Keywords: India, visual impairments, digital skills, online training

Educate Yourself Easily (EYE)

Educate Yourself Easily (EYE) is a self-learning tool to enable persons with visual impairments to create a digital pathway for 21st century computer-based jobs. Users can choose from 400+ exercises to learn computer basics (editing, files etc.), Microsoft Office, accessing the internet etc. Users learn techniques to gain speed, learn to ‘see’ visual elements of documents, and to prevent errors when handling lots of data. They gain hands-on experience via job role simulations. The tool detects the action and provides instant feedback, allowing the user to take corrective action in the learning mode and evaluate their progress in test mode, without depending on a trainer. The tool also facilitates distance learning with expert trainers, who can see the learning results remotely.

About the practice at a glance
Name of OrganisationEnAble India
Type of organisationA national or international NGO
Country
of Implementation
India
Year started2015
Funding modelOur long-term strategy is to make EYE Tool available as part of the whole Microsoft package. We have plans to deploy licensing mechanisms and charge for the services provided to corporate users and organizations so that further maintenance, enhancement and sustainability of the product can be taken care of. Free at point of use for users.

IMPACT

Impact and growth 
  • 10,000 users in 15 countries with content available in more languages – Hindi, Kannada and Tamil. 
  • Users working in open labour market employment can choose from 183 skilled job roles across 27 sectors such as IT, ITES, BFSI.
  • 90% of users have improved their speed and efficiency and 80% have gained understanding of the sighted world.
  • 500+ trainers/entrepreneurs trained to use the Tool who in turn have the potential to train 5000+ visually impaired every year.
  • It is available as a server-based version where student in a training centre gets connected to the server and the trainer can track progress remotely 
  • Through the admin view we can now add content without making changes to the software. 
Target group 

Persons with Visual Impairment – School children, university students, job seekers, people seeking career growth, people who have acquired blindness across geographies and cultures. 

Trainers for Persons with Visual Impairment who can use the tool to provide practice on Computers, English and Job simulations. 

The Tool is also designed to assist volunteers, parents, peers, companies who can use this tool to support people with visual impairments. 

THEORY OF CHANGE

We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:

Target GroupActivityImpactIndicator
Reaching out to Persons with Visual Impairment (School children, College students & Jobseekers) through Networks & Alliances1. Providing a bouquetof Digital Literacycourses of differentformats & time durations under two major categories: one on one need based or in group batch.
2. Skill upgradation through training for working professionals for learning any particular concept
3.Basic Communication &employability training
4.Assessment of skills for evaluation.
5.experience jobs- throughjob simulations
Build agency by empowering Persons with Vision Impairments Active Citizens & Nation Builders through Digital EmpowermentIncrease in number of Users to 1 million in 10years across geographies specially focusing on Asian &African countries through transfer model replication.
Reaching out to Enablers (Siblings & Parents of persons with visual impairment, Volunteers, & Trainers) through Networks & Alliances.1.Orientation workshops for Siblings, Parents &Volunteers (who do not necessarily know screen reader).
2. Certification courses for Trainers thereby raising their capacities to scale the impact of services through Digital Literacy Platform.
Building support mechanism & human capital for the sector as advocates to drive the change:
1. Creating a network of 1000+ enablers (siblings, parents & volunteers) as support mechanisms.
2.Increase in the number of Trainers to 200 in the next 3-5 years.
Institutions (Partner NGOs, Schools,Colleges, Government agencies, Content publishers and Product Companies)Collaborations through Partnerships for scaling Digital Literacy platform reaching out to large number of persons with vision impairment.Building knowledge & skill capital for the sector through collaborations & Distribute the ability to solve.Increase in the number of partnerships from 50-100 various kinds of institutions at national & international level. Replication in two- three countries in the next 3 years through partnerships.

REPLICATION EXPERIENCE

We have not replicated our innovation yet, but it is a strategic priority and we have a clear idea about what to replicate, where and with which partners 

With EYE Learn platform (EYE Tool) at the centre, the #SeeAMillion Campaign has a clear plan for scaling as a Collective and under that we would also like to scale the platform through digital literacy labs imparting training to persons with visual impairment. However, we need support and mentoring to develop and sharpen our replication strategy for EYE Tool. Since the time of conception of the platform, we have kept replication in mind while designing EYE Tool, for example partner organizations being able to upload new content without making any changes in the software of the Tool, thereby facilitating the model of replication.  

We aspire to scale the impact of our services and reach the unreached by:  

  1. Accessing opportunities for additional support for replication
  2. Adopt a Theory of Change Model to unlock possibilities and map preconditions to achieve the long-term of scalability and cross border transfer.

ORGANISATIONAL CAPACITY AND STRATEGY

Capacity 

EnAble India has experience of working with the Zero Project – Impact Transfer Model for EnAble Vaani and understands its value. Therefore, we do have an idea and an overall strategy on the human and financial resources required. Currently, we are in the process of securing funds for enhancing the product (EYE Tool) taking the platform for technology development into the next level and scale across borders. 

