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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

Written by

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.

https://justcommitfoundation.wordpress.com/early/

Attachments (1)

User_Map_Activity.pdf

User Map Activity

17 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Bob Achgill
Team

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 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 Janix Asare
Team

Hi,

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

Photo of Bob Achgill
Team

That will be great!

Link to me on LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/bob-achgill-122a609

Bob Achgill

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

I sent you a request on Linked In

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

Check out our work plan

https://justcommitfoundation.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/work-plan/

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH
Team

Janix Asare  Thank you for your idea! Sign language is an essential form of communication for people who are deaf, and early language services and learning are key to development. Have you considered involving and training local community leaders in addition to training the parents? It is important for communities to be inclusive and supportive of children who are deaf and their families. Regarding community engagement, there may be some potential for shared learning with Samuel and the proposed project in Rwanda: https://challenges.openideo.com//challenge/disability-inclusion/ideas/increase-deaf-awareness-and-rwanda-sign-language-in-the-community.

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

Thanks, we will be involving and training local community leaders in addition to training the parents.

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH
Team

Wonderful!

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

Nice!

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

New updates:

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.

To apply and become accepted as an EARLY Teacher you need to locate at least two deaf children (0-3 years) in your community.

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH
Team

Thank you!

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

Welcome

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Janix Asare 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.

- We're curious to know more about the barriers that may face your user, and how you hope to address these challenges. Do you have hypotheses you want to test? For example: although there is high mobile penetration in Africa and Ghana, are there associated costs that would inhibit your intended user to access your service?
- Tell us more about the stakeholders associated with your idea! How have you integrated parents and children into the design and development of your idea? Are there insights from your feedback that you want to integrate into your process? Do you have governmental/ministry of health support? Will you provide support to the children, their families and the communities in the transition phase between age 3 and starting school? Will you work with particular schools in the community to support the teachers/staff in developing the facilities and training needed to support deaf children? Do you have further aspirations to work with the government to promote this idea in other regions? Human-centered design is all about collaborating and designing with your users.
- If you haven't already, we encourage you to explore the journey of your users! Be sure to refer to the User Experience Map as a guide (https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/5c28e26a-ba7f-44f4-859b-e82658264287.pdf)
- It's a little unclear if EARLY is app driven. Do the SMS and Geoform work together or independently? What information is contained in the SMS and what information in the Geoform? How will you then use this data?

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 Janix Asare
Team

Hi,
Thank you very much for the feedback and questions.
Here are the answers to your questions:
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 favourable 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).

There is no associated cost that would inhibit our intended user to access our service (SMS and registration is for free).

EARLY works through collaboration with stakeholders such as 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.

The parents in these rural areas we talked with are poor therefore they requested for support for their deaf children to start school after age 3 just like you mentioned.

We are working with the Research Utilization School for the Deaf in Obuasi to support the teachers/staff in developing the facilities and training needed to support deaf children.

Since the problem exists nationwide, we have further aspirations to work with the government to promote this idea in other parts of Ghana.

The SMS and Geoform work independently.
An EARLY Officer 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 an ESRI Geoform (a location based form).
The housing information collected using the Geoform will integrated into a geographic information system for suitability analysis to determine the best location for the in-person sign language and rights education, locate and send details of the nearest health centres and schools through SMS to the parents.

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 endeavours.

I uploaded the user map activity as an attachment.

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

New updates:

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.

To apply and become accepted as an EARLY Teacher you need to locate at least two deaf children (0-3 years) in your community.

Photo of Trust Mutekwa
Team

Parents and children. Much respect for starting early in any skills or concepts with the children.

Photo of Janix Asare
Team

Thanks. I Appreciate your recognition.