Heritors Labs champions inclusion of PWDs in research, innovation


Heritors Labs has underscored the importance of including persons with disabilities in the research and innovation (R&I) ecosystem.

It noted that persons with disabilities face challenges when accessing, participating in, and benefiting from research and innovation processes, hence the need to address these barriers head-on while ensuring an inclusive environment that promotes their involvement.

It added that this has become necessary especially as the country takes measures toward research and innovation commercialisation.

“Persons with disabilities have played pivotal roles in innovation discoveries across sectors and have made significant contributions to national development, especially in countries that pay attention to their needs and ensure that they are holistically represented in all aspects, including politics, labour, infrastructure, sports, folklore and science and innovation.

“We are convinced that many nations are reaping the benefits of the massive contributions of persons with disabilities in research and innovation because they are consciously making policies that level the ground and elevate opportunities for the economic and social resourcefulness of persons with disabilities,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Heritors Labs Limited, Derrydean Dadzie said.

He made this remark at his outfit’s validation workshop which it sought to gather input, insights, and feedback from key stakeholders on a framework it developed with the support of RISA Fund to champion the inclusion of PWDs.

Dubbed ‘Inclusion, enablement, availability, accessibility and utilisation framework for persons with disabilities in research and innovation in Ghana”, the framework aimed at providing a comprehensive and actionable roadmap for enhancing disability inclusion within the R&I space.

This framework will serve as a guiding document for policymakers, research institutions, funding agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to implement concrete measures that facilitate the inclusion of persons with disabilities in research and innovation activities.

It intends to provide a roadmap for improving accessibility, promoting assistive technologies, and fostering a supportive environment for persons with disabilities to thrive and play a very impactful role in science, technology, innovation and research.

Lead consultant, Augustina Naami, PhD. who is the head of the Department of Social Work at the University of Ghana, is confident the framework holds great potential to address existing gaps and promote equal opportunities for persons with disabilities within the research and innovation sector.

“Technology has come to stay and we are benefiting from it, but persons with disabilities do not benefit much because they do not have access. Access is in several folds – the availability of the products and affordability. So, we conducted research and the paradigm we are proposing is a bottom-up approach.  All actors in the industry must come together to promote disability-inclusive innovations and understand the needs of PWDs and how to make innovations accessible and affordable to them. Also, to involve them in every stage of research and innovation to be able to come out with innovations that best fit,” she said.

Among other things, the framework proposed that: “The government and all other stakeholders, including universities, research institutions and industry should endeavor to independently and /or jointly develop policies that would advance disability-inclusive research and innovations since none of these entities has legislation regarding disability-inclusive research and innovation.

“Government could subsidise the cost of production to make these products available for persons with disabilities and also motivates producers to produce innovations that are accessible, available, and affordable.

“Industry is also recommended to use corporate social responsibility funds to support the production of disability-inclusive innovative products and services, which could, in turn, increase access to these products to the benefit of persons with disabilities.”

Leave a Reply