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A mobile application that enables accessibility of health care for marginalized groups in society

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

User Experience Map pdf Link:

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

Viewing disability as a limiting factor, the deaf community face persistent prejudice and marginalization from mainstream society, as a result they are unable to access basic resources like education and quality health care, resulting to being trapped in poverty cycle and being compared to beggars depending on donations. With inadequate sign interpreters, loss of deaf lives is witnessed at hospitals. I (Allan) suffered partial hearing loss, with these I resonated with some of issues Deaf go through and designed Beacon Chat with the user in mind, However, we will be working with both a deaf individual and a Sign Language Interpreter in the project.

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

Societies in Africa have grown up seeing Disability as a bad omen, hence this kickstarted marginalization that later transcended into governments, with language barrier between Deaf Culture and mainstream society, sign language interpreters have been the only communication link between, however, deaf special schools are underfunded by the government and community don’t see Sign Interpreter as a great career thus explaining their inadequacy in society, with the law requiring that all institutions

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

With Sign Language Interpreters being inadequate and law requiring Health Institutions to provide suitable means for communication, Health Care institutions find themselves in a dilemma that results to loss of both life and resources. Beacon Chat solves both the pain point of Health Institutions and Deaf Community, reducing the cost of accessing health care by 94%, from $150/hour to $9/lifetime. This way, the costs incurred by deaf in accessing health care can be channeled for economic activitie

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

We address Inclusion of Deaf in Health Accessibility, where our impact will cultivating diverse and inclusive society where everyone can live in dignity, with health access, improved health translates to increased productivity for the target group socially and economically where they can no longer depend on donations for their upkeep. Finally Beacon Chat will open up for Diverse Workplaces, inclusive of Deaf and these will take 6 to 11 months to be seen, since they wait for such opportunities

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

We’ve had greater user knowledge and switched the application design to both include users that have been fully deaf in their whole life and those who gained deafness in the course of their lives. Moreover, we’ve understood that sign language differs in different locations, hence we will need to translate into all versions available.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

Timeline link: The project will take 27 months, with redesign, development and testing allocated the first 14 months and later onsite testing, going live ,user training activities and evaluation to be conducted in the following 13 months. risks were taken into account and mitigation plans allocated to each risk, these way, we will be able to complete set activities in the set time. More details are in the Timeline Attached.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

Ruben Vallega: Strategic Advisor and Linkages Lincoln Njogu: Technology Advisor Allan Okoth: Product Manager Pauline Gitau: Chief Technical Officer Steve Munasye: Engagement Officer Ali Mohammed: Financial Officer Liverpool VCT: Partner Organization Job Ayubu: Sign Translator

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

Human Capital, Materials and Consumables, Production cost, Press and marketing, Equipment, Travel and subsistence, Evaluations and dissemination, Administrative

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Lower understanding of sign language has left the deaf community marginalized and unable to access basic health care services. This has been attributed to the fact that Global hearing aid production only meets 10% of the Deaf population and Number of professionally trained Sign Language Interpreters is way too minimal to serve the 446 Million deaf population. As a result, Alfred Weinrib, an 83-cancer stricken deaf person died without even knowing his diagnosis after 3 long hospitals failed to provide a sign language interpreter for 7 months. Alfred is not alone, there are more than 10,000 cases reported every year in Africa. Beacon chat is the solution, built on Internet of Things, we provide an inclusive communication platform for Deaf and Hearing that uses Natural Language Processing to translate between Sign and Text. This way, individuals like Alfred can access basic health care without the need of a sign language expert. Unveiling Beacon Chat, a mobile app providing inclusive communication platform for both deaf individuals, applying Natural Language Processing to translate between sign language and text. This way, individuals like Alfred can access healthcare without the need of a sign interpreter, reducing the cost of accessing health by 94% from $150/hr to $9/lifetime Our impact is aligned with the achievement of SDGs where, by facilitating access of sexual health for disabled women in underserved areas we help in achievement of Goal 5: GENDER EQUALITY, and 10 REDUCED INEQUALITY. Through our prototype, we managed to impact more than 1600 deaf lives. One of our success stories is Atieno, a deaf girl who works at a local health center. In her daily role she interacts with more than 50 youth seeking sexual health consultation. Through Beacon Chat, she is able to attend to her patients without the need of a sign interpreter. Beacon Chat gave Atieno a chance to partake in the achievement of Universal Health Coverage as a result we help achieve Goal 3: Health

