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We Can! Wellness Center - South Sudan

We Can! Wellness Center is a place where people with all disabilities can find a sense of belonging, a viable income, and better health.

Photo of Virginia Williams
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What problem does your idea solve?

We Can! Wellness Center addresses the 3 goals of this challenge:

1) ECONOMIC: addresses need for many PWD to make a living;
2) PRODUCTS & SERVICES: provides wellness services for PWD and offers in-demand services to the community at large;
3) STIGMA: will reduce stigma by promoting the “We Can!” factor- inherently showing customers first-hand the “able” side of PWD, thereby countering the negative association that the term “dis-abled” often projects, social marketing/promotion of We Can

Explain your idea

The We Can! Wellness Center will be a holistic wellness center whose primary beneficiaries and operators are people with disabilities.

Currently Seeing Hands is a massage therapy center run by visually impaired individuals in Juba, South Sudan. We Can! would be an expansion of this model, to include deaf and speech impaired employees as well as those with other disabilities, and would include additional income generating activities and services.

We Can!, as is illustrated in the User Experience Map above, will tailor its program to each individual’s wants, needs, and aspirations. During the first meeting, a “Candidate Profile” will be filled out and a tailored plan will be drawn up. Training will include both vocational skills training and any communication or mobility training that is required. Using Ayen as an example, she would be trained in customer service skills as well as proper food-handling.

We Can! services would include:
A vision center, a prosthetics/orthotics referral center, a café, a crafts center and shop, a nursery, and a transport service. All would be accessible to the general public and would be the principle income drivers for the organization as a whole. In addition to income generation, the center would provide people with different disabilities a sense of community. Employees would have staff/member access to an interfaith counseling center, recreation center, and adult education classes at the existing REJAF education center.

Who benefits?

We Can!’s primary beneficiaries will be people with disabilities living in Juba and the surrounding area. In the future, we hope to expand into other states and IDP camps.
Seeing Hands already exists in Juba and currently benefits both the visually impaired massage therapists (income), and their customers, the majority of which are relief & humanitarian workers. We would expand the client base with a transport service, cafe, & nursery-- at affordable prices for South Sudanese.

How is your idea unique?

The We Can! Wellness Center will be the first of its kind in South Sudan, benefitting those with all types of disabilities. It will provide not only income, but transferable skills, empowerment, and a sense of belonging and community as well. The visibility of the We Can! brand will work to decrease stigma by virtue of the fact the disabled will be helping the abled public through valued products and services, something that Seeing Hands has proven small scale. By working in tandem with the existing REJAF school for the blind and deaf, and building alongside the campus, the educational center and We Can! will complement each others’ services. We plan to be nimble and change course if needed. For example, if we need to add a new income generation activity, we could adopt Not Impossible Lab’s “BUILD” model--a mobile adaptive technology lab they devised to create solar products, home items, or a prosthetic limb from locally sourced resources that can fit in a shoe-box!

Tell us more about you

I’m a “social change” agent who has worked in international development communications for several years. I encountered Seeing Hands and was immediately taken with the team and their mission. Seeing Hands was founded by Father John Barth of Maryknoll Society-- a Catholic charity. I’m a social behavior change specialist, and led “Respect & Respond,” a social norms campaign for the IRC to reduce violence against women and stigma for survivors in South Sudan: http://bit.ly/nvmsamp

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

What typically sidelines projects in South Sudan are both natural and man-made disasters. For this reason, it’s important to identify monitoring and implementing partners with well-developed contingency plans and consistent guidelines for building-out programs. While we don’t want WeCan! to be burdened by unnecessary bureaucracy, we want to ensure transparency, accountability, and proper use of funds.

I worked with the local government of South Sudan on a $95M project monitored by the World Bank, with various implementing partners. While certainly more complex than the WeCan! project, it reinforced my belief in the importance of establishing proper checks & balances and identifying a project manager with the necessary competencies.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • South Sudan

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are not formally registered but are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.

Idea Maturity

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

We collected feedback from the disabled community in South Sudan, comments from the IDEO community, and consulted with various experts, including small business /livelihood experts in international development.

They indicated that the following services would likely be economically viable as well as desired by the disabled community. All will be managed via an integrated & accessible intake/program management/menu and payment platform, and available for the general public unless otherwise noted.

Departments will be built in phases, with capacity/skills building first:

1) Seeing Hands Massage Center
2) Nursery (sign & braille instruction for children of employees and community)
3) Café
4) Transport service (adapted van for People with Disabilities (PWD) & Tuk Tuks)
5) Crafts Center and Shop
Staff only:
6) Interfaith Counseling Service
7) Aids for all PWD (Hearing, Sight, Mobility, i.e. canes, wheelchairs, etc)
8) Orthotic/Prosthetic Referrals
9) Recreation Center

Who will implement this idea?

We are in discussions with several large, reputable locally-based organizations focusing on PWD to act as a monitoring partner/pass through org or implementing partner. The list of organizations at the end of this proposal is only a partial list of these organizations I’ve spoken to (CEO or ED), and we’re very confident that we will get these partners on board. Already committed: REJAF school for the Blind & Deaf, the MoGSC, Seeing Hands, Women with Disabilities Network, Light for the World.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

As mentioned above, we are discussing with several organizations to act as implementing or monitoring Partners. We believe that having this opportunity to choose our partners is a plus, as this way we are able to find a team of orgs that will be diverse in strengths, e.g. : reputation and experience on the ground, adaptability to change and modification, sense of experimentation, fiduciary responsibility, and evidence-based impact. Should we be successful, ideally IDEO would be part of this decision and our organizational make-up would be tailored to the needs of the project and realities on the ground.
As for the disabled population, we already have the commitment of Seeing Hands, the head of the REJAF School, and the leader of the Women with Disabilities Network to act as advisors.

