Post report: Leadership Training – Internet Governance for Persons with Disabilities in Pakistan – 26-28 December 2023

Poster with sponsor logos

The Disability Leadership Training on Internet Governance for Persons with Disabilities in Pakistan, conducted from December 26 to December 28, 2023, at the Ramada Hotel Islamabad, was a landmark event organized by Pathfinder Solutions in partnership with the Internet Society Accessibility Standing Group and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The workshop aimed to empower individuals with disabilities to become leaders in advocating for accessibility, digital rights, and fostering an inclusive Internet governance landscape. A diverse group of 20 participants, including those with visual, physical, hearing and cerebral palsy impairments, engaged in a highly interactive program covering key topics such as internet governance, key stakeholders, accessibility, privacy and cybersecurity, opportunities in Internet Governance, Pakistan’s digital ecosystem, and the role of individuals with disabilities in shaping internet governance policies.

The event took place at the accessible venue of the Ramada Hotel Islamabad, with sign language interpreters and assistants ensuring the inclusivity of all participants. The workshop’s success was attributed to seamless logistical arrangements, including travel support, accommodation, and stipends for participants from various regions.

The Chairman of PTA as the Chief Guest at the certificate award ceremony, added distinction to the event. The workshop’s findings emphasized the importance of continued efforts to empower individuals with disabilities, and recommendations include the continuation and expansion of similar training programs, forging partnerships, enhancing outreach strategies, and integrating more hands-on activities.

Read the Post Training Report (pdf)

Access for All – Unlocking the Boundless Potential of Digital Inclusion

Access for All

Unlocking the Boundless Potential of Digital Inclusion

Dr. Muhammad Shabbir

Technology, that splendid creation of the human mind, has become a ubiquitous presence in our lives, offering boundless opportunities and opening doors to uncharted territories. With a mere tap or a swift click, we can embark on a journey of knowledge, connect with people from distant corners of the world, and navigate a virtual landscape teeming with possibilities.

Yet, amidst this tapestry of technological marvels, there exists an unfortunate reality. For those with disabilities, this world of wondrous possibilities can be akin to traversing an obstacle-ridden labyrinth. The visually impaired struggle to perceive the visual splendor that saturates our screens, the hearing impaired find themselves estranged from the melodious symphonies that grace our ears, and those with impairments of various kinds often face insurmountable barriers that stifle their potential.

It is precisely in acknowledgment of these challenges that Global Accessibility Awareness Day finds its purpose. Every year, on the third Thursday of May, this day emerges as a beacon of hope, urging humanity to engage in profound introspection. Its essence lies in catalyzing conversations and igniting reflections on the dire need to make the web and technology accessible to all, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

In this rapidly evolving era, where technology permeates every facet of our existence, from communication and education to entertainment and commerce, the significance of inclusivity has never been more pressing. The accessibility of digital platforms should not be viewed as a mere luxury or an afterthought but as an inherent right for each individual, as essential as the air we breathe or the water we drink.

Consider for a moment the magnitude of the issue at hand. Imagine the frustration of a talented artist, unable to showcase their visually stunning creations to the world due to an inaccessible website. Reflect upon the isolation experienced by a brilliant mind, confined to the shadows of exclusion because they cannot access the knowledge and opportunities that lie within the digital sphere. Ponder the injustice faced by someone yearning to be heard, their voice silenced by the absence of captioning or transcripts.

The rallying cry of Global Accessibility Awareness Day calls upon us to challenge these limitations, to break down the barriers that hinder progress, and to create a world that embraces and celebrates diversity. It urges us to move beyond the realm of mere awareness and into the realm of action, for true change begins with purposeful deeds.

Fortunately, the solutions lie within our grasp. With innovative technologies and a collective commitment to inclusivity, we can pave the way towards a more accessible digital landscape. Web developers can implement standards and guidelines that prioritize accessibility, ensuring that their creations cater to the needs of all users. Designers can embrace universal design principles, crafting interfaces that transcend physical limitations and offer seamless experiences for individuals of varying abilities. And companies, both large and small, can invest in resources and training to equip their teams with the knowledge and skills necessary to build an inclusive digital future.

Beyond the realm of technology, accessibility extends to the realm of mindset. It is a call to embrace empathy and understanding, to foster a culture that recognizes the intrinsic value of each and every individual. By shifting our perspective, we can dismantle the preconceived notions that perpetuate exclusion and forge a society that champions equality and empowers every member.

As Global Accessibility Awareness Day dawns upon us once again, let us embark on this collective journey of transformation. Let us amplify the voices of those whose narratives have been muted, unravel the immense potential lying dormant in the hearts of individuals, and weave a tapestry of accessibility that embraces the tapestry of humanity itself.