Human Resource: 

  1. Leadership level: Mr. Moses Chowdari, the Program Director at EnAble India having an experience of 10+ years in the Disability sector, will be leading the entire program as a Champion for the #SeeAMillion Campaign. Moses builds sector talent by helping organizations develop and build leadership capacities.  He has trained over 250 trainers across the globe including countries like the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Gambia, Afghanistan and Nepal. Moses Chowdari has won NCPEDP-Mindtree Helen Keller Awards- 2018, for his contribution towards EYE Tool and other scalable solutions and the NAB Sarojini Trilok Nath Award as the ‘Best role model’. LinkedIn Profile.
  2. Strategic level:Ms. Manisha Gupta, Founder and CEO at Start Up-India (https://www.startup-india.org/) will be involved in strategic plans and development of the program. Manisha has also worked with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public for ten years as the India Country Representative and International Director for Ashoka’s youth programs. At Start Up, Manisha has also developed replication-focused scale plans for more than 50 social entrepreneurs and their organizations.
  3. International Liaison: Mr. Julian Tarbox, has a vast experience in Disability Livelihoods. Julian has already been actively involved and experienced the Impact Transfer Program in 2017-18.
  4. Project Management: Ms. Rituparna Sarangi, has an experience of working in the social development sector for around a decade, focusing on capacity building and livelihood generation for marginalized communities.  
Strategy 

The Board and Leadership team at EnAble India recognize and believe that a systemic view has to be taken in empowering persons with disability. We believe every stakeholder can equally contribute to the ecosystem development and, to support this, we have shared our manuals and learning guides through our open source platform EnAble Academy (www.enableacademy.org). EnAble India is also the Founder Member for Disability Network Alliance in Karnataka – India, a Board member at Workability Asia and Workability International and also our Founder Ms. Shanti Raghavan is a member of the Governing Council at The Skill Council of Persons with Disability.  

We have also set up a one of its kind Leadership Academy for training Disability Professionals. EnAble India has been actively harnessing the Power of Collectives to scale livelihoods of Persons with Disabilities through campaigns such as Mission1000 for Persons with Intellectual Disability, #SeeAMillion for Persons with Visual Impairment and has initiated Hear A Million for the Deaf. These developments clearly indicate that ‘Replication’ is a large part of our organizational scale strategy aiming to promote cross – pollination of ideas for building the eco system. 

As EYE Tool has years of human centred insights, we aspire to empower partners/ organizations to build on the same, addressing their local needs and thereby strengthening the power of the Collective. This will enable persons with vision impairment to build hopes and aspirations for career development, access opportunities for education and employment thereby making them Active Citizens and Nation Builders. We strongly believe this will be possible if we are able to reach out to every single person with vision impairment not only in India but around the world who has a need for Digital empowerment.  

Wider Reach: Next 5 years, we aim to grow to 1 million visually impaired users. 

Enhancing learning experience: We would like to enhance the tool to look for the learnable moments (using AI and ML) and provide necessary feedback for the user without expert intervention. 

Deepening community engagement: With the upgraded model of web-based application, we aim to track the engagement of users and have deeper analytics of the future development. 

MOTIVATION

There are approximately 285 million persons with vision impairment in the world today, and India has one of the largest populations with visual impairment70% of them live in rural India and 23% of them are in the employable age group of 20-39 years. 

With the advent of screen reader technology, Digital Literacy has been a game changer and Computers/ Smart Phones have become the ‘Eyes’ for the visually impaired. Our #SeeAMillion campaign aims to transform Persons with Vision Impairment into Active Citizens and Nation Builders through Digital empowerment. In 2019/20 the pilot of #SeeAMillion reached 3800+ people with visually impairments across 15 states, building scalable collaborations with 20+ organizations. At the centre of this Campaign will be the EYE Learn Platform via EYE Tool 

Given this background, our Motivation to apply for Impact Transfer program is to reach the unreached via: 

  • Developing a Theory of Change to demonstrate an evidence-based impact model with scale and sustainability pathways. 
  • Replication Support across borders (inter)nationally: Building the strategic routes and adaptive blueprints for wide-scale replication of the EYE Tool. 
  • Systematic Matchmaking: Building an operational model (which could be a ‘go to platform for visually impaired) for mainstreaming the tool across domains. 

We have seen the positive impact for our EnAble Vaani Model while working with the Impact Transfer through tailored support and mentorship program. With the knowledge gained, we are in the process of launching Vaani Model in Ethiopia and Mauritius and look forward to our current nomination for EYE Tool to receive similar support in mainstreaming large number of persons with vision impairment.  

What is the organisation hoping to learn from taking part in the programme? 

We intend to create a model for expansion and scaling of EYE tool by: 

  1. Addressing the key questions to validate our assumptions for EYE Learn Platform as the Future of Digital Literacy for Persons with Vision Impairment, such as:
  • What are the core components to transfer? Identify & finalise a clear defined approach & operational model comprising all core components which need implementation? 
  • Where to transfer? Identify and finalize the potential parameters for selecting geographic focus by knowing where the problem is most pressing, larger demand for the solution and availability of best local implementers.  
  • Who to transfer? Identify and finalize the criteria’s for selecting the potential partners? Define the key requirements for the type of partnership for e.g.- funders, implementers or networkers? Identify criteria’s and parameters to embed EYE Tool as part of the academic curriculum in the state government’s education programs and policies enabling its applications in schools and colleges for Persons with Vision Impairment.  
  •  How to transfer? Identify and finalize the preferred transfer models and framework for replication across boarders (inter)nationally considering key factors such as funding, resources, skills and capacities etc. 

Once we identify and finalize the potential models for transfer we would like to assess the Impact Model from the local Implementer perspective thereby making a difference to the larger ecosystem 

  1. Training and Best Practices: Learn and incorporate best practices from collaborations and multi-disciplinary networks on impact transfer model and contribute effectively as a part of the Collective under the #SeeAMillion Campaign. 
  2. Mentorship: To understand, clarify and strategize our replication model under the mentorship and guidance of experts. 
  3. Networking through Systematic Matchmaking: Connecting to the right kind of partners and potential users, empowering them to become the real Change Makers. This will enable us to amplify interactions at various platforms thereby widening the reach of our stakeholders.
  4. Visibility and additional opportunities: By pitching our model across geographies for replication and receiving opportunities from local partner organizations. 
  5. Distribute the Ability to Solve: Enabling Partners and other like-minded institutions to share the rights of uploading the content on the Tool and disseminate the training to large number of persons with visual impairments