Worldwide there are more than one billion persons with disabilities. Their existence is impeded by inadequate legal frameworks to protect their rights and a lack of financial and human resources to carry out their activities related to basic needs. Moreover, they also have a lack of opportunities to access information and knowledge, as well as the benefits of scientific and technological development.
The UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize rewards individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution to the inclusion of people with disabilities in society through digital solutions, resources and technologies.
Winners are assessed on their overall contribution and the prize is shared between one individual and one organisation (not specific programmes or projects) every two years. Successful applicants will usually have undertaken a series of relevant projects and programmes, developed appropriate tools or resources, and enhanced co-operation and partnerships that will contribute to their achievements.
UNESCO will publicize the prize winners and work with them to enhance and promote their continued activities in the field.
Originally established in 2002 the Prize was reviewed in 2015 and the focus broadened to include digital technologies. Previous winners include Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Bangladesh, a leading disabilities advocate who developed Bangladesh’s first Accessible Dictionary and created a network of partners dedicated to producing resources for learners with disabilities and training teachers in how to use accessible reading materials.
Tencent, China, an internet-based technologies and cultural enterprise, was recognized for its outstanding contribution to the empowerment of people with disabilities by using inclusive digital technologies to provide greatly enhanced access to information.