Microsoft works with World Bank to combat the disability divide

Alice Chambers
Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers on 17 June 2022
Microsoft works with World Bank to combat the disability divide
Microsoft

The new data hub will engage with the disabled community and improve representation across the world

The World Bank and Microsoft are collaborating with the Disability Data Initiative at Fordham University, in New York, USA, to improve the representation and inclusion of disabled individuals in low- and middle-income countries.

Together, they will develop a new disability data hub to provide the public with access to demographic data and statistics about the disabled community. The hub will align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which requires countries to disaggregate data by disability by 2030, and offer data analysis and accessible visualisation tools. Governments from across the world will use the hub to allocate resources to their citizens.

Microsoft will use a holistic approach for collecting data on disabilities by collecting and collating data from multiple sources, such as national household surveys and censuses. People with disabilities will then be categorised based on a variety of factors, including age, gender and socioeconomic background.

The new hub will also serve as a knowledge repository by publishing trends and country profiles, offering trainings and capacity building materials and linking partner resources on disability data disaggregation.

“Disability is a growing demographic, and Covid-19 has acted as a mass disabling event, growing the base of people with disabilities worldwide,” said Jenny Lay-Flurrie, chief accessibility officer at Microsoft. “The disability divide has been a reality for decades. This new disability data hub is a step forward in wrapping our arms around the demographics of disability in a more strategic, long-term way. Through partnership we think we can make a tangible difference.”

The hub will also help to combat outdated assumptions surrounding disabilities.

This new collaboration builds from Microsoft’s 25 years of developing accessibility and inclusion and its recent five-year commitment to make additional progress.

“The World Bank’s partnership with Microsoft aims to bring higher visibility to the development outcomes and living conditions of persons with disabilities,” said Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, global disability advisor at the World Bank. “This effort will ensure that more policymakers, development practitioners, civil society and academia use a disability lens and evidence to inform new financial investments, policy reforms and service delivery.”

The World Bank has already produced numerous cross-sectoral analytics to ensure that those with disabilities are catered for across its bank operations and has provided direction for government officials in the areas of disaster risk management, water and education.

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