This day also serves as a poignant reminder that technology should be a conduit for empowerment, not a fortress of exclusion. It calls upon developers, designers, content creators, and users alike to embark on a collective journey towards a more inclusive digital landscape—a landscape where barriers crumble, and access becomes a birthright.

Technology, in all its magnificence, must be wielded as an instrument of liberation, breaking the shackles of exclusion that hinder progress. On this day, let us embrace the spirit of empathy, recognizing that the measure of our collective greatness lies not only in our capacity to create, but also in our ability to ensure that creation reaches the hands of all. Together, we can pave the way for a future where technology truly transcends limitations.

As the digital world evolves and technology continues its relentless march, let us remember that its true essence lies not in the advancements it bestows upon us, but in its capacity to unite and uplift us all. On this Global Accessibility Awareness Day, let us pledge to build a future where no one is left behind—a future that celebrates the beauty of diversity, embraces the boundless potential of technology, and creates a symphony of inclusion that resounds through every corner of our interconnected world.

The writer is a thought leader in international relations and digital accessibility and tweets as @mshabbirphd


ISOC Board of Trustees passes resolution approving Policy on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

Today April 2 2023, at the Internet Society Board of Trustees Meeting No. 170, the board approved Resolution 2023-08 Policy on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities.

The full text of the resolution reads:

Resolution 2023-8: Policy on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization estimates that over one billion people worldwide—comprising 15% of the global population—have disabilities, with 80% of those individuals living in developing countries;
WHEREAS, the board applauds ISOC’s progress in increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities (PWDs) through its Accessibility Standing Group and its predecessors and through the inclusion of people with disabilities in an internal accessibility working group to help develop ISOC’s accessibility framework on the principle of “nothing about us without us,” ensuring that the voices of those most directly impacted by these efforts are heard and their perspectives are valued;
WHEREAS, the board recognizes that persons with disabilities transcend economic, geographic, religious and gender binaries, and face challenges in accessing the Internet and believes that ISOC’s core mission of “Internet for everyone” cannot be fulfilled until the persons with disability community may also fully benefit from the Internet;
WHEREAS, the board believes that to achieve this goal, websites and applications must be built in such a way as to enable people with disabilities to access the same information as, to engage in the same interactions as, and to enjoy the same services offered to persons without disabilities, with the same privacy, independence, and ease of use.
RESOLVED, that the board fully supports the President and CEO in taking further steps to build a culture of accessibility within ISOC and work toward eliminating barriers to participation and engagement with ISOC’s content, events, services, processes, and practices for persons with disabilities;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the President and CEO shall develop, or cause to be developed, a plan for ISOC to achieve and maintain at least AA level compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) for ISOC’s websites, applications, and content. To the extent in use, the legacy websites, applications and content would also be brought to the same standards as deemed reasonable, practical, and commensurate with the goal of benefiting the disability community. The President and CEO shall also be provided with such funds and resources as the President and CEO deems necessary to achieve such plan;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the President and CEO shall formulate, or cause to be formulated, a comprehensive accessibility operational framework and fund allocation as the President/CEO deems appropriate and in furtherance of ISOC’s progress to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the President and CEO shall provide progress reports on compliance with WCAG AA standards and the accessibility framework to the board at least quarterly until such plan is implemented, after which the President and CEO will continue to provide reports on the accessibility work at ISOC on an annual basis until further notice from the board.

Accessibility Standing Group Members Meeting – April 3 2023

Event poster

All members, and other interested parties, are invited to attend a members meeting of the Internet Society Accessibility Standing Group.

Date: Monday April 3 2023
Time: 11:00-12:30 UTC


Welcome and apologies – 2 mins

Overview of ASG 2022 report (including disability leadership training
and the draft Accessibility Framework) – 5 mins

Member questions/comments – 5 mins

Short inputs by each of the leadership team: 3 mins each = 15 mins

Planning for 2023 – Gunela – 5 mins

Discussion – 10 mins

Working with ISOC Chapters – Gunela & Vashkar – 5 mins

Discussion – 10 mins

Members’ ideas – 20 mins

Setting up sub-committees – 10 mins

Summary and next steps – 5 mins


Human captioning and IS sign interpretation will be available.


JAN 11: Community Consultation on Content Development of Disability Leadership Training In Internet Governance and Digital Rights

Community Consultation on Content Development of Disability Leadership Training In Internet Governance and Digital Rights - Event poster.

The Internet Society Accessibility Standing Group recognises the need for more disability leaders in Internet governance (IG) and digital rights. With the support of the Internet Society, the Accessibility Standing Group is developing content for an online course designed for disability advocates but also targeting IG practitioners and trainers who wish to know more about Internet accessibility for persons with disability.

