Is AIN’s Commitment to Inclusion Reflected in Its Digital Accessibility?

Author: Jalasa Sapkota – Contact: Contact details
Published: 2024/02/05
Peer Reviewed: N/A – Post type: Opinion Article / Editorial
Table of Contents: SummaryMain article

Synopsis: The article explores the extent to which AIN’s initiatives align with its stated commitment to people-centred development and inclusion. The Association of International NGOs (AIN), a key player in Nepal’s development sector since its inception in 1996, has been instrumental in spearheading people-centred development programs in various regions. By examining AIN’s efforts to promote digital accessibility for people with disabilities, the article aims to stimulate constructive dialogue on the need for comprehensive inclusion in the development sector.

Main summary

The Association of International NGOs (AIN), established in 1996, plays a vital role in Nepal’s development sector and has a network dedicated to people-centred development programs in various regions. However, a critical question hangs over the organisation’s commitment to its motto of people-centred development: is disability-inclusive development included in its agenda?

As an umbrella organization, the AIN affirms its commitment to guiding and ensuring guidelines for inclusion. However, further examination raises concerns about accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities, especially when the foundation itself, the AIN website, is not user-friendly for people with disabilities.

The broader issue at hand is which concerns receive priority within the AIN’s equality and access standards. Is there a clear vision for the inclusion of people with disabilities within these standards? While the presence of a Disability Working Group within the AIN structure is commendable, the effectiveness and accessibility of the Disability Inclusion Technical Specialist requires scrutiny. Is this group really making changes for disability inclusion or is it simply a marginalized entity within the AIN structure?

Contemplation alone is insufficient in an era that demands an evidence-based defense. Prayatna Nepal, an organization dedicated to the empowerment, accessibility and inclusion of visually impaired people, conducted an eye-opening study in April 2022. The study assessed the accessibility of commonly used websites and mobile applications in Nepal, exposing significant gaps in the AIN website.

The study highlighted numerous issues affecting the accessibility of the AIN website. First, the lack of a mechanism to prevent repetitive content poses challenges for keyboard-dependent users. Navigation difficulties arise because there are not multiple ways to locate pages. The illogical order of titles and subtitles creates obstacles for screen reader users. Reference points are not provided systematically, which further complicates locating content. Additionally, inadequate color contrast ratios hinder people with low vision and color blindness, while the lack of pause/stop mechanisms in moving content affects users with various disabilities.

Additionally, discernible text is missing from crucial links and unlabeled buttons confuse screen reader users. Inappropriate error hints and no status announcements after form submission add to user confusion.

The way to follow

To set the path towards practical inclusion, the Association of International NGOs (AIN) must embark on a holistic review of its internal mechanisms and practices. Rather than viewing accessibility as a mere compliance measure, AIN can proactively engage in a co-creation process with people in the disability community. Establishing a collaborative working group, composed of both AIN staff and people with various disabilities, could provide new perspectives and first-hand knowledge of the challenges faced. This approach not only ensures representation but also fosters a culture of empathy and understanding within the organization.

AIN should consider organizing hackathons or accessibility workshops, inviting experts and advocates to actively participate in identifying and solving problems within their digital platforms. This hands-on approach can lead to innovative solutions and promote a sense of shared responsibility for creating an inclusive environment. Additionally, AIN should invest in ongoing training for its staff to improve awareness and improve competency in disability inclusion, promoting workplace culture.

The evidence is clear: AIN’s own website does not meet basic accessibility standards. This raises a fundamental question: How can an organization that champions inclusion externally be a harbinger of change when its internal mechanisms are not sufficient? For AIN to truly lead people-centered development, a thorough introspection and renewal of its inclusive practices is imperative. The time for rhetoric is over; action towards genuine inclusion is the need of the hour.

About the Author

Jalasa Sapkota is a passionate writer, researcher and disability rights activist. Her other published articles can be found at:

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Permanent link: Is AIN’s commitment to inclusion reflected in its digital accessibility?

Cite this page (APA): Jalasa Sapkota. (2024, February 5). Is the AIN’s commitment to inclusion reflected in its digital accessibility? Disabled world. Retrieved February 5, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/editorials/ain-accessibility.php

Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never intended to be a substitute for qualified professional medical care. Any third party offers or advertisements do not constitute an endorsement.

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