040_IRQ_Inclusive Education in Post War Instability_POL_Photo1

The Story of a Teacher and his Pupil with Autism

“The student even got a role in a music clip”

I participated in a training course to be a support teacher for children with disabilities in the city of Erbil. I was placed in a school and assigned to work with a child with autism. I found the behaviour of the child very challenging. Hearing about my situation, officials from the Ministry of Education came to visit our school. They spoke for a long time with me, the family, and the school leadership about the rights of this child. They also came to the classroom, gave practical advice, and promised follow-up visits and support. Realising the importance of my job, I persevered.

The student is now fully accepted in the school and making progress in the classroom. He has demonstrated a musical talent and even has a role in a music clip made to raise awareness of autism (http://bit.ly/1S41uF1). Now, even if you asked me to leave, I would do the job voluntarily.

Learn more about Iraqi-Kurdistan’s Inclusive Education Programme demonstrating that with the help of inclusive learning materials and staff training early intervention, Inclusive Education is possible within post-war instability and dire economic conditions.


4th Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards for Leaders with Disabilities

The Viscardi Center announced an official call for nominations for the 2016 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards, which recognize exemplary leaders with disabilities from around the world. Recipients will be honored during a special ceremony in New York City on December 1.

The Henry Viscardi Achievements Awards were established to commemorate the vision of the Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who himself wore prosthetic legs. As a premier disability advocate, he served as an advisor to eight presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter, and implemented groundbreaking employment and education programs for people with disabilities.

First bestowed in 2013, these international awards celebrate those in the disability community who, through the example of their professional accomplishments and advocacy efforts, are continuing Dr. Viscardi’s legacy by reshaping societal perceptions and eliminating barriers. Past recipients were individuals with a wide range of disabilities from distinguished backgrounds in academia, healthcare, government, non-profit, and corporate sectors.

The submission deadline is September 30, 2016. To submit a nomination or learn more about our selection process, please visit www.viscardicenter.org/about/hvaa.

UNESCO al Jabar

Call for UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize

The call for nominations for the 2016/2017 edition of the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is now open.

The aim of the Prize is to reward the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations that promote inclusion and the enhancement of the lives of persons with disabilities in society through the effective, innovative and inclusive application of digital solutions.

Candidates (individuals and institutions) must have distinguished themselves through outstanding activities that have contributed to the digital empowerment, as the processes whereby people are able to have more power and control over their lives, particularly in terms of greater inclusion, participation and contribution to societal development as well as enhanced life experiences.

UNESCO places special emphasis on the ways through which information and knowledge can contribute to the empowerment of persons with disabilities notably by:
•       formulating policy, advocacy, co-operation and partnerships;
•       creating and developing digital solutions, enabling environments and processes, including tools and resources; and
•       building and strengthening capacities of people to create, adapt and use digital solutions in a cost efficient and sustainable manner.

The Prize recognizes the converged nature of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and adopts a broad definition of the term digital solutions as a combination of:
•       Digital technologies: any digital informational or communication device or application, including but not restricted to mobile phones, computers, laptops, televisions, radios, satellite systems, networks, hardware, software and applications;
•       Digital resources: content and information that are accessible through digital technologies; and
•       Enabling environments and processes: standards, tools, physical, technical and online infrastructures, resources and locations.

The total amount available for the Prize biennially is USD $ 40,000, which will be distributed equally between the individual and the organizational winners. No later than on 15 September 2016, all applicants must complete the application form, either in English or French, available separately for individuals and institutions online, at: http://en.unesco.org/prizes/digital-empowerment

Nominations can be endorsed and proposed by Ministries in charge of relations with UNESCO, National Commissions for UNESCO and Non-governmental organizations having official relations with the Organization.

From accessible buildings to alternative testing methods – where are we now?

  • Data on vocational Training

    Matei Ghigiu, 3DecembrieALTfel, states that there is no official data in Romania available on vocational training.

  • Available data on public buildings

    Meera Shenoy, from India on available data on public buildings including schools and universities that that comply with the ISO 21542:2011 standards on accessibility and usability of the built environment.

  • Alternative testing methods

    Christina Ryan talking about the situation in regards to alternative testing methods in Australia.

  • Accessible learning materials

    Dan Pescod from RNIB on the availability of accessible study materials for persons with disabilities in the United Kingdom.


