Empowering people with disabilities through mobile technologies

With the aim to find truly disruptive and innovative solutions that can empower people with disabilities to live more independently and have a more fulfilling life, d-LAB, a program of Mobile World Capital Barcelona launched its Call for Proposals. MWCB is an important public Foundation based in Barcelona (Spain) that is also responsible for the events 4YFN and the Mobile World Congress.  

The Call for Proposals aims to “Empower people with disabilities through mobile technologies” by strengthening the role played by digital and mobile technologies in the lives of these collectives.

The winners of the Call for Proposals will be provided by d-LAB with all the necessary support to pilot their solution (in Spain) in a powerful real-life setting with the aim of scaling it up.


Zero Project Report 2017 out now and available for download

The Zero Project has published its current research on employment and vocational education & training: 56 Innovative Practices and 11 Innovative Policies have been given awards as Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies of the Zero Project 2017. In addition, Zero Project Social Indicators measure the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in 120 countries, with a focus on employment (as defined in Article 27)

The Zero Project has started its second four-year research cycle and revisits employment – first covered in 2013. 260 practices and 48 policies were nominated by the Zero Project network of 3,000 experts, both with and without disabilities. Network members were also involved in evaluating, shortlisting, and voting for the most outstanding models using the criteria of innovation, impact and scalability. All Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies are now fully searchable, as is the project’s full database, using the new search algorithm on the Zero Project website – https://zeroproject.org.

The Zero Project Report also includes Social Indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD in 120 countries, using a survey that was completed by experts, both with and without disabilities, from the partner networks of DPI, World Federation of the Deaf, World Blind Union, and EASPD. The Social Indicators paint quite bleak pictures, especially when it comes to the availability of data regarding the employment of persons with disabilities. They do, however, also highlight some notable exceptions.

The Social Indicators cover, in addition, Goal 8 of the SDGs: the survey asked about the availability of data regarding employment of young people with disabilities, and about data on people living in institutions.

The Zero Project Report can be downloaded here.

Most of the award winners will be present at the Zero Project Conference 2017 to receive their awards personally. The Zero Project Conference can be viewed on a live-webstream and there are several other accessibility features. Details will be announced soon.

Contact information:
Dr. Michael Fembek
Zero Project, Director
Essl Foundation
c/o Haus der Philantropie
Schottenring 16/3
A-1010 Vienna, Austria

Download the full press release: Zero Project Report 2017 out now and available for download (English, MS Word)

Clever idea in inclusive and accessible design from Japan

The Japanese industrial standards require that the topmost part of milk cartons be indented so that people with visual impairments can distinguish it from other drinks by touch and tell whether they are getting whole milk instead of other dairy drinks. Although this is not compulsory, it seems that most manufacturers have implemented this rule.

Japan is making strong efforts on improving persons with disabilities’ life. In 2014, Japan has been awarded for an Innovative Policy 2014 on Accessibility, incentivizing individuals and housing providers to build dwellings that respect requirements on accessibility and usability by offering them lower interest rates.




1st World Conference on Supported Employment!

We are pleased to invite you to apply to the Employment for All awards 2017

The Conference, Employment for All – A Global Perspective, organized by our partner, EASPD and joined by EUSE; aims to identify and highlight different systems for inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce and providing equal opportunities for them to access gainful employment and enable them to gain a greater control over their independence in terms of employment and financial stability. Different themes related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the labour market will be discussed.

It will take place from 14th to 16th of June 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The Employment for All Award is given to Social Services/ Support Providers and Businesses or Employers who have designed and implemented effective systems for employment of people with disabilities.

Being the topic of our Zero Project Conference 2017, the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the workforce has been the focus of our work for the last months.


Check out the information about the conference,  the application process and fill out the application form before the 6th of February.


YPSA has been awarded by honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh

During a function on the occasion of the 25th International Day of Persons with Disabilities and 18th National Day of Persons with Disabilities, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina awarded Vashkar Bhattacharjee of YPSA as a successful person with disability for his outstanding contribution in disability and development, specially support to the activities of disability inclusive ICTs, making digital talking books, and making the skills and technology available for the people with disabilities. His great contribution will support to achieving the target of SDG by 2030.

Vashkar Bhattacharjee is the founder of Chittagong Computerized Braille production Centre and ICT and Resource Centre on Disability. He is also actively involved with a number of local, national and international agencies ranging from Bangladesh Visual Impaired Society to APCD Foundation in Thailand, among other activities on this issue.

The Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) has been awarded as an innovative practice by the Zero Project Conference 2016 on Education and ICT, for its accessible learning materials for students with visual impairments.


Celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On December 3, the annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities commemorates the human rights of persons with disabilities.

To celebrate this special and relevant day for the Zero Project work, there is a need to highlight the wonderful job of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), which has worked to support the political rights of men and women with disabilities, for nearly 30 years.

Since one of the topics of the Zero Project work is the Independent Living and Political Participation of persons with disabilities, we’re having a distinct interest in IFES initiatives. Recognizing that all people should have an equal opportunity to contribute their voice, IFES collaborated with disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) around the world to increase the political participation of persons with disabilities through a number of initiatives. For example, IFES organized the first regional disability rights dialogue on political participation in the Pacific Islands region; and created the first sign language lexicons in Libyan Arabic Sign Language and Moroccan Sign Language.

Click here to see more details about the initiatives of IFES.




The Zero Project shares knowledge at the Harkin Summit on Disability Employment in D.C.

From 8 to 9 December 2016 the Harkin Summit will be held in Washington, D.C. to identify and create strategies to increase the employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The Summit convenes high-level representatives and grassroots implementers from around the world—all working to increase the employment of people with disabilities by sharing knowledge and expertise.

The Zero Project team will be represented by KR Martin Essl, Founder of the Essl Foundation, its Director, Dr. Michael Fembek and its New York representative, Mr. Thomas Butcher.

At this prestigious summit, Dr Fembek will share a preview of the findings of the forthcoming Zero Project Report 2017 at the panel “What We Know About Disability Employment Around the World” held on Friday, December 9th, from 8 to 9am.

To learn more, read our press release



Panel Discussion on the European Disability and Development Week

As part of the European Disability and Development Week, our partner Light for the World Austria, together with Save the Children and the IDDC will organise a panel discussion to issue a research on “Costing Equity”: the case of financing for inclusive education, and to share experiences from the field, from Burkina Faso (LIGHT FOR THE WORLD) and from China (Save the Children). In addition, the European Commission will comment on its position with regard to inclusive education within development cooperation/in general.

Elie Bagbila, from Light for the World Burkina Faso and guest speaker at this panel will also mention the Inclusive Education project in Burkina Faso which was awarded by the Zero Project 2016.

Click on the invitation flyer to find the email address to the registration.

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Zero Project wants to remind that women with disability also suffer this sort of discrimination and violence.

As highlighted by the European Disability Forum, women and girls with disabilities are, as a matter of fact more exposed to violence than women without disabilities. In many cases, it is not made possible for them to be protected from violence or to have access to justice, because they are deprived of their legal capacity and someone else decides for them; this legal representative or ‘guardian’ could be the perpetrator of the violence.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) clearly recognises under article 6 that “women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination” and that states should take measures to address this issue.

In the process of doing so, the Austrian Ninlil organisation, one of the Innovative Practices 2016, is tackling this problem by preventing violence against women with learning difficulties or multiple disabilities. It aims to prevent bullying and fights sexual violence against women with learning difficulties by organizing seminars to work towards empowering these women.
Click here for more information about the Ninlil organisation.