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

I am familiar with IDEO and have done various “pop-up” challenges at workshops I’ve attended in the past. What I like about it is the “can do” attitude and sense of collaboration that reminds me of my days in the Peace Corps. You can really do a lot with very little money, with ingenuity and capable people on the ground. Fundamental to HCD is starting with the user, or audience first. I have witnessed this many times in the programs and projects I’ve developed and implemented globally!

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

South Sudan is easily one of the most difficult places on earth to be disabled. We hear most from the disabled in South Sudan about their struggles with communication and mobility. Let’s go through a typical day. Transportation, if you have a wheelchair or mobility device, is not even available for you as taxis are limited to boda bodas (motorcycles) and maybe a tuk tuk.

The majority of the population is illiterate, making the consequence of a communication-related disability all the more profound, both at home and at work. Disabled individuals do not only lack income, they also lack training, basic literacy & communication skills, a peer support system and in many cases, a friend. WeCan! will remedy this.

Re: Answers to “organization” Qs below are based on anticipated partners

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

QUESTION: How do we build a strong & flexible business model that will weather South Sudan’s volatile political climate and fragile economic state and build local capacity for sustained success?

IMPACT: By 2022 We Can! Wellness Center will be operating in Juba and 3 other states in South Sudan, providing livelihoods to over 1000 disabled persons, & products & services to over 250,000 via access to transport, mobility aids, vision & hearing services, and basic literacy/braille/sign classes.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Between 6 months and 1 year

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $100,000 and $500,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.

https://www.newviewmedia.tv (Idea Popper)
https://www.facebook.com/seeinghandsjuba/ (Seeing Hands)
https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/about/staff/4
https://www.light-for-the-world.org (Advising Partner, potential Monitoring Partner)
http://mgcswss.org/directorates/directorate-social-welfare/school-blind-deaf/ (REJAF School & MofGender, Child and Social Welfare - Implementing Partners)
http://www.handicap-international.us (Potential Implementing Partner)
https://www.notimpossiblelabs.com (Potential Implementing Partner)
https://www.cmaidafrica.org (Potential Implementing Partner)
View more

Attachments (4)

SITUATION-ANALYSIS-OF-MINE_ERW-JUBA-2017.pdf

A September 2016 Report by Handicap International by Forcier Consulting: SITUATION ANALYSIS OF MINE/ERW SURVIVORS AND OTHER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES - JUBA, CENTRAL EQUATORIA, SOUTH!SUDAN

South Sudan: People with Disabilities, Older People Face Danger | Human Rights Watch.pdf

May 31, 2017- An article released by Human Rights Watch yesterday shows just how desperate the situation is for South Sudan’s disabled population: South Sudan: People with Disabilities, Older People Face Danger

!We Can! Wellness Center_ User_Experience Map.pdf

The WeCan! Candidate Experience Map

SeeingHandsNorCalGrantProp07.18.15.pdf

This is a grant proposal for the Northern California Peace Corps Association for Seeing Hands Massage, just to give you an idea of how long I’ve been working with them.

55 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Kelly
Team

This project is coming at a time when the needs of people with disabilities are being recognized with the completion of the South Sudan National Disability and Inclusion Policy. Reducing stigma and promoting inclusion in livelihoods is an important step in meeting these needs and fulfilling the inclusive requirements laid out in this policy. Handicap International is pleased to see this initiative and will be happy to offer advice on inclusive services and economic empowerment as needed.

Photo of BobAchgill
Team

Hello Virginia Williams,

Will the free His Hands Reader mother tongue literacy videos with local hand sign support help with empowering the Deaf in South Sudan with literacy skills?

Getting deaf children to schools for the Deaf in a rural society is problematic in a resource limited economy.

The His Hands Reader mother tongue literacy app(s) will help to increase inclusion for Deaf in Mainstream society as Hearing children learn hand signs as they too learn to read.

  The HHR app has a 1742 video hand sign dictionary subtitled in three languages: local mother tongue, local business language and English. Also, video reading primers with word by word hand sign assist. The app runs on the lowest cost smart phones in Africa. Every home and school conveniently becomes an extension for MLE (Multi-lingual-education) education for disabled and their Hearing siblings which serves to foster inclusion.

Connect with me via LinkedIn at the link below. Volunteers have already added Ethiopian hand signs and Amharic.... And volunteers are working on adding languages in Kenya.

Here is more ~~~

Imagine a time when every Hearing and Deaf child can learn to read from the smart phone in their village...hearing and seeing their mother tongue and hand sign on the app?

The time is now!

Do you know someone who would like to volunteer to add their mother tongue or hand signs to the free His Hands Reader literacy system?

The Www.HisHandsReader.org mother tongue literacy videos with hand sign assist opens a path for total inclusion of deaf children among hearing. As hearing children use the mother tongue literacy videos with hand sign assist they naturally learn the means to communicate with deaf playmates.

And don't over look that the Www.HisHandsReader.org mother tongue literacy videos help Hearing children in the Multi lingual Education classroom.

