be launched by the WHO, is so promising in creating effective AT service models.

  • A photo of Brian working on one of his prototypes in a lab. Cover Image

    Innovation Spotlight: Building a walking companion for the visually impaired.

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Harrison Kamau
    Oct. 13, 2022

    Hope Tech Plus Limited is dedicated to developing innovative technologies and building tools and programs for empowerment that support inclusion in all sectors of society. They accomplish this by utilizing modern technology to produce tools that improve interaction with the physical environment and promote personal development. "The Fourth Eye" was the first product, a device that employs echolocation technology to image obstructions and warns the user via haptic feedback.

  • Co founder, Kenneth Mwarandu speaking to a user of the Safari seat. Cover Image

    Innovation Spotlight: From recovery to innovation; the journey to create a revolutionary, low cost, all-terrain wheelchair, that can be manufactured with basic tools, using locally available materials and components.

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Harrison Kamau
    Oct. 5, 2022

    The Safari seat, a revolutionary, low-cost, all-terrain wheelchair, was born—an easy-to-repair, customizable solution, that can be manufactured with basic tools, using locally available materials and components.

  • A photo of the assembled UTULAV toilet. Cover Image

    Innovation Spotlight: Creating universal access to safe and appropriate sanitation, through innovating accessible toilets for people with disability.

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Harrison Kamau
    Sept. 29, 2022

    Syna Consultancy is a social enterprise committed to delivering fair and inclusive sanitation solutions. While their mandate has transformed over the years, their major objective is to ensure universal access to safe and appropriate water and sanitation, with special emphasis paid to the needs of underprivileged communities.

  • Elly Savatia, founder of Veezaviz smiles while looking into the camera Cover Image

    Innovation Spotlight: Completing the communication cycle – how a mentoring experience began a journey into machine learning and avatars to create a new sign language interpretation tool.

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Harrison Kamau
    Sept. 23, 2022

    From the onset, Veezaviz set out to bridge communication barriers. Savatia and his team created a new generation of technology that enables two-way communication among deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people. They make this possible by using machine learning-based sign language interpretation and automated avatar sign language generation.

  • Man being fitting with a hearing aid Cover Image

    Regulations in AT, an entrepreneurial challenge [Part of our new blog series: AT, Entrepreneurship & Finance - with GDI Hub's Assistive Tech Impact Fund]

    Dr Rhys Williams
    Aug. 31, 2022

    Regulations, standards and certifications play an important role in any tech sector and for AT are often one of the most difficult aspects of entrepreneurship, especially in LMICs. In this blog, we explore why regulations can cause headaches for AT entrepreneurs, the different types of regulatory landscapes that people come across, and what founders can do in the face of regulations.

  • Young man sitting looking at new prosthetic arm - developed at low cost Cover Image

    Changing the investment landscape for AT [Part of our new blog series: AT, Entrepreneurship & Finance - with GDI Hub's Assistive Tech Impact Fund]

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Dr Rhys Williams
    Aug. 22, 2022

    The AT hasn’t historically received investment from angel investors, venture capitalists or impact investors, but for any sector and support ecosystem to really grow, investment capital is needed. To try to understand why investment has been low, we interviewed investment professionals who work across Africa and share their perceptions of the assistive technology sector.

  • Presentation to a AT founder and wheelchair user Cover Image

    Balancing Volatility - Emerging African Ecosystems [Part of our new blog series: AT, Entrepreneurship & Finance - with GDI Hub's Assistive Tech Impact Fund]

    Global Disability Innovation Hub, Dr Rhys Williams
    Aug. 15, 2022

    Speak to any entrepreneur from Lagos to Johannesburg and you’ll hear that African emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems can be tough. In this blog, we explore some of the trademarks of these ecosystems, and what they mean for ambitious founders in AT.

  • Image of workshop with Innovate Now founders in Kenya Cover Image

    Profit for impact in the Assistive Tech space [Part of our new blog series: AT, Entrepreneurship & Finance - with Assistive Tech Impact Fund]

    Dr Rhys Williams
    July 28, 2022

    AT organisations need to embrace a ‘selling’ mindset in every part of the company to become sustainable. This may involve upskilling current employees, or even involve hiring new talent from commercial backgrounds. However it is achieved, financially sustainable AT companies offset unexpected and hard to mitigate risks caused by grant and philanthropic capital instability.

