Crowd-sourced reviews on 1,000 sites across Egypt
- Enteleq app
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“Thanks to Entaleq, if I want to go to a supermarket or a café, I know beforehand if it has an elevator, a ramp, an accessible toilet, parking.” Omar Hesham, recent graduate of the Faculty of Commerce, Ain Shams University
Helm (“Dream”) is a non-profit organization based in Cairo, Egypt, that aims to promote the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. In 2015, Helm developed a mobile phone application and website called Entaleq. Both display the accessibility of over 1,000 venues across Egypt through crowd-sourced reviews; and the service is complemented by an expert consulting service for companies that wish to improve their accessibility. More than 1,000 people with disabilities are using Entaleq regularly.
There is a lack of information in Egypt on which venues support which accessibility features. While Egypt does have accessibility standards and building codes relating to accessibility they are not uniformly implemented or effectively enforced, leading to difficulty in independent movement around the city.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The Entaleq application was developed in partnership with the Vodafone Egypt Foundation as a funding partner and Microsoft as a technology partner, and is available on Android and IOS smartphones. The app allows persons with physical disabilities, hearing impairments, and visual impairments to search for venues such as shops, restaurants, and public offices that provide the accessibility features that they require. Users can request a venue to be added, after which the Helm team reviews the venue and uploads it to the app, if approved. Other Entaleq users can then provide their own reviews and comments. Since its introduction in 2015, over 1,000 people have downloaded the app and over 700 venues have been reviewed, primarily in Cairo. Entaleq is complemented by Helm Inclusive Consulting, a social enterprise working alongside Helm and created by the Helm founders. Organizations can request help of Helm experts who conduct reviews of venues and who then provide advice and a detailed accessibility report on designing more inclusive solutions. To date, over 140 venues have implemented accessibility modifications such as ramps, Braille menus, and accessible bathrooms.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Since 2015 the use of Entaleq has continue to grow and now includes sites beyond Greater Cairo, most notably in the tourist areas of Luxor and Hurghada. Helm is also planning a new update that will allow users to add venues themselves by answering a set of questions related to the accessibility of the venue. The app is financed through grants and sponsorships. However, as traffic increases the app will move towards becoming self-sustaining with income based on commercial advertising. The consultancy service is already self-sustaining by charging for its assessments and reporting. Helm has also developed policies and procedures to allow replication of the app in other cities across Egypt; and there has been international interest in the model from Australia, China, and Jordan.
THE STORY OF OMAR HESHAM, USER OF THE ENTALEQ APP
“I am not surprised by inaccessibility anymore.”
My name is Omar Hesham. I am a 24-year-old wheelchair user and a graduate of the Faculty of Commerce at Ain Shams University. For many years, the possibility of my going out, whether to go to school or simply to hang-out with family and friends in various venues, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and malls, was very limited due to the lack of accessibility in many places. So, either I had to go to the one or two places that I knew for sure were accessible or I had to have someone always with me to help when needed. All this changed in March 2016, when I received an invitation from the Helm Foundation to attend the launch event for their Entaleq application. This event was my first introduction to Helm, and thus to Entaleq, and after that I downloaded the application and started to use it. Entaleq has helped me increase my independence to move around more freely by allowing me to know the degree of accessibility of various venues and locations beforehand, instead of being surprised by their inaccessibility once I have arrived. As a result, the app helps me determine which places I can visit on my own and which ones I need help in reaching and moving about freely. Entaleq has been continuously developing and updating its services; and I am happy to know that it is spreading to other governorates, such as Luxor, not just Cairo and Giza, as this will help many more people with disabilities to go out more and lead a more independent life, just as it has enabled me.