It takes only 30 hours to add your mother tongue. Here are the instructions to volunteer...
http://www.hishandsreader.org/add-my-language-odk-collect.html

Here is an example of the result of volunteers in Jordan who added their local business and mother tongue languages and local hand signs...
http://www.hishandsreader.org/1jo-jos-arb-ajp.html

Thanks!

Bob Achgill
BobAchgill@hotmail.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/bob-achgill-122a609

Www.HisHandsReader.org
Helping Deaf and Hearing learn to read so they can read His Word

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here is a little more detail...

Would you like to volunteer to add your hand signs or mother tongue to Www.HisHandsReader.org??

These are the ONLY qualifications needed to add your Mother Tongue language or hand signs to the Www.HisHandsReader.org :
1) Native speaker of your mother tongue or hand signs.
2) Read and write your mother tongue (not needed for adding hand signs)
3) Know English well enough to translate the 1742 basic Words to your MT or hand signs
4) Access to Android phone to use the HHR app to add your language. (1.5GB RAM, 3 GB free space)
5) total 30 hours to add your text with voice or video your hand signs.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Bob,

Thanks so much for sharing this application and its potential for use within our project in South Sudan. We will contact you further in the event our project gets greenlit. Only 3 more days of waiting! : ) We appreciate all the work you do on behalf of the disabled and hope to have an opportunity to work with you soon. -- Virginia

Photo of BobAchgill
Team

I look forward to hearing from you!

BobAchgill@hotmail.com

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thank you Mary and NotImpossible Labs for offering their expertise in making this Wellness Center happen! What’s so exciting about what they do is they train local persons to use locally sourced materials to create products people need, like solar-powered cell phone chargers, and even prosthetic limbs. Their Build: Not Impossible project and Prosthetic in a Box are piloting now in South Sudan's Unity state in an IDP camp. Very excited about this development and potential opportunity to work with them! If you haven’t checked out Not Impossible’s work, they are pretty darn inspiring! http://www.notimpossible.com ❤️

Photo of Mary O'Reilly
Team

We at NotImpossible Labs hope to partner on a facet of WeCan! Through our “Build: Not Impossible” and "Prosthetic-in-a-Box" projects, we hope to find ways to work together providing vocation skills training and for those who need it most.

Photo of Malte
Team

Evidence from Light for the World’s programme in South Sudan and other key agencies have consistently shown that the crisis has hit vulnerable groups including persons with disabilities the hardest. So there is great demand and scope for Projects regarding rehabilitation, livelihood and inclusive education. LFTW will be happy to give advice to We can! Wellness Centre whenever needed.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Many thanks for your support Malte, and for taking the time to discuss ways we might complement and enhance the work Light of the World is doing in both services and livelihoods for persons with disabilities should we get the green light to develop this idea!

Photo of Kat Holmes
Team

I'm excited to see how this project evolves. In particular, the focus on human abilities is at the heart of what makes this project important. Creating meaningful employment opportunities for people of all abilities, and addressing cultural stigmas of disabilities, and necessary steps towards a more humane society. As you grow this program in South Sudan please SHARE what you learning as far and wide as you can. Countries around the world will have a lot to learn from the progress you make.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thank you so much Kat, we will most certainly document and share each step as well as plan to improve as we go, should we have an opportunity to be one of the winners. Was lovely to meet you at SF Design Week’s “Designing for Social Impact!” Readers, here’s a shout out of appreciation for Kat’s work-- she is a leader in the inclusive design “movement” and now Founder of KATA + @designdotco. She was Previously Inclusive Design Director @Microsoft,and currently writing a book on the topic for @MITPress, coming 2018!

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thank you so much Debra for your expressed support and willingness to take part in the We Can! Wellness Center project. The compassionate work and sustained commitment of the organization you founded, Christian Mission Aid, is unparalleled in South Sudan, and we are truly honored and thrilled that you have chosen to be a partner. It is our greatest hope that the project will come alive and be a model that may be sustained and scaled-up throughout the country. Blessings! Virginia

Photo of Debbie Kitchel
Team

From Debra Kitchel, CEO Christian Mission Aid, based in Nairobi Kenya
Thank you  Virginia for the great conversation and taking the time to share  the hopes and vision of the We Can! Wellness Center project, to reach out and improve the lives of the people living with disabilities in South Sudan. I commend you and your team for the heart and the compassion you have for this forgotten peoples group.  Christian Mission Aid has worked and continued a presence in the Upper Nile and Jonglie States of South Sudan since 1993, implementing health care services, nutrition programs, eye care services and surgeries, rehabilitation for the blind, peace programs, initiating  livelihoods and food security projects. We presently maintain and office and a team in Juba.  CMA is well aware of the needs of the disability in South Sudan and is willing to assist and partner with We Can! Wellness Center  with the proposed life changing project which will restore the hope, dignity and bring sustainable livelihoods to   this most vulnerable forgotten peoples group, the disabled.  Thank you Virginia for the great job you are doing and for the heart you have for these deserving and wonderful people, giving them an opportunity to improve their lives.  Debra Kitchel,  

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

And now, Caroline’s poem from the speech below:

Poem:

If you see women and girls with disabilities

Around the world

What can they do to help women with disabilities around the world?

Because the women and girls with disabilities living in refugee camps are suffering and where is the support and education for women and girls with disabilities?
Thank you Charlotte for your gracious introduction. It is an honor to be introduced by a leader who fights for the inclusion of women with disabilities around the world.

I was born in Sudan. But I spent my childhood in a refugee camp in Uganda. Both of my parents were killed in the war before my 7th birthday. My seven teenage sisters and brothers cared for me. We were all trying to survive in a very harsh environment.