  • Two women working on computers Cover Image

    Marketing matters [New blog series: AT, Entrepreneurship & Finance - with Assistive Tech Impact Fund]

    Dr Rhys Williams
    July 21, 2022

    It’s time for AT companies to take marketing seriously. Even if companies are not in a position to hire marketing professionals, the founding team can upskill in this area to get their company and AT out into the world. it’s time to take marketing seriously. As we see individual companies grow through sales, we’ll also begin to see more and more ecosystem stakeholders wake up to the opportunities that this impactful sector has to offer.

  • Image of product (prostetic) being tested Cover Image

    Validate to find customers in AT ventures [New blog series: AT, Entrepreneurship & Finance - from Assistive Tech Impact Fund]

    Dr Rhys Williams
    July 14, 2022

    Any company that hopes to be successful in the long-term needs to find a customer base that can reliably pay for products and services. Companies that create Assistive Technology are no different, with many companies opting for a business-to-business (B2B) model. For AT companies that are providing goods and services in LMICs, these models can be challenging, because customers could be governments, hospitals and clinicians, non-government organisations, charities, and faith-based organisations.

  • Image of glasses being worn by a young African women in photoshoot Cover Image

    Making the direct-to-consumer model work for AT [New blog series: AT, Entrepreneurship & Finance - from Assistive Tech Impact Fund]

    Dr Rhys Williams
    July 6, 2022

    For people with disabilities to have access to high-quality assistive technology, we need a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that can bring innovative Assistive Technology (AT) to market. For every business to become financially sustainable, a scalable customer base is essential. Many AT companies have focussed on B2B, or B2G customers, however slow and involved sales processes and constrained government budgets with competing interests are pushing many companies to explore direct to consumer (DTC) business models.

  • Image of the word 'regulations' writen on a blackboard in chalk. Cover Image

    Regulations in Assistive Technology

    Louisa Cotton
    July 6, 2022

    When you speak to people in entrepreneurial ecosystems, regulations are rarely at the top of peoples lists of favourite things to think about. However, regulations, standards and certifications do however play an important role in any tech sector. They ensure that the products and services are safe, of acceptable quality, and provide ways for governments to keep companies accountable. In a sector like assistive technology, given the incredible potential to impact peoples lives in profound ways, regulations, standards and certifications are a good thing. That being said, they often are one of the most difficult aspects of entrepreneurship to crack, especially in LMICs. When it comes to regulations, there’s no avoiding that they can act as a barrier to growing startups, and when we spoke to AT entrepreneurs and investors that are active in Africa, regs came up in almost every interview we conducted.

  • A man using crutches is stepping down from a high train with the help of 3 workers Cover Image

    Celebrating the launch of the findings of AT2030’s sub-programmes in Indonesia. From Citizens to Cities: Participatory Approaches to Building Disability-Inclusive Cities

    Iain McKinnon, Annamae Muldowney
    June 21, 2022

    The Kota Kita Foundation (Kota Kita), Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) and University College London (UCL) held an event to launch the findings from the ‘Inclusive Infrastructure’ and ’Build Capacity and Participation‘ sub-programmes of the FCDO-funded AT2030 programme, from the AT2030 Initiatives in Surakarta and Banjarmasin, Central Java, Indonesia.

  • Data Visualization of the Mexican Network of Production. Cover Image

    The purely economic case for investing in Health for All

    Vallès-Codina, O. (2022, forthcoming). “The purely economic case for investing in health for all in lower- and upper-middle income countries: input-output and network analysis of their industrial ecossytem”. UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, Working Paper Series (IIPP WP 2022-03)

  • Image of women holding a photo of her younger self Cover Image

    A World Apart: A Global Clubfoot Journey Fuelled by One Woman’s Resolve

    Miracle Feet
    Oct. 1, 2021

    Doctors told Aisha Mballo’s parents it was “God’s will” that she was born with clubfoot, and their attempts to find treatment all ended the same way: no answers. The article tracks her experiences through treatment.

  • A group of wheelchair athletes playing basketball. Photo credit: NM Foundation Trust Zimbabwe. Cover Image

    Can Paralympic sport break down barriers to assistive technology use in Africa?

    Nyasha Mharakurwa, Stacy Konadu Mensah, Patrick Yaw Obeng
    Sept. 13, 2021

    In this blog, Nyasha Mharakurwa, a wheelchair tennis player and London 2012 Paralympian from Zimbabwe, Stacy Konadu Mensah, a wheelchair tennis player from Ghana, and Patrick Yaw Obeng, a para-athlete from Ghana share their reflections and experiences of barriers to assistive technology access and how Para sports can help break down these barriers for disabled people in Africa.

