Abstract

In this talk, I will share our key findings from a multi-year ICT4D research on mobility aid for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Humanitarian crises hit vulnerable groups hardest, such as people with disabilities. Conflicts also increases disabilities caused by injuries or malnutrition.  When these disabilities result in the need for mobility assistive devices, navigating environmental obstacles in limited-resource settings becomes significantly difficult.

In this research project, a joint team of researchers from SUNY Korea, Arizona State University, and Hellenic Mediterranean University worked in collaboration with a partner NGO, Young Power in Social Action, implemented a 3D printer based, localized innovation in the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. The team developed and tested an alternative design for the rubber shoe of mobility aids such as crutches and canes. We found this cost-effective design to function better in challenging environments such as unprepared and unpaved surfaces, makeshift roads and bridges, and in extreme weather conditions of tropical areas. Our goal is to explore newer applications for this innovation, mostly in remote or underserved areas with marginalized population and similar challenging terrains. By co-developing similar mobility aid, we aspire to ensure crutch users more mobility and hopefully improved quality of life.

Speaker

Faheem Hussain is an interdisciplinary researcher with expertise in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Global Development, Human Displacement, and Public Policy. Faheem is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) at the College of Global Futures, Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. Faheem’s current research projects involve impact and innovation analyses of digital technologies and mobility aids for Rohingya refugees; formulation of online education and risk mitigating strategies for resettled Afghan refugees; and development of an inclusive digital afterlife ecosystem for the global south. Besides academia, he works as an ICT for Development expert with United Nations, USAID, and other key development agencies and think tanks in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and North America. 

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