My childhood was “normal.” Abductions in the refugee camp were normal. Losing family members was normal. Waking up hungry and seeing if your neighbors could give you something to eat was normal.

I became deaf when I was five years old because I was hungry. I wanted to eat a mango. When I got to the mango tree, some ammunition exploded. After that, I could not speak or hear. I was in pain and bleeding in my ears. But there was no medication to save my hearing.

Becoming deaf stopped my education for two years. Everyone thought educating the deaf was a waste of time.

It is difficult being young deaf woman. It is especially difficult to be a deaf refugee girl. There is a no information. There are no sign language interpretation services. In many cases, there is parental neglect. Many girls with disabilities are abused. A lot of them get pregnant outside of marriage. Most deaf girls and women do not complete high school. The only jobs we can get are cleaning offices and doing domestic work.

But I was fortunate. After two years, I started school again. When I was 16 years old, I founded the Southern Sudan Deaf Development Concern with a group of deaf friends. We provide services for the deaf community. We advocate for deaf rights.

We lobbied Parliament until they finally agreed to put civil rights for people with disabilities in the Constitution. I also represent the women of South Sudan for Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

Inclusion is a very important right for women and girls like me. People forget the needs of women with disabilities. The poorest are women with disabilities. The least educated are women with disabilities. These are the things that need correction.

Now that my country, South Sudan, is independent, we are free at last. What is missing is the belief in the abilities of persons with disabilities. We must stand up for our rights. The next generation of women and girls needs to be seen first as people and second as persons with disabilities.

In the future, my goal is to become a lawyer. I will use my education to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities across all of Africa. I want show others that having a disability does not end your life.

I want to thank the Women’s Refugee Commission for this distinguished award. The work that they do to help refugees with disabilities fight for their rights and use their voices to stand up for inclusion is critical to the future of women everywhere, like me.

I dedicate this award to the women and girls with disabilities in South Sudan, who have the capacity to influence the development of our new country. My dream is to become the first female Member of Parliament in Africa who is deaf.

May God bless us all as He shows us the way. We will never give up. Thank you.

Now I will read you my poem.
Poem:

If you see women and girls with disabilities

Around the world

What can they do to help women with disabilities around the world?

Because the women and girls with disabilities living in refugee camps are suffering and where is the support and education for women and girls with disabilities?

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Caroline Atim, Honoree of WRC “Voices of Courage” Award:

Thank you Charlotte for your gracious introduction. It is an honor to be introduced by a leader who fights for the inclusion of women with disabilities around the world.

I was born in Sudan. But I spent my childhood in a refugee camp in Uganda. Both of my parents were killed in the war before my 7th birthday. My seven teenage sisters and brothers cared for me. We were all trying to survive in a very harsh environment.

My childhood was “normal.” Abductions in the refugee camp were normal. Losing family members was normal. Waking up hungry and seeing if your neighbors could give you something to eat was normal.

I became deaf when I was five years old because I was hungry. I wanted to eat a mango. When I got to the mango tree, some ammunition exploded. After that, I could not speak or hear. I was in pain and bleeding in my ears. But there was no medication to save my hearing.

Becoming deaf stopped my education for two years. Everyone thought educating the deaf was a waste of time.

It is difficult being young deaf woman. It is especially difficult to be a deaf refugee girl. There is a no information. There are no sign language interpretation services. In many cases, there is parental neglect. Many girls with disabilities are abused. A lot of them get pregnant outside of marriage. Most deaf girls and women do not complete high school. The only jobs we can get are cleaning offices and doing domestic work.

But I was fortunate. After two years, I started school again. When I was 16 years old, I founded the Southern Sudan Deaf Development Concern with a group of deaf friends. We provide services for the deaf community. We advocate for deaf rights.

We lobbied Parliament until they finally agreed to put civil rights for people with disabilities in the Constitution. I also represent the women of South Sudan for Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

Inclusion is a very important right for women and girls like me. People forget the needs of women with disabilities. The poorest are women with disabilities. The least educated are women with disabilities. These are the things that need correction.

Now that my country, South Sudan, is independent, we are free at last. What is missing is the belief in the abilities of persons with disabilities. We must stand up for our rights. The next generation of women and girls needs to be seen first as people and second as persons with disabilities.

In the future, my goal is to become a lawyer. I will use my education to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities across all of Africa. I want show others that having a disability does not end your life.

I want to thank the Women’s Refugee Commission for this distinguished award. The work that they do to help refugees with disabilities fight for their rights and use their voices to stand up for inclusion is critical to the future of women everywhere, like me.

I dedicate this award to the women and girls with disabilities in South Sudan, who have the capacity to influence the development of our new country. My dream is to become the first female Member of Parliament in Africa who is deaf.

May God bless us all as He shows us the way. We will never give up. Thank you.

Now I will read you my poem.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hello IDEOers!

Update on our progress, we are speaking with several organizations whom we hope will be posting their commitment to support in various ways (monitoring, implementing partners) shortly. One person who I want to share has voiced her support is Atim Caroline Ogwang, the Executive Director of the Women with Disabilities Network of South Sudan. Her story is powerful and inspiring. Here is the speech she gave when honored by the Women’s Refugee Commission as a “Voice of Courage” (above, in two parts).