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

We are targeting Health Institutions, Deaf Community, Hearing Population and Elderly Population. For elderly population, presbycusis (age-related damage to the cochlea) is the biggest cause of hearing loss among the aging population, so through Beacon Chat, they will be able to communicate with GP/Health practitioner if they suffered deafness, furthermore elderly population are more vulnerable to diseases hence important to track their health, and this is served through the premium version. And finally, for Hospitals and Deaf Community, (this is our main focus) Beacon Chat will be used to facilitate access to health care for Deaf Culture, and Health Institutions, since health care institutions are required to provide suitable means for Deaf patients diagnosis

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Beacon Chat is universally designed, making it inclusive and operates at no cost regardless of network or Wi-Fi coverage, making it cheap and available. Compared to Hearing Aid, whose production only meets 10% of the deaf population, SignAll who have a Translation booth which is not portable and is expensive, Sign Language Interpreters, who are hard to find and expensive to consult on hourly fees

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Beacon Inc is a Kenya based social enterprise founded upon values embracing diversity and inclusion in society with a mission to reboot equality by catalyzing Low cost Internet of Things technology to foster inclusion for vulnerable groups in society, enabling access to health, education and civic engagement.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In 2017, I was diagnosed with partial hearing loss after a musical career working as a DJ like Avicii. What followed next, was a distressing time in life, where I underwent isolation and distress. Not to be defined by my disability, I developed the MVP for Beacon Chat to help me with the basic communication, but it is the Alfred Weinrib story, that led me to pursue Beacon Inc. When I look back, I see it was a tough decision leaving Djing, but Beacon Inc has given me fulfillment

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Health is core to Human development and prosperity, since heathy people are better able to contribute to the social, political and economic development of their communities and countries. Studies show that good health has a positive effect on development and that decreases in overall morbidity and mortality can help drive productivity and economic growth. Our project addresses inequalities and exclusion that act as barriers to accessing health services for the most marginalized and vulnerable people. healthy community lead to better economic growth and as a result lead us to a path of prosperity. When people are barred from enjoying particular rights, conflict arises as a result and further leads to violence. Vulnerable Groups have been marginalized by society and thus unable to access basic services like education and health care. This has further scaled levels of gender based violence on vulnerable groups since they are unable to ask for help.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

In Nairobi, Kenya the deaf community at the moment are fragmented in special schools where they get special education and in this schools are managed by Government sponsored initiatives and Non-Governmental Organizations. One that stood out during the research is Liverpool VCT, they are an NGO that provides sexual and reproductive health consultation to persons with disabilities and have a wide coverage in the city. Beyond that, I have worked with some of their employees who are deaf and will be easy to foster ultimate partnership that will ensure scalability of the impact across the 780,000 deaf individuals across Kenya.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Working with Liverpool VCT will be beneficial to the project, since they employ both deaf and hearing in their workforce and more to that have VCT Centers (Locations for Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Testing) across the country. Their setup will be able to test applicability of the application. In fact, yesterday we initiated successful partnership talks that will see Beacon Chat rollout across its (Liverpool VCT) centers across the country

Geographic Focus

East African Community, with more than 1,000,000 deaf individuals

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

27 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

Attachments (1)

This inspired (1)

Celebration for All


Join the conversation:

Photo of Marnie Glazier

This is a great idea! It is inspiring to see a mobile app that has such social responsibility and inclusion in its design!

Photo of Pauline Gitau

Thank you Marnie. We increasingly see the need to implement technology in ways that make spaces more accessible and inclusive for all. We hope to see Beacon Inclusive implemented in hospitals, schools and civic engagement. So THAT all voices are heard and everyone given a chance at contributing, at being heard and getting their best chances- leaving no one behind.

Photo of Marnie Glazier

Agreed, and I really look forward to hearing more about your work.

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