This webinar of 90 minutes is an opportunity for community consultation on the content development of the course. Speakers and facilitators include persons with disability and IG practitioners and trainers from the Internet Society, IGF and ICANN communities.

DATE: Wednesday January 11 2023
TIME: 02:00-03:30 UTC *
PROGRAM: See registration link
ACCESSIBILITY: Real-time captioning and International Sign interpretation will be provided.

Please view the recording, and add your comments below.

01 Introduction – Gunela Astbrink
02 Overview of Dhaka workshop – Vashkar Bhattacharjee
03 Swaran intro – Gunela
04 Training techniques – Swaran Ravindra
05 Nirmita intro – Gunela
06 Outline of work and key questions – Nirmita Narasimhan
07 Farazaneh intro – Gunela
08 Discussion – facilitated by Farzaneh Badii
09 Summing up – Nirmita Narasimhan
10 Closing comments – Gunela Astbrink & Anju Mangal

Webinar Dec 21: Digital Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities to Achieve the Global Goals

Webinar: Digital Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities to Achieve the Global Goals

On Wednesday December 21 2022 at 09:30-10:30 BST (03:30-04:30 UTC) the Internet Society Accessibility Standing Group presents a webinar ‘Digital Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities to Achieve the Global Goals‘. This is an international webinar with a focus on accessibility in Bangladesh, in cooperation with the Bangladesh Government’s public service innovation unit (a2i).

The WHO estimates that about 15% of the global population lives with some form of disability, and among them, 80% live in low and middle-income countries. They have limited digital footprints due to the lack of internet facilities and the accessibility of the websites, apps, and digital services. Although the Bangladesh Government has set the priorities of digitizing the public services to implement the vision of Digital Bangladesh including making it more inclusive and barrier-free for all, persons with disabilities are still deprived of accessing these public services.

Nowadays, a remarkable number of private services are also provided online, and those are inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Consequently, a significant number of citizens are being deprived of digital services. Therefore, awareness should be created to promote digital inclusion for persons with disabilities, complementing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

This event will be in English. Text captions and Bangla Sign Language (BdSL) interpretation will be available.

PROGRAMME 09:30-10:30 BST (03:30-04:30 UTC)

Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i

Gunela Astbrink, Chair, Accessibility Standing Group, Internet Society
Vashkar Bhattacharjee, National Consultant – Accessibility, a2i / Country representative G3ICT / Vice Chair, Accessibility Standing Group, Internet Society

Swaran Ravindra, Academic, Fiji National University / Leader, Accessibility Standing Group, Internet Society
Azfar Adib, Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) / Member, Internet Society Bangladesh Chapter
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Van, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh
Moderator: Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i

Dr. Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, Director General, Department of Social Services (DSS)

NM Zeaul Alam PAA, Senior Secretary, Information and Communication Technology Division

Dr. Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, Project Director, a2i (Joint Secretary)




Webinar December 5: The regulatory framework for Accessibility in the EU

Around 87 million people in the EU have some form of disability. Schools or workplaces, infrastructures, products, services and information are not all accessible to them. This presentation by the Internet Society Accessibility Standing Group (ASG), marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022, will give you an overview about the conventions and directives enacted or in the offing in the EU, especially by the European Commission, in the field of ICT-Accessibility. Presenter Klaus Hoeckner will cover the main directives like the Web Accessibility Directive, but also others such as the EN 301 549 and the European Accessibility Act.

We will explain:
* What is the content?
* What is the difference between an EN and a HEN?
* What is a Mandat of the EU?
* What other regulatory items are in force within the EU?
* What could be the possible overflow to regions/countries outside the EU?
* Are their connections to Section 508 In the USA?
* Which items/policy fields are covered?

Monday 5 December 2022 13:00 CET / 12:00 UTC / 07:00 EST / 23:00 AEDT
13:00-13:40 The regulatory framework for Accessibility in the EU
13:40-14:00 Questions

Presenter: Klaus Hoeckner, Managing Director of Access Austria, has been working in this field since 2003. He is member of different working groups in European Disability Forum, European Association of Service Providers for Person with Disabilities, in Standardisation Bodies like CEN/CENELEC and ISO as well as other formal and informal groups. He was a member of the High Level Experts Group on Artificial Intelligence of the Commission and works in several national and international representation groups for People with Disabilities.

This event will have closed captioning.


Webinaire Nov 12: Les règles d’Accessibility Web pour les Développeurs

Webinaire info

L’accessibilité numérique devient un enjeu. Pour les entreprises, offrir des services accessibles est un avantage concurrentiel et surtout une démonstration d’équité sociale. Pour les États, assurer l’accessibilité aux services et contenus numériques pour l’ensemble de la population est une question d’élimination des obstacles à l’apprentissage, à l’emploi, à l’activité citoyenne, etc., mais aussi une question de justice sociale.