  • Monica Munga, a Para athlete from Zambia running on a blue track Cover Image

    Unlocking the potential of the Paralympics: Para Sport Against Stigma

    Dr. Jessica Noske Turner (LU London), Prof. Mufunanji Magalsi (UofMalawi), Sheila Mogalo (IPC Consultant)
    Aug. 17, 2021

    Community engagement is indispensable to realising the potential impact of the Paralympic Games in different African contexts. The Para Sport Against Stigma project is using action research with partners to try out different approaches in practice to develop a knowledge pool for the kinds of community engagement processes that could ground the Paralympics in diverse contexts across the ‘arc’ of the Games cycle: the lead up, the main event, and the legacy of this year’s Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games.

  • Preventing lifelong impairment: Access to clubfoot treatment in low and middle-income countries Cover Image

    The Launch of the Clubfoot Product Narrative

    Miracle Feet, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Frederic Seghers
    July 29, 2021

    This blog highlights the need for appropriately resourced and accessible clubfoot treatment programmes around the world. Through this story meet Quraish who shares his experience of the impact early treatment had on his life. Born with clubfoot, a birth defect in which one or both feet are turned inward and downward, it wasn’t until Quraish was four years old that his parents found treatment for his condition. “It changed my life forever,” he says. “I can wear shoes, run like any person can.” Now, with an accounting degree from Makerere University, he wants to pay it forward and help others realize their full potential.

  • Image of young boy wearing Wazi glasses from AT impact fund programme Cover Image

    AT Impact Fund: How we do impactful research

    Dr Rhys Williams
    May 14, 2021

    The Assistive Tech Impact Fund is the world’s first investment vehicle dedicated to scaling assistive technology innovation and provision in emerging markets. Find out more about the theory of change.

  • Image of man sitting with walking stick outside his house Cover Image

    An Eye for Inclusion: GDI Hub partners with NIUA for global photography competition ‘an Eye for Inclusion”

    Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Jan. 11, 2021

    GDI Hub is delighted to be supporting the National Institute for Urban Affairs (NIUA) our AT2030 programme partners based in India, in a global photography competition that calls for photographers and photography enthusiasts to capture what disability inclusion looks like for them. 'An Eye for Inclusion’ aims to capture and enrich image-making culture around disability inclusion, promoting inclusion by showcasing real life solutions, stories and best practices from everyday life that improve the lives of disabled people around the world.

  • Image of mobile phone - stylised Cover Image

    Mobile-powered employment opportunities for all; up to £20k available for Bangladesh solutions

    Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Jan. 5, 2021

    The UK aid funded i2i programme has launched a mobile innovation challenge for employment for all, using mobile technology to bridge to employment opportunities by the development of skills, increasing awareness of job opportunities and helping disabled people to get and retain employment opportunities. Up to £20,000 is available to support winning applicants in the development of employment solutions focused around mobile in Bangladesh.

  • Image of someone using a computer Cover Image

    Building the Assistive Tech ecosystem, one coffee at a time

    Dr Rhys Williams
    Jan. 5, 2021

    Insights inth the Assistive Tech Impact Fund - unlocking potenital, sharing knowledge and supporing newcomers.

  • Man using an assistive tech device in the centre of playground with young people playing football behind him Cover Image

    International Day of Persons with Disabilities in informal settlements in Sierra Leone and Indonesia

    Dr Ignacia Ossul Vermehren, UCL, Nina Asterina, Kota Kita, Hawanatu Bangura, SLURC
    Dec. 3, 2020
    Sierra Leone, Indonesia

    The 3rd of December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We reflect on this year’s theme “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World” through DPU’s research “AT2030: Community led solutions” in informal settlements Sierra Leone and Indonesia.

  • PN coverpage and image of Zainab Cover Image

    Digital assistive technology for inclusion: Zainab's story

    Barbara Goedde
    Nov. 23, 2020

    Zainab Jalal Ahmed is 37 years old and works as a translator (Arabic-English) for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq. The documents she translates include Memorandums of Understanding and other legal document, as well as - to facilitate the sponsorship of Iraqi students to study in overseas universities in Britain, the United States or Australia - applications, transcripts of their marks and abstracts of their works. As many are documents are legal in nature, the translations need to be very precise. Zainab also interprets for delegations and other visitors.

