Innovative Practices 2013 on Employment

A scalable assistive technology initiative

The F123 Initiative leverages investments made by thousands of individuals, companies, and governments in free and open-source technologies to make internships, and consequently employment opportunities, that are available in small companies accessible to persons with disabilities.

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:A scalable assistive technology initiative
Organisation:F123 Consulting
of origin


More than 600 copies distributed to testers and users in over 20 countries. An informal survey of those who received training showed that 55% were employed, 6% were involved in practical training that was expected to lead to full-time employment, 12% were retired, and only 27% were unemployed.


The dramatically lower cost of assistive technologies made available by F123 means that persons with disabilities, their families, and small companies do not have to depend on initiatives from governments, foundations, or NGOs that today serve only a minuscule percentage of the total population of persons with disabilities. F123 offers them an opportunity to scale up their social impact.

NGOs in developing countries have traditionally used expensive assistive technologies to help a small elite obtain employment in large firms. The F123 model lets organisations help a larger number of individuals without limiting themselves to high-end job positions such as software developers. Lower cost technologies make many entry-level positions at small firms a viable alternative. Additionally, dramatically lower technology costs reduce the risk for employers willing to offer internships to promising individuals, an important benefit given the effectiveness of internships in showing companies the competitiveness of persons with disabilities.


Currently in Brazil. The idea originated in Brazil, but there is significant potential for near-future implementation in Costa Rica, Uruguay and Zambia. More is expected to be known during 2013.


Article on G3ICT Toolkit: Chapter 4, page 77-78 and 236, of “Accelerating Development Using the Web: Empowering Poor and Marginalized Populations”:

IADB page (F123 wins “A World of Solutions” award):

Global Partnership for Disability and Development talks about F123 Software: GPDD Newsletter May/June 2011

Accessed April 20, 2012.


Fernando H. F. Botelho
F123 Consulting
Rua Saldanha Marinho 989, apt. 303, Curitiba, PR 80410-151 Brazil
Phone: +55 41 9994 0046

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