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

James Pitia, the manager of Seeing Hands massage center, wanted to share the feedback he collected from the disabled people’s network in Juba. They recently had a meeting to discuss the idea and the potential components. Here is his email directly. Thank you James for organizing this!

hai Verginia,

how are you doing?
yes, i and disable people organization had a meeting yesaterday
concerninyoproject.
the D.P.OS Selected three areas which they consider the important and
they are below;

1. a cafe open to the public where disable can earn living.
2. transportation services to pick up employees at their homes and
will be manege by disable themselves.
3. interfaith services where there will be counciling for disable
people should be council.

best regard,
James Pitia,

thanks.
tdisabi

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hello OpenIDEO community!

I wanted to share the feedback from the Storytelling Office Hour call we attended with the IDEO team in the “Improve” phase. Questions are from Scott Shigeoka, IDEO Community Designer and Storyteller, with my responses following.

We’d love to hear any additional feedback/comments/questions from the community. We’ve been very inspired by all the great ideas in the challenge community!

On Jun 2, 2017, at 9:33 AM, Scott Shigeoka <sshigeoka@ideo.com> wrote:

Hi Virginia,

Thanks for joining us! Here's some feedback for your sentence:

Original Description: The We Can! Wellness Center is a place where people of all disabilities can find belonging, a viable income, and better health for themselves and their families.

Scott’s feedback:
The sentence makes it clear that this is a physical location.
Q: Is it a “one-stop shop” kind of spot where all needs can be met? Or is it focused on something in particular?
A: Yes to “one-stop shop,” and I would not say all needs, but 3 key needs are served: income generation (through massage center, working in cafe, and crafts shop) emotional health and belonging (see below) (interfaith counseling, R&R center/peer support) and physical (physician & prostetic referrals/eye & ear exams)
Q: In the idea description it sounds like there’s a lot of facets to the center (cafe, nursery, craft shop, transport services, etc.) Will they all be a part of the wellness center? How do you envision this rolling out?
A: The roll-out would initially start with a Training of Trainers (TOT) of admin on JAWS accessible software and consist of for the first stage: 1) Seeing Hands & 2) the transport service, as these are income generating activities that will fuel the later elements, and there is already a high existing demand by the public for both.
Q: Are all of these services serving needs that were expressed in design research?
A: Yes, they were. I’ve been advocating for Seeing Hands and worked with the SSDisabilities Netowork since 2015 and all of these elements were huge obstacles for full participation, particularly for women. In addition to the feedback from the disabled themselves, we have had input from multiple DPOs local and international that we should include a mobile element, and have included a potential mobile element element that can be brought into IDP camps. I also added some interesting research that’s been done with the disabled in South Sudan in the last 2 years— very alarming and stresses the urgency of the need.
Q: What does “find belonging” mean? Social events? Mentoring sessions? Connections? Matching?
A: Speaking with both the disabled and experts on the ground, the disabled in South Sudan are typically isolated and marginalized, and sadly abused much more than the general population. Peer Support along with income generation is key to their self esteem and mental health. All your suggestions are excellent —That peer support would take many forms and this would also include the training/mentoring, social outings, similar to work-place team building or a community center. The Women With Disabilities Network President Caroline Atim ,is an advisor to us as well as Anthony Eriko, teacher and former Dean of the Rejaf Educational Center for the Blind and Deaf.
Q: I like in your sentence on the platform you have “gain skills” because it tells me that there's training involved with the Center. Helps provide more clarity.
A: Yes I will make that more clear, there will be a training and classes both vocationally and in signing, braille and general literacy.
Q: I wonder about the phrase “viable income” — will everyone understand what that means? I think what you’re getting here is helping people get paid a wage that’s fair and supports their wellbeing?
A: Yes, should I use a simpler word? I ran out of words for the sentence, and viable fit! : ) I have worked in livelihood generation in the past with the Women’s Refugee Commission, specifically for IDP/Refugee cam—anyway viable in this context would be a living wage.
Q: I’m curious about what “better health” means specifically.
A: Good point, maybe too vague, I think well-being is closer, as it really means physiological.
Q: Specifying that it’s in South Sudan seems important to me.
A: Yes, duly noted. It is technically a pilot to serve those disabled in Juba and the surrounding area.

Thank you!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Virginia Williams and Team,

We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the Amplify team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.
 
-It’s exciting that there is a centre already in place - and that aid workers have created clear demand for what they have to offer.
-This is a novel job creation idea.
-Your team is evidently close to the community you are seeking to support, including the existing staff at Seeing Hands.
-It would be important to explore the business model / sustainability, especially as it relates to the humanitarian situation in South Sudan.
-How does this innovation stand in the South Sudanese context? Would this centre be the first of it's kind?
-Do hearing impaired and speech impaired people in the community want to work here? Were the members of Seeing Hands engaged in developing this idea? How have you analysed the needs/wants/hopes/dreams of the PWD in the community? We’d love to learn more along these lines.
-How transferable are the skills disabled people are trained in?
-How will having disabled staff at your centre reduce stigma in the local community - as opposed to just the customers?
-How will you know if your idea is working? Or (to put another way), what does success look like?
-The proposal uploaded seems to be for adaptive technology equipment - does this link into the proposed work of this challenge?
 
In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: http://ideo.to/DXld5g Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 4 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.
 