  • The banner reads: Disabled people for future Cover Image

    Powering Inclusion: Artificial Intelligence and Assistive Technology

    Felipe Ramos Barajas
    Nov. 14, 2020

    The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050 two billion people will need AT, yet 90% will not have access. This is why the AT2030 programme is engaged in testing research, innovation, policy, and building community solutions to see what works in addressing that enormous challenge.

  • Two persons holding hands Cover Image

    Exploring the experience of persons with disabilities of using mobile technology in their daily lives in Kenya and Bangladesh

    Nusrat Jahan
    Nov. 6, 2020
    Kenya, Bangladesh

    Although, mobile phones are universally used for communication, for persons with disabilities they become essential assistive technologies that bridge barriers to opportunities which are not accessible otherwise.

  • Co-design workshop Cover Image

    Inclusive Design Research in a Pandemic: Working Remotely in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

    Mikaela Patrick
    Oct. 30, 2020

    The Inclusive Infrastructure sub-programme obegan in March 2020, right out the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over three years this part of the AT2030 programme will be conducting case studies in six cities on the current state of accessibility and inclusion of the built environment in each of those places. Our aim is to build a picture of what inclusive design ‘looks like’ in each city. Find out more about our first case study in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

  • Black boy using a hearing aid. Cover Image

    Assistive Technology: What is in a name?

    Oct. 19, 2020

    The World Health Organization (WHO) defines assistive technology as ‘the application of organized knowledge and skills related to assistive products, including systems and services.’ Assistive products are ‘any external product (including devices, equipment, instruments or software)…the primary purpose of which is to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, and thereby promote their well-being’.1 Put simply, assistive products are the products and assistive technology is the whole ecosystem that is needed for their safe and effective provision and use.

  • Susiana, her mother and daughter in a low-income neighbourhood in Indonesia. Cover Image

    Disability, inclusion and cities: can COVID-19 trigger change?

    Dr Ignacia Ossul Vermehren, Julian Walker, UCL, Development Planning Unit (DPU), Hawanatu Bangura, SLURC, Yirah O’Conteh, FEDURP, Nina Asterina, Kota Kita, Kesuma Anugerah Yanti, Kaki Kota
    Oct. 1, 2020

    COVID-19 has exacerbated the disadvantages experienced by people with disabilities in low-income communities of the global South. Here, the authors explain how urban community organisations are offering effective short-term support and inspiring inclusive longer-term strategies.

  • Technicians during a prostheses fitting. Cover Image

    What is Assistive Tech, who is it for, and what does it enable?

    Rhys Williams
    Sept. 28, 2020

    What does Assistive Technology mean and which products are the key priority products.

  • Innovate Now innovators and staff Cover Image

    Marking 4 years of the Global Disability Innovation Hub

    Bernard Chiira
    Sept. 3, 2020

    Bernard Chiira reflects on the 4 years of GDI Hub and the role in promoting the AT innovation ecosystem as part of AT2030.

  • Back of woman in Sierra Leone Cover Image

    Gender and disability in informal settlements during COVID-19: What we have learnt so far

    Dr Ignacia Ossul Vermehren
    June 30, 2020
    Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Chile

    On Tuesday 11th February, we held an event on The Politics of Making Disability Visible in Community-led Urban Research as part of the Dialogues in Development series at The Bartlett Developing and Planning Unit (UCL). The aim of the event was to share reflections and learnings from the action-research project "Community-led solution: Assistive Technologies in Informal Settlements– an ongoing research project in four low-income urban communities: two in Freetown, Sierra Leone and two in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Dr Ignacia Ossul Vermehren discussed gender and disability in informal settlements during COVID-19. and sheds a light on what we've learnt so far.

  • Bernard holding a microphone and using an AT device during an event. Cover Image

    Celebrating Inspirational Entrepreneurs Building Tech that Matters for Africa

    Bernard Chiira, AMREF Health Africa
    May 13, 2020

    Bernard presents an overview of the innovations and teams that were part of the first cohort of Innovate Now, Africa's first Assistive Tech Accelerator.

  • Aerial view of informal settlement Cover Image

    Opportunities and challenges for disability inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Dr Giulia Barbareschi, Mikaela Patrick, Global Disability Innovation Hub
    April 15, 2020

    To ensure society continues to become more accessible beyond COVID-19 we need to integrate the voices of disabled people in the design and development of policy, technology and infrastructure. Dr Giulia Barbareschi and Mikaela Patrick discuss the opportunities and challenges.

