Job Post: WBU Human Rights & Advocacy Policy Analyst/Advisor

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: Monday, January 11, 2016

The World Blind Union (WBU) is a non-political, non-religious, non-governmental and non-profit-making organization, representing over 285 million blind and partially sighted persons in 190 member countries. It is the internationally recognized organization speaking on behalf of blind and partially sighted persons at the international level. Visit www.wbu.ngo

DATE: December 18, 2015

JOB TITLE: Human Rights and Advocacy Policy Analyst/Advisor

TERM: Full-time, One Year Contract with possibility for renewal

LOCATION: To be determined. Preference for location in a developing country in partnership with WBU member organization

REPORTING: The Human Rights and Advocacy Policy Analyst/Advisor reports directly to the CEO World Blind Union, with secondary day-to-day reporting to the Manager of the host partner

SUMMARY OF POSITION
The Human Rights and Advocacy Policy Analyst/Advisor will support the World Blind Union at all levels in carrying out its representation role on behalf of blind and partially sighted persons worldwide.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES entail (but not limited to):
 Analyzing and interpreting international instruments of importance to WBU and blind and partially sighted persons, including but not limited to:
 UNCRPD
 Post 2015 SDG’s
 Marrakesh Treaty
 Prevention of Blindness Action Plan
 CEDAW
 CRC
 UNOHCHR including Universal Periodic Review
 Assisting WBU at international and regional levels to develop and implement strategies and action plans regarding these instruments for the benefit of members at the grassroots level.
 Development of tools and resources to enhance member engagement and support them in their implementation strategies
 Provide Analysis and strategic advice on emerging international processes, instruments, priorities such as, for example:
 Disaster risk reduction
 Situation of refugees
 Post 2015 SDG’s
 Other emerging issues as they arise
 Provide support as expert advisor to WBU and its members on issues related to UN advocacy and representation
 Development and utilization of a variety of communications and training information, tools and resources through the utilization of technology and other methodologies to support our human rights and advocacy strategies and implementation. Such tools might include
 Website
 Webinars
 Social media channels, such as Twitter, blogs, etc.
 Training programs (harnessing technology)
 Developing a community of practice at regional level
 Liaise with other international partners as appropriate to facilitate and strengthen WBU’s representation work. In particular, these liaisons include International Disability Alliance, CBM Advocacy Coordinators, Vision Alliance members

QUALIFICATIONS: (EDUCATION, TRAINING, EXPERIENCE)
 Post-secondary education in a related field
 Experience in the areas of human rights, advocacy and disability rights
 International experience a strong asset
 Excellent written and oral communications in English essential as well as additional language ability, in particular French and/or Spanish.
 Well developed interpersonal and communications skills
 Superior analysis and writing skills
 Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office software, and social media
 Available for occasional international travel
 Personal knowledge of blindness or low vision a definite asset

SALARY RANGE: Approximately $40,000 USD, commensurate with experience

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: Monday, January 11, 2016

PLEASE SEND YOUR APPLICATION VIA EMAIL TO:

Dr. Penny Hartin
Chief Executive Officer
World Blind Union
penny.hartin@wbu.ngo

Please send cover letter and resume in MS Word format only

Updated BCA Constitution

Dear Member

At the 2015 AGM changes to the Blind Citizens Australia constitution were accepted by members.

Please find here a copy of the updated BCA Constitution 2015 (Word doc)

Keynote Address – BCA 2015 National Convention

For those who would like to listen to the audio, or read the Keynote Address presented at the 2015 Blind Citizens Australia National Convention, “BCA at 40: Where we are and how we’ve got here”, Bill Jolley has kindly made the text of the address available. To read or download a copy please go here: Text – BCA at 40 Keynote address (Word docx)

If you would like to listen to the Keynote audio, please go here: Audio – BCA at 40 Keynote address (MP3 file)
The audio file is quite large and might take a minute or so to load.

This year’s theme was “Looking Forward Looking Back” Celebrating 40 years of Blind Citizens Australia.

Event details
Date: Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 October 2015.

Venue: Mercure Perth Hotel
10 Irwin Street, Perth WA 6000
Phone: 08 9326 7000
Email Mercure Perth
Mercure Perth website

Visit the BCA 2015 National Convention webpage for further information.

Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) held its 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Perth, at the Mercure Hotel, 10 Irwin Street Perth, on Sunday 11 October 2015 at 11.00am. The AGM was held in conjunction with the 2015 BCA National Convention and was streamed live over the internet.

The agenda for the AGM can be found here BCA 2015 AGM Agenda (Word doc) and included presentation and discussion of the 2014-15 Annual Report (Word docx) and the 2014-15 Financial Statements (Word docx)as well as the announcement of the election of Directors.

The special business for the meeting was consideration of some minor changes to the BCA Constitution (details can be found here) BCA Minor Constitution Changes (Word doc)

The constitution changes were considered and accepted for adoption at the meeting.

On behalf of the Board and staff of BCA, I do hope you enjoyed this year’s National Convention and Annual General Meeting if you were able to join us or listen in to the provided audio stream. As an organisation of and for people who are blind or vision impaired, it is important that we acknowledge and support each other to enhance the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired.

Greg Madson
Company Secretary

September 2015 Edition of BC Update is Now Available

Dear Member

Please find below a link to the September 2015 edition of BC Update. Contents includes

  • From the President
  • CEO Report
  • BCA 2015 National Convention: Registrations closing soon
  • News from Women’s Branch
  • Member Consultations – What you had to say
  • Member Forums: Pedestrian Safety Summary and Findings
  • Upcoming member forums in 2015
  • Dog Guide Experiences: We want to hear from you
  • Funding

Please find your copy here: BC Update September 2015 Edition (Word doc)

For access to back issues of BC Update, and other Blind Citizens Australia publications, please go to: BCA Publications Page

Thank you

Artificial intelligence enables people who are blind to “see”

An app that allows people who are blind to identify the world directly in front of them using machine vision technology.

This short video shows the reactions of first users: Youtube clip

Media release

Artificial intelligence enables blind people to “see”

Students at Singularity University have created an app that allows blind people to identify the world directly in front of them using machine vision technology.

The app, Aipoly, is an intelligent assistant for the visually impaired that empowers them to explore and understand their surroundings through computer vision and audio-feedback.

“The power is in helping us construct the mental picture. And not everybody has the same skill at creating mental images,” says Steve Mahan, president of the Santa Clara Blind Centre and Google’s self-driving car’s first user. “Most of us are trying to do [that]. Knowing where we are is sometimes more than an address.”

The user takes a picture that is automatically uploaded to the Aipoly servers, where it is analysed and tagged, and a description is sent back and read out loud using text-to-speech. This means that blind people may be able to see what their kids are wearing each day, recognise street signs, find objects that are out of reach, and have freedom to purchase gifts for their friends by themselves.

The machine vision algorithm is optimised for use by the visually impaired with training in street signs and objects commonly used by blind people.

Machine vision, or computer vision, is an exponential technology that has more than doubled in accuracy between 2012 and 2013. Convolutional neural networks are used to identify the elements within a picture and neural image caption generation to feed back a semantic description of its content.

There are 285M visually impaired people in the world and in the next 5 years, two thirds of them will become smartphone users.

As for the bigger vision, “developing this technology further could help us identify and search for objects around our homes and outdoors like we do with websites online,” says Aipoly cofounder Alberto Rizzoli.

Singularity University was founded in 2008 by Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in blind technology having created optical character recognition (OCR) and the first text-to-speech synthesizer, with over 40 years of experience in the field.

“This complements the work that Ray Kurzweil has done,” says Aipoly cofounder and 2012 Young Australian of the Year Marita Cheng. “In every focus group, people mention a Kurzweil technology they use to get about their daily lives.”

Singularity University students learn about using exponential technologies to impact the lives of a billion people within 10 years. The Aipoly technology will be showcased at Singularity University’s Demo Day on 18 August at NASA AMES Research Park in Mountain View.

Aipoly is now looking for beta testers from around the world. Beta testers of all visual abilities (including fully sighted and blind) are sought.

Press kit, video, photos, logo, images:

Contact:
Marita Cheng
Cofounder, Aipoly
+1 (650) 695-7409
marita.cheng@singularityu.org