Have questions? Email us at amplify@ideo.org
 
Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hello Open IDEO team! Thank you so much for your thoughtful and pertinent questions. We will be addressing them throughout this improve phase, and will be using every minute of the time up until June 4! You will find them within the text of the document in coming days. Best, Virginia

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hello IDEO Amplify Team,

I decided that it would be better to address your questions directly, as well as in the context of the idea, to make sure that no question is left unanswered. I also have more characters to use! The answers are in CAPS to make it easier to read, not because I am shouting. : )

It’s exciting that there is a centre already in place - and that aid workers have created clear demand for what they have to offer.
-This is a novel job creation idea. THANK YOU. WE ALSO WANT TO POINT OUT THAT EACH PERSON COMING TO WE CAN! WILL HAVE AN INDIVIDUALIZED JOB TRAINING & SKILL BUILDING PLAN, BOTH FOR SPECIFIC JOBS LIKE MASSAGE THERAPIST AND RESTAURANT SERVER, AS WELL AS COMMUNICATION (LITERACY/SIGNING/BRAILLE) & ADMIN/COMPUTER TRAINING ON JAWS OR SIMILAR ACCESSIBLE SOFTWARE.
-Your team is evidently close to the community you are seeking to support, including the existing staff at Seeing Hands. YES, BOTH COURTNEY & I ARE VERY CLOSE TO THE SEEING HANDS STAFF AND WE ALSO HAVE GOOD AND EXPERIENCED LOCAL CONTACTS WHO ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT PARTICIPATING.
-It would be important to explore the business model / sustainability, especially as it relates to the humanitarian situation in South Sudan. YES, AGREED. AT THE MOMENT SECURITY IS VERY TIGHT SO WE ARE DISCUSSING WITH ORGANIZATIONS WITH HIGH CAPACITY AND STAYING POWER, LIKE HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL AND THE SS CHRISTIAN MISSION TO ACT AS IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS. THEY ARE EXTREMELY ENTHUSIASTIC AND HAVE EXISTING TIES TO THE MINISTRIES OF HEALTH & GENDER, SOCIAL AND CHILD WELFARE --A CRUCIAL PARTNER IN ANY ENDEAVOR OF THIS NATURE IN SOUTH SUDAN.
-How does this innovation stand in the South Sudanese context? Would this centre be the first of it’s kind? YES IT MOST DEFINITELY WOULD. THE INCLUDED ARTICLE AND STUDY ON PWD IN SOUTH SUDAN PAINTS A VERY DIRE PICTURE. BUT WE ARE SURE THAT IF WE CAN GET THE JUBA PILOT UP AND RUNNING SUCCESSFULLY, WE CAN CREATE “MINI” MOBILE WE CAN! CENTERS FOR IDP CAMPS AND OTHER AREAS OF SOUTH SUDAN.
-Do hearing impaired and speech impaired people in the community want to work here? Were the members of Seeing Hands engaged in developing this idea? How have you analysed the needs/wants/hopes/dreams of the PWD in the community? We’d love to learn more along these lines. I’VE WORKED WITH THE WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES NETWORK (MEN TOO) AND TEACHERS FROM THE REJAF SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND DEAF IN JUBA. DIRECTORS OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS REPEATEDLY EMPHASIZE THAT FINDING WORK IS OF PRIME IMPORTANCE FOR THE DISABLED. THEY WERE INVOLVED IN THE FEEDBACK PHASE, AS WELL AS THE SEEING HANDS STAFF, WHOM WE’VE ALREADY HELPED TRAIN IN THE JAWS SOFTWARE AS THIS WAS OF PRIME IMPORTANCE TO THEM, TO BE ABLE TO WRITE GRANTS. EDUCATION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY, BOTH FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR CHILDREN, SO WE HOPE TO HAVE THE CENTER CONNECTED TO THE SCHOOL (AS SEEING HANDS IS CURRENTLY) AND HAVE NURSERY WHICH WILL ENABLE DISABLED WOMEN TO WORK ON -SITE, AS WELL AS ATTEND ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES AT REJAF.
-How transferable are the skills disabled people are trained in? THEY WILL BE TRAINED IN VOCATIONAL SKILLS RELATED TO THE JOB THEY DESIRE, AS WELL AS BE OFFERED LITERACY AND/OR BRAILLE SIGNING CLASS SO THEY CAN COMMUNICATE MORE EFFECTIVELY.
-How will having disabled staff at your centre reduce stigma in the local community - as opposed to just the customers? I AM A SOCIAL BEHAVIOR CHANGE/SOCIAL MARKETING PROFESSIONAL, SO I HAVE DONE MANY PROGRAMS AND CAMPAIGNS AIMED AT REDUCING STIGMA AND POSITIVELY AFFECTING SOCIAL NORMS/PERCEPTIONS ABOUT PARTICULAR PEOPLE OR BEHAVIORS. WE ALWAYS START WITH THE LOWEST HANGING FRUIT AS FAR AS CHANGE, AND IN THIS CASE IT WILL BE SATISFIED CUSTOMERS, WHO VIA THEIR SOCIAL NETWORKS, WILL RECOMMEND THE SERVICES THAT WE CAN! PROVIDES. ALSO, THE BRIGHTLY COLORED WE CAN! TUCK TUCK TAXIS (OPERATED IN SOME CASES BY THOSE WITH LIMITED DISABILITY) , THE RADIO ADS, AND THE SMS MESSAGES (PROVIDED FREE FROM ZAIN TELECOM), ETC. WILL PROMOTE THE IDEA THAT THESE ARE CAPABLE, WORTHY PEOPLE WHO JUST HAPPEN TO HAVE A DISABILITY.
-How will you know if your idea is working? Or (to put another way), what does success look like? WE WILL HAVE TO DESIGN A COMPREHENSIVE MEL (MONITORING, EVAL&LEARNING) PLAN, WITH MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES, I.E. FOR TRAINING/CAPACITY BUILDING OBJECTIVE: X NUMBER PEOPLE TRAINED IN X SKILL, CAPABLE OF TRAINING OTHERS...
-The proposal uploaded seems to be for adaptive technology equipment - does this link into the proposed work of this challenge?YES, SEEING HANDS USES THE JAWS SCREEN READING SOFTWARE, WHICH COULD TECHNICALLY BE USED FOR LOW LITERACY ADULTS AS WELL. WE WOULD NEED TO HAVE THE INTAKE AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE, AS WELL AS THE TRANSPORTATION /SMS SOFTWARE TAILORED FOR WE CAN! EMPLOYEES AND THEY WOULD BE TRAINED ON THE USE OF THE SOFTWARE.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

