Accessible Books Consortium

Capacity Building

Some 90% of people who are blind or visually impaired live in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization's 2014 estimate.

A key objective of our work, therefore, is to share technical skills so organizations in those countries that support persons with print disabilities - as well as the publishing industry and national government services - can build their capacity to produce, convert and distribute accessible format versions of books.

woman working on a laptop with blind colleague
An NGO in Bangladesh converts text books into audio for university students. (Photo: Young Power in Social Action).

What we are doing

Our activities include:

  • Training and assisting organizations that serve people with print disabilities to produce and distribute educational materials in accessible formats in national languages;
  • Showing organizations how to use the TIGAR service to obtain books in accessible formats that are available internationally;
  • Organizing training workshops on accessible publishing techniques for publishers and government services producing educational materials for schools;
  • Training people with print disabilities on the use of reading devices;
  • Helping establish local libraries for people with print disabilities, including a “loaning system” for reading devices;
  • Building links among government agencies, organizations serving people with print disabilities, IT developers and publishers to ensure enhanced awareness amongst all stakeholders about the production of materials in accessible formats, as well as the availability of reading devices.

Boosting the availability of school books in accessible formats

Action is required at many levels in developing and least developed countries to help produce school books in national languages in accessible formats.

Through funding received from the Government of Australia, our project in Bangladesh, for example, enabled workers from an NGO in Chittagong, Bangladesh, to go to Kolkata, India, to receive training in the latest technologies. This included training in producing audio books. Back in Bangladesh, these trainees are now using their new skills to convert into audio those books that are most needed by students at the University of Chittagong.