image of a pencil on a green background with words The Zero Project is looking for an Author/Editor

The Zero Project is looking for support from a native or an excellent English speaker to support factsheet and report writing. We are looking for a contractor who can provide authoring and editing support between October 2019 and January 2020. The ideal candidate should have experience of working on the topic of disability inclusion or accessibility and would be able to give some examples of their work. The writing will be analytic and fact-based. To see some examples of the Zero Project reporting, please see some examples in the Downloads section of the website, including the 2019 Zero Project Report.

If you are interested to offer your services for this project then please contact office@zeroproject.org with some examples of your work and tell us why you would be interested to assist. Please also tell us about your experience which would make you suitable for this role and give an indication of what rates you charge, ideally per word/page or per hour.

The amount of work is flexible and negotiable so please also give an indication of your availability across this period.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Seneit Debese of Greta and Starks poses for a photo with the Zero Project award, alongside Zero Project staff

Congratulations to #ZeroCon19 awardee and Zero Project Impact Transfer participant Greta & Starks on their new partnership with social impact investor Joachim Schoss, founder of the Scout24 group and MyHandicap.de. Having connected through the Impact Transfer programme, their goal is to make the GRETA app, which provides subtitles and audio description for accessible cinema screenings, available in 6 countries and 14 languages. You can learn more about Greta & Starks and our Zero Project Impact Transfer programme in partnership with Ashoka Austria at http://impact-transfer.org/zero/greta-starks-great-app/

The United Nations headquarters tower in New York with country flags waving in front

You may have seen our blog post a couple of weeks back about supporting the United Nations to implement their Disability Inclusion Strategy. We received lots of great feedback and interest about getting involved in the campaign – So here’s a second chance to find out what it’s all about and to get involved.

As a little reminder – The UN Secretary General António Guterres announced at the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD in June 2019 that the UN was committed to raise the standards of their performance on disability inclusion by launching a new disability inclusion strategy. Martin Essl, founder of the Essl Foundation and the Zero Project, has written a letter of support to Mr Guterres, praising this fantastic commitment and offering the support of the Essl Foundation in any way that we are able, to turn this commitment into reality. We have also forwarded Martin Essl´s letter to the Austrian Permanent Mission at the UN in New York and also ask them to support this honorable mission.

The UN needs more support to create change – so we have been inviting everyone to join in and do the same. So please go ahead and write an email to your country´s  Permanent Mission at the UN in New York, and ask them for their support as well. And share this call for action with your peers!

It has been a record-breaking nomination period. We have received more nominations than ever before! And from more countries!

We have spent the last few weeks diligently checking the nominations and the final figures have now been counted. We have received more than 469 practices, breaking the 400 mark for the first time ever and smashing the record of 372 nominations, received in 2017 on the topic of Accessibility.

The quality of the nominations and the range of countries is also very exciting, with 106 countries represented. And while there are some tough decisions to make, we are trying to think of new ways that we can support and showcase many the projects which regrettably don’t progress further in the competition.

We have now completed the initial review of the nominations and we are in the process of contacting organisations to let them know the progress of their nomination and what to expect over the next few weeks.

A huge thank you to everyone who has made a nomination. We are utterly staggered with the extraordinary range and quality of the projects and are thankful for the efforts of everyone who has nominated! A huge thanks also to those who are taking the time to help us review all the projects.

For the full details of what we received, read our nomination press release.

The United Nations headquarters tower in New York with country flags waving in front

We at the Zero Project were delighted to hear the commitment of the UN Secretary General António Guterres to raise the standards of the UN’s performance on disability inclusion. The announcement came at the Conference of State Parties in June 2019 in New York. Martin Essl, founder of the Essl Foundation and the Zero Project, has written a letter of support to Mr Guterres, praising this fantastic commitment and offering the support of the Essl Foundation in any way that we are able, to turn this commitment into reality. We will also forward Martin Essl´s letter to the Austrian Permanent Mission at the UN in New York and also ask them to support this honorable mission.

The UN needs more support to create change – so we invite everyone to join in and do the same. Write an email to your country´s  Permanent Mission at the UN in New York, and ask them for their support as well. And share this Call for Action with your peers!

Four people posing for a photo in suits with a Zero Project certificate

It has been an intense but very enjoyable few weeks as we have been receiving nominations from all around the world! For the first time we broke the 400 mark for nominations! We can give you a precise figure once we have completed reviewing everything that has come in.

The call for nominations officially closed on Sunday 23rd June, but we have still been working with many of you to finalise and update your information, before we can let you know if the project has been accepted into the competition. We hope to give more information to everyone who has nominated in the next 2 weeks. Please bear with us in the meantime and stay tuned. We’re working hard and will give you another update soon.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part already – Whether you nominated, shared the call or helped us to find some great practices. This would not have been possible without you!