FROM MY PREVIOUS WORK IN SOUTH SUDAN, I CAN ACCESS ZAIN TELECOM AND THE COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRY TO ALLOW FOR FREE TWO-WAY TEXT MESSAGING/IVR. WE WILL PROMOTE THE IDEA THAT THESE ARE CAPABLE, WORTHY PEOPLE WHO JUST HAPPEN TO HAVE A DISABILITY. WE ALSO SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET KEMBE, A NATIONAL REGGAE STAR, TO PRODUCE A SONG ABOUT WE CAN! AND HOW IT’S IMPORTANT TO TREAT THE DISABLED WITH RESPECT & CARE. HE CREATED A SONG FOR THE RESPECT & RESPOND CAMPAIGN I CREATED WITH IRC - INCLUDED IN THIS CASE STUDY: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/wFEFj

Photo of Jessica Charles
Team

Hi, Virginia. I can see your idea is generating lots of great feedback and support -- congratulations! I love the idea of income-generating activities for people with disabilities and wonder how you get these "up and running." Do you provide the individuals with micro loans to start their Seeing Hands businesses or do you incorporate them into existing Seeing Hands businesses? How do you arrange for their vocational skills training? Do you also provide them with business skills training/support? There are so many great IGA models, I'd love to hear what you've found to be most useful with this group. Thanks! ~ Jessica

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for your questions. The Seeing Hands model has already been implemented in Cambodia, and the massage training is not hard to duplicate. The business management skills will require training, as will the intake/admin process. But this is not about creating another Seeing Hands quite yet, it’s about piloting this Wellness Center (including massage therapists) in Juba and ultimately creating mobile “modules” that can be duplicated elsewhere in South Sudan and in IDP camps. These would be pared-down versions of the wellness center that would provide the disabled primarily a place for community, health care, and support.

Photo of Silma Pamela
Team

Hi, Virginia. Having worked in the disability rights community, I applaud your creative initiative for empowering  people  with disabilities in an area of the world where this is so critically needed. May your and your team's vision be implemented! -- Silma Pamela Smith

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thanks so much Silma, there is much work to be done and it will need to be effectively integrated with the existing framework, but we are confident we can do it!

Photo of Milena Marcetic
Team

Hi Virginia,
I think this a great idea and an initiative that will help many. Well done. Milena

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Virginia, thank you so much for contributing to the Challenge!

Quick clarifying question, who will be on the team implementing this project?

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Ashley,

Thanks for reading! Courtney Mather, who is an independent humanitarian consultant, would be on the implementation team-- she’s an expert in logistics and team management (currently working with MSF in South Sudan). Father Barth/Maryknoll would head up finding person at the school for the blind who would manage the day to day development and implementation. This would have to be a new/local hire specifically for this project but there is no doubt we as a team can find the right person.

Photo of Courtney Mather
Team

Hi Ashley, a quick note to let you know I'm here!

I am just back from South Sudan where I was able to see the tremendous need for "WeCan!" firsthand. It's the world's newest country, plagued by civil war since 2013. The situation is dire, particularly for individuals with disabilities. They need options for income generation as well as products and services to facilitate daily living.

As Catherine, a blind massage therapist at Seeing Hands in Juba, said recently, "Disability is not inability." We hope this project helps spread her important message.

Thank you for this opportunity, and please let us know if you have any questions!

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Ashley,

I have a few questions please as we go into this next phase. Was wondering if it’s possible to upload the User Experience map as a PDF? It will only accept an image, and it’s too large and in 5 pieces saved that way. Curious too, and I sent an email separately, should this have been part of the Feedback phase (it’s #1 on the checklist)? Somehow only a few were able to upload it. Appreciate any insight you can provide.

Photo of Florencia Zulberti
Team

Wonderful initiative and so positive and sustainable too. Congratulations!

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thanks so much Florencia!

Photo of jessica
Team

Great!!!!

Photo of Meagan
Team

Love everything about this idea and am so appreciative of people like you that create an opportunity to empower those less fortunate than ourselves. Thanks for the great work and I wish you all the best with this project!

Photo of Scot
Team

A very worthy cause. An approach that empowers people. Best of luck.

Photo of Ana María Chaurio Martínez
Team

Hi Virginia! Glad to see your motivation toward helping and empowering people in South Sudan. All the best in this inspiring project!
/Ana

Photo of Kelly Lynch
Team

The all-community aspect of this project sounds like the "tipping point" that will make it indispensable, successful AND sustainable. Good luck!!

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thanks so much Kelly,
Sustainability is essential, difficult in South Sudan, but essential.

