April 23, 2017.
Based upon the prepared web accessibility guide, NFDN organized the first orientation program that was convened on 23th April, 2017 at Hardik Hotel Bagbajar, Kathmandu among 32 participants from various government authorities such as Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MOFALD), Ministry of Education (MOE), Department of Education (DOE), Ministry of Commerce (MOC), Secretariate of parliament, KMC and some other web page related consultant companies.
Beside a few exceptional instances of web pages, most of the websites are, more or less, inaccessible specially to those users living with visual and audible barriers/limitations in Nepal. Persons with disability don’t use the websites, accessible websites are expensive to design and manage are some of the myths that are prevailing in the mind of web developers and other concerned population. Consequently, they have never targeted to those people while developing the websites and uploading the various materials. Even government of Nepal, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment has incorporated nothing about the accessibility issues of the websites in its “Website Designing/Developing rules 2068”. As a result, people with visual and audible impairment along with persons with learning/developmental disability are deprived in using the official websites of different ministries and other government agencies.
Additionally, some of the people really have such enthusiasm or interest on developing and managing the web pages that are accessible to all including persons living with different types of disability. But such people are in need of technical guidance for the same. In this current, NFDN took initiation of developing a web accessibility guide targeting to website developers, content writers and website managers. It is not only useful guideline for the web developers or programmers but also a good reference to enrich The Government Websites Design/Development and Management guidelines adopted by Government of Nepal in 2068 (2012).
Picture Caption; Attendees of the orientation
The key objective of the orientation is to strengthen the knowledge and skills of web developers/programmers, website managers and technical staffs of government authorities on web accessibility or how to make accessible web pages targeting to all people including persons with disability.
The main facilitator of the event was Mr. Aayush Shrestha who was also the author of “Web Accessibility Guide” that was prepared by NFDN under the present project. Beside him, Mr. Bimal Paudel and Sagar Prasai, Program Coordinator also contributed in facilitating the orientation program. Besides that, Mr. Guru Mainali, IT department chief of MOE also took some time to share his experiences of making website accessible even targeting to persons with various forms of disability as well.
Picture Caption: Mr. Aayush Shrestha, facilitator presenting the sessions
NFDN became successful to develop “Web Accessibility Guide” in the ownership of Department of Information Technology (DOIT). The department has also been ready to revise its website development rules 2068 in close consultation with NFDN. The department is also committed to promote the prepared web accessibility guide in our various web-based activities in days to come so that persons with all forms of disability can also access to all shared information and other materials on an equal basis with others. Circulating this message to various governmental agencies, depart will officially also encourage to those authorities to use this technical guide in their own endeavors as well.
After the completion of the orientation program, we had conducted a joint meeting of facilitators’ team and LGCDP’s team to fix the action points after the orientation program at the same venue. The conduction of this meeting became also very indispensable and will certainly have wider impacts.
But for the tangible results, DOIT should work for upgrading website development/operation rules 2068 by embedding accessibility and other relevant features. NFDN should highly pressurize as well as provide the indispensable technical supports DOIT to get the tangible changes in the document with getting joint efforts of other Govt. agencies such MOWCSW, MOE, LGCDP and others. All the web development and operation related endeavors should also be controlled and supervised by DOIP for all Govt. agencies.
This is also highly important that we have to Give high priority to work closely with the technical team of LGCDP and other authorities so that all the websites of local governmental bodies throughout the nation can be accessible for all kinds of people. It is highly recommended to Ensure the action plan prepared by the team of facilitators and LGCDP is being implemented properly towards getting the expected results.