A group photo of the Zero Project team in a large open room in front of a Zero Project banner

We are looking for an intern who is available part time (approximately 28 hours/week), salary: 1.100 Euro/monthly and stays with us for at least 12 months (starting summer 2019). Ideally a student or post-graduate student who is willing to join a highly motivated team with worldwide outreach who is ready to accept the challenges of a dynamic, fast developing project. Our office is located in the First District of Vienna.

Find the detailed Job advertisment here

Banner: Call for nominations closes next week! #ZeroCall20

Time is running out. There is just over one week until the nomination process for the 2020 Zero Project awards closes. Don’t miss your chance to nominate your practice or policy!

Don’t forget, we have loads of information that can help you, such as our 2020 nomination video, Q&A document and our 2020 Education Themes document.

If all else fails, please contact us directly at office@zeroproject.org.

For everyone who has started their applications, don’t forget to complete the information and press submit, or else it will not be included in the competition.

Good luck!

Lydia Shula of Mobility International USA collecting her award from Martin Essl

There is no prize money, no trophies and no red carpet. So just why should you make a nomination to the Zero Project?

Take to the stage

Modesta Nyirenda of Solar Ear presenting at the 2019 Zero Project Conference

By winning the Zero Project award, representatives of Innovative Policies and Practices are given the opportunity of presenting their models at the Zero Project Conference at the United Nations in Vienna. Each winner gets a space on stage to present to experts and leaders from all around the world to share their ideas and innovations on a truly global stage. The 2019 Zero Project Conference brought together more than 600 experts and leaders from 83 countries.

International recognition

Innovative Policies and Practices are published in the annual Zero Project report which is made available in hard copy at the Zero Project Conference and as a free accessible download from the Zero Project website. Policies and Practices are also published on the website. The report and website are used as research tools for international organisations, for example in 2018 the United Nations flagship report on Disability and Development referenced and linked directly to 50 practices and policies on the Zero Project website.

Become part of a global disability network

A very large group photo with over 100 people standing at the front of a conference room

Participants at the 2019 Zero Project Conference

All nominators, shortlisted projects and awardees have the opportunity to become part of the Zero Project network, which can lead to further opportunities. Members of the network have the chance to participate in selecting the Innovative Practices and Policies, and in doing so they get exposure to some of the latest and greatest innovations around the world.

Recognition at international events

Throughout each year the Zero Project takes part in other regional, national or global events on accessibility and inclusion such as the Conference of State Parties, the Harkin Summit and the M-Enabling Summit. This gives us further opportunity to share some projects, depending on the topics of the events.

Partnering and replication opportunities

Thess men in suits standing and talking in an open corridoor

Richard Kessler of the Kessler Foundation and Wolfgang Sobotka, President of the Austrian Parliament share some ideas with Martin Essl

Many innovators that have taken part in the conference have reported that their conversations with other participants have led to other opportunities for growth and replication. Experts and leaders come to the conference from all sectors such as business, philanthropy, and local, regional and international government. The 2019 Conference brought together representatives from Microsoft, G3ict, USAID, UNESCO, ITU, Light for the World, Lumos, European Network on Independent Living, MEPs from the European Union, plus Richard Kessler from the Kessler Foundation and Senator Tom Harkin of the Harkin Institute.

Specialised reports

From time to time the Zero Project creates additional reports, for example on sub-topics or cross-cutting topics. Some examples include the 2018 Analysis on Digital Technologies for Service Providers, produced in partnership with EASPD. This report brought together 15 innovations from the Zero Project network which showcased the power of technology to improve lives. Other examples include supplements on accessibility in a national Austrian newspaper, and the 2017 Zero Project Almanac, bringing together the innovations of the 4-year Zero Project cycle.

And if you want to find out more about any of the opportunities, just get in touch with us at office@zeroproject.org. We hope to hear from you soon!

Luis Venialbo reading braille

I finally exercised my constitutional right for a secret vote

My name is Luis Venialbo. I am 65 years old and 35 years ago I completely lost my vision when a retinitis pigmentosa was manifested in my eyes. This changed my life in Paraguay drastically, but this was not an obstacle and I decided to become a teacher for blind students. Later in my life, I graduated as a lawyer and became a leader in the disability sector. This was possible thanks to reasonable adjustments, perseverance in the face of difficulties and the support of my family, mainly that of my wife whose eyes complemented my tenacity.

Notwithstanding a wonderful relationship based of respect and love, we very often have different opinions, particularly when it comes to politics. Due to the lack of accessibility to exercise my right to vote without assistance, I always depended on her support to mark and cast the ballot. But even trusting my wife I always asked myself “will she have marked the candidate I chose?” I never had the certainty that my vote was for my preferred candidate.

In 2015, thanks to reforms implemented under the assistance of the Inclusive Elections Project, I was able to use braille ballots for the first time. I finally exercised my constitutional right for a secret vote, with the certainty of having voted for the candidate of my preference. This experience was replicated in the general elections of 2018.

Find out more about the Inclusive Elections Project in Paraguay by reading the factsheet.