Facebook Middle East and North Africa, in partnership with the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities (NAID), hosted the first “Boost with Facebook” program for people with disabilities, which aims to support the economic empowerment of Egyptians with disabilities in the field of small and medium businesses.
The launch event was held virtually on the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities Facebook page, and included a number of speakers who discussed ways to expand opportunities for people with disabilities to start their own businesses. Expand opportunities for people with disabilities to start their own businesses through Facebook platforms.
During the past few years, the Egyptian state focused on people with disabilities, and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology established the National Academy for Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities as part of the state’s efforts to achieve Egypt’s vision 2030 for comprehensive social and economic inclusion, enabling people with disabilities to employ technology to develop their skills, and support them to contribute In the economic and social development the country is witnessing.
Technology can play an important role in overcoming the challenges and obstacles facing people with disabilities. Dr. Abdel Moneim El Sharkawy, President of the National Academy of Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities, said that the pandemic has highlighted the important role that technology can play in creating and developing business opportunities. Social media in advancing business opportunities and their development across various small and medium business sectors, and we are looking for more inclusion of people with disabilities. Yesterday’s sessions are an opportunity to challenge the status quo. It is worth noting that assistive technologies and digital means of communication provide better opportunities to integrate and empower people with special capabilities.
The private sessions provided the attendees with hands-on training on employing Facebook tools as well as advice on how to use Instagram and WhatsApp to create their online business and interact with relevant communities and consumers.
Azzam Alameddine, Head of Public Policy for the Middle East and North Africa at Facebook, said: “We are committed to developing our programs that support our users and create opportunities that will make our economy more inclusive, while we seek to overcome the repercussions of the pandemic. Small and medium businesses are one of the growth sectors. The economic hub, and persons with disabilities play an important role in the growth and expansion of this vital sector.
“Our accessibility team is constantly working to develop technology capabilities to support people suffering from vision loss, blindness, hearing loss, deafness, or movement disabilities, and this partnership with NAID is a step in this direction to empower everyone.”
Facebook continues to enhance digital accessibility and support a more comprehensive user experience for people with disabilities by providing several innovative solutions, these solutions include automatic image description technology supported by artificial intelligence (alternative machine text or AAT), which can describe the contents of images for people who are blind or visually impaired, and an accessibility tool. Face identification to help blind people know who is in their photos, and automatic closed captioning for Facebook Live, Work Place Live, Instagram TV.
The “Boost with Facebook” program was launched for the first time in Egypt in 2019 to support the growth of the small and medium-sized business sector and facilitate economic growth. The program is designed to give small and medium businesses an additional push to build or expand their online business.
The program includes skills-building methods, learning from other business communities, human support, and business inspiration.