The Zero Project Social Indicators cover the whole range of the UN CRPD, with a special coverage of the annual topic of the Zero Project – education in 2016. Find some outstanding results regarding accessibility of buildings, alternative testing methods, data on vocational training and accessible study materials – and how you can use all the data for your individual research

No data on accessibility of buildings, 78 percent claim

78 percent reported that there is no data available on the accessibility of public buildings (including school buildings) despite the international standard ISO 21542-2011. Among the countries that have managed to have data available is India, where data on government buildings are earmarked to become accessible by 2016 in major cities in the country.

No data on vocational training existing, 74 percent say

The availability of data in regard to vocational and educational training at mainstream institutions appear to be limited. As 74 percent of respondents say that in their country there is no data on students with disabilities. Reasons for this are that the data available is often only for internal use and not for external stakeholders.

54 percent say, that alternative testing methods exist

54 percent stated that there are alternative testing methods for students with disabilities. In some countries students with special needs receive additional time to complete their exams (Armenia, Australia, Togo) while assistive devices are not so common due to the fact that professors doubt the quality of the test when these are being used.

Only 9 percent state that accessible learning materials are available

In many countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Guatemala, Pakistan, South Africa, United Kingdom) accessible learning materials are connected to an extra cost for families of persons with disabilities. Another problem is outdated material or only limited choice. Due to these facts only 9 percent state that accessible study materials exist for free for all persons with disabilities.


See all Social Indicators at: http://zeroproject.org/indicators/


ZP2017 Call for nominations

260 nominations from 77 countries submitted to Zero Project 2017

The Zero Project has completed the nomination process for Innovative Practices and Policies in the field of employment, work and vocational education and training. It has received 213 nominations for Innovative Practices and 47 for Innovative Policies from more than 70 countries in the world

Vienna/Geneva 12th July 2016: The Zero Project researches the status of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) around the world and, this year, is focusing on employment, work and vocational education and training.

The nomination process started in May 2016 and the Call for Nominations of Innovative Practices, as well as Innovative Policies, closed at the end of June. The process of carefully screening, shortlisting, voting on, and finally selecting the Innovative Practices and Policies 2017 of the Zero Project has now already begun.

The Zero Project received an astounding 260 Nominations from 77 countries. What this demonstrates is a global movement of practitioners advancing opportunities in employment, work and vocational education and training “on the ground,” supporting persons with all kinds of disabilities in all contexts.

Call for Innovative Practices: 213 Nominations

The Call for Nominations of Innovative Practices resulted in 213 nominations from 71 countries and all regions of the world: 24 were received from Africa, 34 from Asia/Pacific, 90 from Europe, 28 from the Middle East, 19 from North America, 15 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 3 from Australia.

Countries where the most Innovative Practices were nominated: Austria, home country of the Zero Project (13), Germany, United Kingdom and United States (12), Ireland and Spain (9), Canada and Israel (8), India (7), Bangladesh, Egypt, Italy, and South Africa (6).

Nominations were also received from crisis-ridden countries such as Afghanistan (4 nominations) Palestine (5 nominations), and Syria (1 nomination).

Call for Innovative Policies: 47 Nominations

The Call for Nominations of Innovative Policies resulted in 47 nominations being accepted by the Zero Project.

These Nominations for Innovative Policies came from all regions of the world:  Africa (2), Asia Pacific (11), Europe (13), Middle East (2), North America (9), and Latin America and the Caribbean (10). Countries with the most nominations for Innovative Policies were: USA (7), India (4), and Malaysia and Peru (3).

Next steps in the selection process

The Zero Project team, with the help of its partners and experts network, is currently shortlisting all nominations, based on its three criteria: Innovation, Impact and Scalability.

In September and October, the Zero Project network will be asked to vote on the shortlisted nominations as the next step in the selection process.

The overall aim is to award a total of around 50 Innovative Practices and 10 Innovative Policies at the next Zero Project Conference in February 2017 at the UN Vienna.


For further information, please contact:

Michael Fembek

Zero Project, Director                                                              

Essl Foundation, Klosterneuburg/Austria



Ingrid Heindorf

Zero Project, Head of Innovative Policies Research

World Future Council, Geneva/Switzerland



Marrakesh Treaty Enters Into Force

On June 30th, 2016 the 20th country (Canada) ratified the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, which extends the same access to literature and information for print disabled persons that non-print disabled persons already enjoy.

The treaty will enter into force in three months, on September 30th, and then millions of blind and partially sighted persons will be able to access literature and educational materials, enabling them to better participate in all aspects of their society.

