According to a report by the World Health Organization, 65 million people worldwide need wheelchairs to regain mobility. Many of these people are unable to afford the devices they need and current makeshift solutions are unsuitable for a variety of reasons. I am a volunteer for Intelligent Mobility International (IMI), a non-profit that seeks to address this situation by producing and distributing durable, inexpensive wheelchairs in the developing world. This thesis designs a study to gauge the impacts receiving an IMI wheelchair has on the lives of people with disabilities and their families. This measure can then be used in the future when Intelligent Mobility evaluates different program options and demonstrates to funders the positive impacts of their donations. The study involves a randomized field trial in Tamil Nadu, India. Candidates for the trial will be identified by a local grass roots organization and verified by IMI to be appropriate candidates for the wheelchair. A total of six hundred candidates will be chosen to represent a good mixture of gender, education, household size and age of the target population, and then randomly assigned to either the treatment or control group. Participants in the treatment group will receive a wheelchair at the start of the year and those in the control at the end of the year. The two groups will then be surveyed on many dimensions of their lives using both open-ended ethnographic interviews and a numerical categorical survey both at the start of the year and the end of the year to estimate the impacts of the wheelchair. The ethnographic interviews will help ensure that the participants' views are captured accurately and will permit a more realistic interpretation of the study's qualitative results. The study design also reviews current literature on disability in India, the plan for implementation of the study, the methodological concerns in the design, and the ethical considerations involved.
|Commitee:||Gunn, Giles, Royer, Heather|
|School:||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|Department:||Global and International Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 51/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Economics, International Relations, South Asian Studies|
|Keywords:||Disabilities, Randomization, Wheelchairs|
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