  • Frontier Technologies Hub, Global Disability Innovation Hub, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering & DFID Global Search for existing and proven low-cost ventilator technologies Cover Image

    COVID-19 response: using Assistive Technology learnings to seek emerging market ventilation solutions

    Global Disability Innovation Hub
    March 19, 2020

    Louise writes on how mimicking the learnings of the AT2030 programme and working across multi-disciplinary networks, we can bridge sectors and rapidly share expertise to catapult innovations through the product development cycle in the context of COVID-19.

  • Mark, Ignacia and Nina. Cover Image

    The Politics of Making Disability Visible in Community-led Urban Research

    Development Planning Unit (DPU), Dr Ignacia Ossul Vermehren
    March 3, 2020

    Ignacia, research fellow working with the Build Capacity and Participation subprogramme presents a summary of the event organised with AT2030 partners.

  • Group of participants standing and smiling. Cover Image

    Understanding the Assistive Technology Landscape in 7 African Countries

    Clinton Health Access Initiative, Novia Afdhila
    Dec. 9, 2019

    On November 5th, 2019, representatives from seven countries convened in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss the rollout and initial findings from the Assistive Technology Country Capacity Assessments (CCA). This included the focal persons from Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda who are carrying out the CCA in partnership with government ministries.

  • Asmana stting in a wheelchair, smiling . He is in front of a taxi. Cover Image

    Celebrating International Disability Day in Sierra Leone

    Vicki Austin, Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Dec. 4, 2019

    Vicki shares her reflections of her experience in Freetown to celebrate International Disability Day (as it is called in Sierra Leone) with the communities for the first time.

  • Arnold using a prosthetic device Cover Image

    How a school football game changed Arnold's life

    Ines Amri, Amparo Prosthetics
    Dec. 2, 2019

    Ines writes about Arnold and his experience with Amparo's Confidence socket.

  • David sitting in a wheelchair speaking to another man in a wheelchair Cover Image

    Assistive Technology Changed My Life

    Motivation, David Constantine
    Oct. 18, 2019

    David, Founder and Director of Motivation discusses the impact of assistive technology in his life and his work in the AT sector.

  • Cathy, Ben, Giulia and Dafne smiling next to an ISPO poster Cover Image

    ISPO Congress Summary

    Dr Giulia Barbareschi, Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Oct. 16, 2019

    Giulia presents an overview of the research presented at the ISPO conference in Japan that included the Learnings from the AT2030 Programme for Service Delivery in LMIC.

  • Large group of people smiling and raising their hands at an event for people with disabilities organised by the Mayor of Banjarmasin Cover Image

    Life Changing Assistive Technology for All in Freetown and Banjarmasin

    Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre, Hawanatu Bangura
    Oct. 6, 2019

    Hawanatu gives an overview of a two-week workshop held in Banjarmasin in May 2019 with a team from UCL (UK), Kota Kita and Kaki Kota (Indonesia), and SLURC (Sierra Leone) as part of the project. The workshop started with site visits to the two communities (Pelambuan and Kelayan) in Banjarmasin where the AT2030 would be implemented. Participants then introduced useful presentations on the wider AT2030 project, disability, AT and informality between the two countries (Indonesia and Sierra Leone).

  • Hand pedalled tricycle. Cover Image

    Reflections on the challenges that people with disabilities face in Kibera, Nairobi

    Dr Ben Oldfrey, Global Disability Innovation Hub
    Aug. 7, 2019

    Ben presents the work by GDI Hub and the University of Nairobi taht conducted a study, interviewing wheelchair users living in Kibera – an informal settlement found in Nairobi, Kenya. The study was part of a wider project with the aim of learning how people with disabilities use technology in their everyday lives and understanding the barriers people with disabilities (PWDs) face in various environments.

  • A team of technicians helping to fit a prosthetic device on a kenyan woman's leg Cover Image

    One small step for an amputee and a giant leap for Amparo and GDI Hub

    Dr Giulia Barbareschi, Global Disability Innovation Hub
    July 30, 2019

    Giulia shares her insights on her experience working on lower limbs prosthetics with Amparo and the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (ADPK).

  • GDI Hub Logo Cover Image

    Do we have the right Global Strategy to build access to Assistive Technology?

    Vicki Austin, Global Disability Innovation Hub
    March 27, 2019

    Vicki discusses the importance of global partnerships to address the gap to access assistive technology.