Empowering Marginalised Groups in e-Governance

What is the project about?

 How do you design programs for kids with disabilities? Get them to help.
How do you design programs for kids with disabilities? Get them to help.

The absence of statistical and other data on the extent, nature and characteristics of disabilities in BiH is an obstacle to improving the situation of people with disabilities. There is no central registry for people with disabilities, however it is estimated that people with disabilities constitute nearly fifteen per cent of the population in South East Europe. Currently many public services are not accessible for people with disabilities.

UNDP’s Empowering Marginalised Groups in e-Governance project was developed to assist countries in the region to translate e-Accessibility obligations from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into practical actions.

This project demonstrates how Information and Communication Technologies and electronic-based public services can be advantageous to people with disabilities and can address the enduring issues of marginalisation.

What we do?

Project activities include:

  • Development of websites, portals, databases and other e-services adapted for marginalised groups and people with disabilities, allowing them to access information on relevant legislation, human rights’ mechanisms and assistive technologies, but also enabling them to create their own content;
  • Development of educational software for people with disabilities;
  • Building the ICT capacity of key institutions;
  • Advocating for the inclusion of e-Accessibility into governmental priority lists;
  • Analysis and assessment of e-Accessibility development;
  • Campaigning to give disabled people a voice.

What have we accomplished so far?

  • E-Accessibility is now a priority in the Government’s agenda for the next five years;
  • All state level government websites are in the process of being fully WCAG 2.0 compliant, or accessible for a wide range of people with disabilities and the elderly;
  • The first e-participation portal for people with disabilities was launched, granting access to all relevant legislation and information on human rights mechanisms in an easy-to-read format;
  • The first regional website for visually impaired people was created. UNDP hosts the website, provides technical assistance and supports online tutorials for the visually impaired on how to author and edit articles;
  • The first regional database of assistive technologies was created for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. People with disabilities can find out about the types of assistive technologies currently available in South East Europe and in the European Union, along with their cost. The database will be fully populated by the end of 2013;
  • The first Bosnian-language educational software was developed, tested and applied in schools for children with autism. The pilot aimed to build educational software using low-cost, high-specification software to promote computer-based learning for children with disabilities. The pilot’s success suggests it will be replicated in three other countries, including Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia;
  • 400 professionals from 247 key institutions in nine South Eastern European countries were consulted and trained in using modern technologies to improve the situation of people with disabilities and other marginalised groups;
  • The first Assessment on e-Accessibility was conducted to provide the baseline, mapping and analysis of e-Accessibility actions, and to provide recommendations vis-à-vis the EU accession process and the UNCRPD;
  • A campaign to give disabled people a voice was organised:
    - A short video of the Convention’s key points was produced in sign language;
    - A series of short films were produced featuring stories of people with disabilities, such as Nadža Suljović, the world paralympic swimming champion;
    - People with disabilities were interviewed on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities to hear about their aspirations, how they live with disability and their perspectives on the Convention;
    - Two of the videos produced were shown at the UN Enable Film Festival (UNEF) in New York in December 2012, selected among hundreds of submissions globally.

Continued action

Some of the issues that still need to be addressed are:

  1. Although plans and strategies exist at the State level for the development of the information society in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the level of e-governance services remains limited overall due to the political fragmentation of the country;
  2. At present, there is no policy in place to ensure that websites and other e-services are compliant with W3C standards and are generally e-accessible, nor has an assessment being carried out in this regard;
  3. At the moment, people with disabilities are unable to try out different, often expensive, assistive technologies before purchasing them from abroad. The suggestion that centres be established where individuals could investigate available assistive technologies and innovative tools from the region is not yet feasible under current budgetary constraints;
  4. Although much has been achieved with limited resources, many needs remain in the area of ICT for marginalised groups. There is an evident mismatch between the currently available resources and the actual needs on the ground.

Who finances it?

Donor Name Amount contributed per year
UNDP (Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund) $ 40,149
UNDP (Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund) $ 111,366
UNDP (Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund) $ 98,485

Delivery in previous fiscal year

DEC 2012 $ 111,366
DEC 2011 $ 40,149
Project Overview
Project status
Project start date
Estimated end date
Geographic Coverage
Western Balkan (for more details see Key Project Partners)
Focus Area
Social Inclusion and Democratic Governance
Project Manager
Nera Monir Divan
National Agency for Information Society of Albania, Ministry of Communication and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, e-Croatia Office, Ministry of Information Society, FYRO Macedonia, Ministry for Information Society of Moldova, Ministry for Information Society of Montenegro, Ministry of ICT of Romania, Ministry for Telecommunications and Information Society of Serbia, Ministry of Communication and Transport of UNMIK-Kosovo NGO sector, and academia. The Regional Cooperation Council, as an umbrella organisation of the e-SEE Initiative
Story related to the project
e-Access: How online tools can promote the rights of people with disabilities

The situation for people with disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina is difficult. No framework law exists to regulate the area of disability, which in practice means that people with disabilities have different rights and benefits depending on where they live.

View More
Related Video


Related Publications
Report on e - Accessibility


Best Practice Compendium