The Rwanda deaf community uses social media to raise awareness about sign language and deaf rights. Two organizations launched the #SignYourNameChallenge project: Media For Deaf Rwanda (M4D), and the Rwanda National Union of the Deaf
(RNUD). The Disability Rights Fund
provided funding support for the project.
The project began in 2015. M4D and RNUD reached out to various public figures and decision makers. M4D and RNUD educated them about sign language and the challenges deaf people face in accessing communication and information.
They taught participants to finger spell their names and to sign a short message about including deaf people in society. Each participant chose a message they wanted to express. Participants have expressed messages such as “deaf people can ride bikes,” or “deaf people have the right to access information”.
A video of each participant’s name and message is shared via local television, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter in Rwanda. The hashtag, #SignYourNameChallenge, is used in social media (Facebook and Twitter) to help people search for other videos responding to the same challenge.
In 2018, M4D and RNUD have started a new phase of their #SignYourNameChallenge project. When each participant finger spells their name and signs their message, they choose another person they think should do the challenge next. At the end of their video, they ask that person to do the #SignYourNameChallenge.