To learn more about the Marrakesh Treaty as well as what you can do to encourage your government to ratify the treaty, visit the World Blind Union’s Campaign page: http://www.worldblindunion.org/ English/our-work/our-priorities/Pages/right-2-read-campaign.aspx

In 2014, the Zero Project highlighted India’s Copyright exception for accessible formats, as copyright constitutes one of the most challenging barriers in the access to information of persons with sensory impairments. Among the 50 countries with copyright exemptions, India’s approach stands out as it is inclusive and non-bureaucratic, catering to the needs of persons with disabilities living in the Global South.

Recently, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Blind Union – Asia Pacific published jointly “Our right to knowledge: Legal reviews for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities in Asia and the Pacific“. The report is intended to facilitate policy dialogue, legal reforms and community engagement in the Asia-Pacific region with respect to efforts to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty and ensure that those with disabilities can realize their rights guaranteed in international law.


European-wide online survey on Assistive Technologies

The Science and Technology Impact Assessment Panel of the European Parliament (STOA) has commissioned a foresight study on Assistive Technologies for the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, education and jobs.

As part of this study, STOA is conducting a European-wide online survey involving persons who are blind and visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, and people with autistic spectrum disorders. This survey aims to provide participants with an opportunity to share their experiences and opinions about assistive technologies with researchers and policy-makers who are engaged with framing the guidelines and regulations for these technologies. The participation of people with disabilities in this survey supports that such technologies are tailored to the needs of people who use them.

Please support this effort: Circulate the survey to the relevant member organisations, and request those organisations to distribute the questionnaire to relevant persons for completion before 31st July.

Link to the online survey questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GSMSNV6

Link to further details on the survey: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/ita/en/projects/innovation-for-inclusion/overview/

Contact person: Mr. Johann Čas, Institute for Technology Assessment, Austrian Academy of Sciences, jcas@oeaw.ac.at

AS Japan

30th June 2016, Tokyo: How to implement the CRPD? Conference

In Tokyo, the discussion went on:

In the aftermath of the 9th session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which recently took place in New York, we continued the dialogue on how to best advance implementation of the UN CRPD in Japan. DSF9060-copy-1024x704

On June 30th, more than 40 representatives of Government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), international organisations (UNDP), diplomatic corps, foundations (Nippon Foundation, Japan Foundation), development agencies (JICA), academia and the civil society (JSRPD, World Blind Union, GAATES, APAC, WNUSPDPI Japan, Inclusion International, Techbility, NexTidEvolution..) followed the invitation of Austrian Embassy in Japan and the Zero Project for an evening of exchange and networking.

It was a great chance to meet Dr. Jun Ishikawa who was recently elected as the first Japanese member of the UN CRPD Committee, and to get insights about the research of Zero Project and how the project could be of value for Japan in future. Furthermore, Shinji Sudo from the People Design Institute, presented his projects on how design can break down barriers and started a fruitful discussion about super welfare.



Among the participants were also two Innovative Policies nominators:

  •  Prof. Osamu Nagase, who nominated the revision of Japan’s Election Law in 2013 which repealed the discriminatory article that deprived people under adult guardianship of their right to vote and to stand for elections, and led to the enfranchisement of more than 136,000 persons.
  • Prof. Satoshi Kose, who nominated the Housing Mortgage Scheme for the Ageing Future that incentivises individuals and housing providers to build private dwellings that respect requirements on accessibility and usability by offering them lower interest rates. As a result housing mortgage usage related to desing for ageing increased to over 60%.

Information was also published in an article of the GAATES newsletter

AS Japan



Nominate! $250,000 Annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion

Nomination Period Opens for $250,000 Annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion

The Ruderman Family Foundation has opened the nomination period for its international Ruderman Prize in Inclusion, which awards companies and organizations operating innovative programs and services that foster the full inclusion of people with disabilities. Now in its fifth year, the Ruderman Prize shines a spotlight on the important work being done, celebrates models that can be replicated elsewhere and ensures that resources are available to allow them to continue. This year priority will be given to innovations in the fields of technology, entertainment, art & fashion, media, social businesses and advocacy. Past winners include organizations in Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Mexico, Israel, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Argentina.

  • Five individual $50,000 awards will be given, totaling $250,000
  • Nominees can be 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations or companies with an American nonprofit fiscal sponsor
  • The first stage of the application is due August 9, 2016 at 5:00 PM EST; organizations that pass the first stage will receive an email with further application instructions

Do you have a program or service worthy of the Ruderman Prize in Inclusion?

Click here to apply!