C’est pourquoi de plus en plus de pays adoptent des réglementations pour garantir l’accessibilité des contenus et services numériques aux personnes handicapées. En tant que développeur de solutions numériques, il est dans votre intérêt de connaître et d’appliquer les consignes d’accessibilité pour assurer une meilleure expérience utilisateur et que votre application soit accessible à tous. C’est un argument de vente clé pour vous, et une preuve de votre professionnalisme.

Grâce à ce webinaire, vous découvrirez les règles d’accessibilité et comment les mettre en œuvre dans votre application pour vous assurer que votre produit fini respecte les normes et réglementations internationales en matière d’accessibilité.

Importance de l’accessibilité web – Zakari Yama (Diapositives / video / audio / transcription)

Intervenant: Zakari Yama
Zakari YamaIngénieur IT de formation, Zakari a plus de 20ans d’expérience dans le consulting et la gestion de projets digitaux et Web qui lui ont permis de développer, entre autres, une expertise approfondie sur le volet expérience utilisateur. Zakari est également membre de la Leadership Team d’ISOC Accessibility Standing Group


Les règles d’accessibilité web et comment les implementer – Kawtar Choubari (Diapositives / video / audio / transcription)

Intervenant: Kawtar Choubari
Kawtar Choubari Kawtar est une ingénieure junior en développement logiciel et créatrice de contenu. Spécialisée dans le développement d’applications web et mobiles, Kawtar a pu utiliser ses expériences et mettre ses connaissances à profit en créant du contenu éducatif sur les réseaux sociaux et en animant des ateliers et des conférences pour les étudiants et les passionnés d’informatique.


Ce webinaire est organisé par l’ Internet Society Accessibility Standing Group en collaboration avec l’ Internet Society Niger Chapter.

Enquête post-événement:​

A11YSIG WEBINAR OCT 6 – Introduction to

header with evnt title on background of phone apps in use

You are invited to an Accessibility SIG webinar ‘Introduction to‘ on Thursday October 6 2022 at 11:00 UTC.

The free ScreenReader app, developed by Abra and available to download at, can be used to learn how to use VoiceOver and TalkBack. Initiated during a COVID lockdown to help visually impaired people to digitally learn how to use a screen reader, now it is also used to create awareness and help other target groups, such as professional developers and testers, how to use a screen reader.

PRESENTER – Paul van Workum

As an app and software builder Paul van Workum noticed that there is a lack of awareness, knowledge and tools to make apps accessible. Together with Jan Jaap de Groot he formed Abra, which helps professionals and organisations with creating accessible apps. They have initiated a knowledge platform, a reporting app to report inaccessible apps, and an app to learn how to use the screen reader.

The Dhaka Declaration on Disability Leadership in Digital Rights and Internet Governance


logosBetween 24 and 27 June 2022, the Asia Pacific School of Internet Governance (APSIG) in partnership with the Internet Society Accessibility Standing Group organized the first Disability Leadership Training Workshop in Digital Rights and Internet Governance in Dhaka, with support from local hosts Internet Society Bangladesh Chapter, plus Article 19 and the APNIC Foundation.

Invited participants from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, subsequently issued the Dhaka Declaration advocating core principles for the participation of persons with disability in Internet-related decision-making processes.

  1. The ratification and implementation of international instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Marrakesh VIP Treaty  and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (as related to persons with disability) in our region
  2. The commitment by Governments to make ICT and the digital environment in our countries accessible for persons with disability by formulating and implementing legislation and regulation in accordance with the international instruments. This includes making e-government services accessible adhering to the current version of W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This commitment should be enforced by the governments with designated trained staff as well as reasonable financial resources. Furthermore, research and development in accessible technology is to be supported for low cost availability of digital products to persons with disability.
  3. Making educational facilities and curriculum at all levels accessible through an equal delivery mechanism. Developing and delivering university courses on digital accessibility.
  4. Providing an enabling environment facilitated by accessible digital resources in the public and private sector for creating employment opportunities for people with disability.
  5. Businesses and the private sector making their online services accessible and adhering to the current version of W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  6. International donor agencies and IGOs providing accessible technologies, both hardware and software, to people with disability in their developing country programs. This includes training in the effective and safe use of the Internet.
  7. The accessibility of communication, advertisement and public messaging through the provision of alternate formats and the use of inclusive design.
  8. Internet Governance organizations welcoming people with disability to their deliberations, ensuring that their programs and communications are accessible, thereby enabling people with disability to participate proactively and productively in order to project their voices in global, regional and national Internet Governance processes.

Further activity (Capacity building roll-outs in 6 countries, tentatively during Oct 2022 – Mar 2023) is planned, wherein the leadership group from the Dhaka Workshop will work with their local communities to further engage with Internet Governance and related topics.