The Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD), co-founded by disability rights activist, Yetnebersh Nigussie and Bob Ransom, a former ILO Disability Specialist – is set up to help some of the leading corporations, including Ethio-Telecom to fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mantra.
Founded in 2005, ECDD has recently teamed up with an Indian NGO – Enable India, to adopt a technology that creates a voice-based social networking platform to help in the distribution of information to the persons with disabilities in communities across Ethiopia.
Enable India currently operates in 15 states within India and was granted a special consultative status by United Nations Economic and Social Department. This is its first initiative outside of the country and with the large and vast population of Ethiopia, with visible communities in need of technology for everyday living arrangements; the country was chosen as a place to pilot what has worked successfully in the South Asian nation.
To assist vulnerable members of society with limited access to internet, the new technology is said to not need either smart phones or internet.
Srilakshmi Subramanyam – the Ethiopia-based consultant of Enable India – who will help implement this project, told The Reporter of the importance of CSR and the concept and is hoping to receive financial assistance from organizations.
“When we piloted the technology in India, the need was in dire state, but this technology through Enable India has helped millions of people access basic information which otherwise could have been impossible to access,” she said.
“CSR is helping our nation to rebuild itself and many companies are coming together to help this cause. It is now important for companies worldwide to be visualized or branded as ethical and socially responsible organizations, and CSR provides them an opportunity to that. The same experience can be replicated in Ethiopia and we are happy that ECDD and Ethio-Telecom are paving the way on such CSR partnerships.”
With an experience in Human Resources mainly in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), Srilakshmi is hopeful that the idea will catch on with the government and some of the companies within Ethiopia.
The Indian native was involved in setting up the ‘Disability Placement Team’ at Allegis Group in partnership with Enable India, as part of its CSR initiatives resulting in over 400 placements of Persons with Disability (PWD) and hopes this can be emulated in Ethiopia.