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EARLY:Early Sign Language Training & Rights Education to preventing stigma & increase opportunities for the rural hearing-impaired children.

EARLY uses mobile services to reach out to deaf children (0-3 yr) & parents in rural Ghana to improve access to health care & education.

Photo of Janix Asare

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What problem does your idea solve?

Children learn language in the first 3 years of their life-the most important age. However parents in rural areas do not know the importance of sign language and formal education and are also ignorant of the rights of their deaf children. This leads to difficulty in communication, stigmatization and lack of access to formal education and health facilities. These deaf children are abandoned to just roam about doing nothing or become beggars in the streets.

Explain your idea

AWARENESS: We obtain contacts of parents of deaf children (0-3 years) from Health Centers, Maternal Care Centers and the Associations for the Deaf to contact the parents to sign up for EARLY. We also advertise through health centers, radio and community information centers to create awareness on the importance EARLY Sign Language Training and Rights Education for parents and their deaf children (0-3 years) in rural areas. To apply, become accepted and trained as an EARLY Teacher / Officer you need to locate at least two deaf children (0-3 years) in your community. REGISTRATION: An EARLY Officer / Teacher meets with the parents and their deaf children to sign them up for free by recording more information and the geographic coordinates of their residence using a Geoform (a location based form). The housing information collected using the Geoform will be used to determine the best location for the in-person sign language and rights education, locate and send the details of the nearest health centers and schools through SMS to the parents. FEEDBACK: The parents frequently receive free SMS and a follow up phone call on the time and location for Sign Language Training and rights education to prepare their wards for basic school and future endeavors. ACTION FROM OFFICIALS: Sign Language Training and Rights Education begin. PROBLEM FIXED: No communication barrier, access to healthcare and support to start attending the nearest school for the deaf.

Who benefits?

Parents in rural areas around Obuasi Municipal of Ghana learn and teach rights and sign language to their deaf children for the first three years of their children's life before enrolling their wards at School for the Deaf. This is to ease communication; formal education, prevent stigmatization and ensure access to education and health facilities for the deaf children. After age 3, the deaf children get support (learning materials, school uniform and feeding allowance) to start school.

How is your idea unique?

EARLY is different because it incorporates mobile services ( SMS and Geoform) for easy registration to collect and store the information of registered parents and their deaf children into a Geographic Information System (GIS). The GIS identifies the best location for community education and nearest school and health center. EARLY focuses on building the foundation years of the deaf children in rural areas to ensure access to education and health facilities. We apply for the Metropolitan, Municipal or District Common Fund the hearing impaired children are entitled to to also get support (learning materials, school uniform and feeding allowance) to start school after 3 years.

Tell us more about you

EARLY is Collaboration between four Staffs of the Research Utilization School for the Deaf in Obuasi and Staff of Just Commit Foundation. Just Commit Foundation is responsible for creating the SMS platform and Geoform, registration of parents and their deaf children and and Rights Education. The Research Utilization School for the Deaf is responsible for the Sign Language Training for the Parents and their deaf children as well as as schooling, vocational and technical training after age 3.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

There is little or no data on the number of home births of hearing impaired babies in rural areas and their lack of access to health facilities.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Ghana

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 a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

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 thought it necessarily that after age 3 we provide the deaf children support (learning materials, school uniform and feeding allowance) to start school as suggested by the Amplify Team. We obtain funds through application by the Association for the Deaf for the Common funds entitled to deaf children to fund the learning materials, school uniform and feeding allowance) every quarter of a year. To apply and become accepted as an EARLY Teacher you need to locate at least two deaf children (0-3 years).

Who will implement this idea?

EARLY is Collaboration between four Staffs of the Research Utilization School for the Deaf in Obuasi and Staff of Just Commit Foundation with support from the Association for the Deaf in Obuasi Municipal and government institutions such as the Ministry of Health, Health Centres, Social Welfare and the Information Service Department of the Obuasi Municipal. We involve local community leaders such as Assemblymen and women for location, sign language training and rights education.

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?

Decisions are made by the Executives of the Organization (Just Commit Foundation) with recommendation from the Board of Directors. Through EARLY Just Commit Foundation has hearing impaired persons from the Association for the Deaf, The Research Utilization School for the Deaf and Community Leaders as Board and Executive members.

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

I am attracted to Amplify because the human centered design mindset promotes flexibility, creativity, trial and believes in the imperfection and improvement of any design. Amplify gives you all the necessary tools to improve your idea to the fullest even if you don't win.

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?

1. The barrier that may face our users is transportation cost for sign language training and rights education. We hope to address this by using Geographic Information System to determine the location favorable for the parents and their children with reference to the locations of their residence. We also communicate with parents who cannot read SMS through our helplines (toll free numbers). 2. System level challenge may be delayed SMS by network providers.

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?

IMPACT: By 2022, we aim to reduce stigmatization, reduce difficulty in communication, and provide access to formal education and health facilities for 5000 hearing impaired children in Ghana through Early Sign Language Training and Rights Education. QUESTION: How do we adjust our model to maintain quality, sustainability, and replicability while adapting to cultural context in order to achieve our Vision for 2022: to measurably impact 5000 students in Ghana?

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

  • Less than 6 months

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:

  • Under $50,000 USD

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

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Photo of BobAchgill

Hello Janix Asare,

Will His Hands Reader mother tongue literacy videos with local hand sign support help your geographic problem? 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. And the app runs on the lowest cost smart phones in Africa.

Your worker can hand out the HHR app to the parents on the first visit. Then the parents can have the other Hearing siblings learn to read using the HHR mother tongue literacy app. As they learn to read they will "accidentally" learn hand signs which they can begin to teach their deaf brother/sister.

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 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 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...

Here is an example of the result of volunteers in Jordan who added their local business and mother tongue languages and local hand signs...


Bob Achgill
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

These are the ONLY qualifications needed to add your Mother Tongue language or hand signs to the :
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 Janix Asare


It's great initiative and very important for our project.
I will like to volunteer. I will contact you through mail.

Photo of BobAchgill

That will be great!

Link to me on LinkedIn

Bob Achgill

Photo of Janix Asare

I sent you a request on Linked In

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