Photo of Marie-Josée Fehling
Team

À creative and so important idea to create a place, a feeling that we belong and we can do it! You have my vote!

Photo of Koos Greeff
Team

Fantastic. Go for it

Photo of Julie
Team

This project sounds viable and is totally inspiring. A couple questions...

1. What prospective partners are you talking with about implementation?

2. You mention the expansion to serve deaf and speech impaired employees, as well as those with other disabilities. What other kinds of disabilities will you include and what kind of work could people with those disabilities do?

Thanks and I wish you luck. This sounds fantastic.

Julie

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Julie,

Thanks for your interest! To your first question, we are reaching out to a number of organizations, and don’t want to make them “public” until we have their consent, but the idea is to find an org with implementing experience on the ground, innovation in access and inclusion, and experience with all types of disabilities. So far so good, three are interested!

For the 2nd question, we want to provide as many different income opportunities as possible that will serve both the disabled and the general public. All of these services/products would utilize one digital interface that would integrate all the components and be usable by all staff for office management, payments, scheduling, etc. As far as employment choices we will want to add options in phases, but they will all be low-capital activities. We are thinking:
* cafe with free wifi and healthy snacks, sandwiches and smoothies provided for by a local organic farm (yes, there is one run by a friend of mine outside Juba!)
* a transportation fleet of 5 Tuk Tuks to transport employees as well as the general public (w/mobile marketing)
* administration and management support for day to day activities
*nursery/pre-school for employee children and disabled children with signing/braille instructors
*interfaith counseling center
*orthotics & prosthetics design, printing and fitting
*Sign, Braille and Coping Instruction (with affiliated school)
*Crafts Center and shop

It’s all a process!

Thanks so much,

Virginia

Photo of Christine
Team

Collaborating with an already existing service establishment (Seeing Hands) is a great win-win idea for establishing a more inclusive wellness center. Encouraging trade opportunities with existing business could also help with marketing and overcome monetary hurdles faced by both workers and new clientele. I was a bit unclear about the specific role of visually and speech impaired individuals with respect to income generation. Would they already be professionals in some aspect of wellness service/business operation as are the massage therapists? Or would training be an aspect of this proposal? Congratulations on your unique approach to bringing people with disabilities to the forefront and I wish you success.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Christine,

Thanks for your suggestions, and comments. Can you elaborate a bit more on the trade idea?

Yes agreed, training would absolutely be necessary for standard business skills, but ideally there would be a choice of for each person as far as job role. For instance, the payment and office management software would be accessible people with all disabilities, as would ideally any job within the center. Seeing Hands is affiliated with the Buluk Eye Center, where there are medical as well as educational services. Actually your question spurned a great idea, for us to associate the Wellness Center with the new Center for the Blind and Deaf that the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare is building as an expansion of Buluk-- the same mentioned in Courtney Mather’s article: http://mgcswss.org/directorates/directorate-social-welfare/school-blind-deaf/

Photo of Diane Haman
Team

Best of everything!

Photo of Lisa Graham Parson
Team

South Sudan is dear to me. Those of us with so much should be ready to support multiple efforts in this new country.

Photo of John Mitchell
Team

This is a lovely idea. Timiny raises an excellent point below. I wonder if there are partnerships or sponsorships to be forged with US or European schools, foundations and/or companies to help in both mgmt and training of business operations in addition to massage. Could support sustainability and transferable skills. Seeing Hands is a great name and I keep seeing a line of merch (t-shirts, etc.) as a way to promote and generate additional income. For each short sold, 1 given away. Customers go away with shirts each time. Slogans like 'seeing hands change the world' or change lives. Seeing hands build communities or countries...

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thanks John, great ideas. Seeing Hands is supported by Maryknoll, and we’re also looking for an implementing partner to build out the services, provide capacity building, and expand the idea to include those with the disabilities. We’ve approached a few very innovative organizations working for the disabled in South Sudan, so stay tuned for the result of that!

Photo of Timiny Braemer
Team

Great concept. I would recommend identifying the service or product that would provide the main and consistent stream of revenue before adding too many ancillary services/products that require capital upfront and questionable pay source.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hi Timiny,
Thanks for your input. First and foremost it will be a center by and for the disabled, but it’s clear that we need to have a revenue stream that is funded by the general public. Revenue streams that provide marketing as an integral component, such as Tuk Tuk transport (with helmets, imagine!) That say “We Can! for the driver and passenger is one of our ideas, as the employees would have safe transport to work and the Tuk Tuks would be used with the general public during the day, run by a disabled person and marketing the center with a brightly-colored cab and signature helmets.

Photo of Jondi-lee Gray
Team

This is a terrific idea.

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thanks Jondi-Lee-- any ideas on improvement/adapting would be appreciated. Do you have experience in South Sudan or in similar contexts yourself?

Photo of Nicolo&amp;#039;
Team

It's an interesting project. For having lived in Juba for a hile, I'm positively surprised by how much has been done already.
I think that if the people that have been able to do this much put the same passion and energy in the next step of the project, the holistic wellness centre could become a reality. In bocca al lupo!

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Thank you for your support Nicolo! Any ideas on how we might integrate the services with the community at large would be appreciated!

Photo of Virginia Williams
Team

Hello Fellow OpenIDEOers!
You also might be interested to read the article Courtney wrote about Seeing Hands for Massage Magazine: https://www.massagemag.com/massage-midst-south-sudans-civil-war-84010/. We welcome any additional comments, suggestions or concerns and will reply promptly!
Thank you!
Virginia