We thought we were the first to think of an accessible city – But we’re pleasantly surprised to see other people around the world are imagining a similar concept. The Guardian newspaper from the United Kingdom recently published an article on what an accessible city might look like. Check out the article which takes us on a whistle-stop tour around the globe, visiting great examples of Universal Design in very different contexts – From mapping accessible sidewalks in Seattle to an accessible sports, conference and holiday resort in Korsør, Denmark, and from accessible office facilities in Singapore to accessing the historic city of Chester in the UK.
What can we say… After a weekend of relaxation and rest, we can finally reflect on what happened over the last week. We are sitting here in the office feeling happy, inspired and grateful as we let everything sink in after a whirlwind of activity. So the big question – What did actually happen on those three rousing days at the United Nations in Vienna…
650 people travelled from 70 countries to the United Nations Offices in Vienna
A snowy UN offices in Vienna
Almost 650 people got onto planes, trains and automobiles
to make the journey from all corners of the globe to participate in this truly global conference. Those travelling from the warmer climates of Indonesia, Ecuador and Ethiopia experienced quite a drop in temperature as they were welcomed to a cold and snowy Vienna.
190 presenters gave their views across 40 sessions
A panel of experts presenting at the Zero Project Conference
Almost 200 people presented their ideas, views and projects which support persons with disabilities, across over 40 separate sessions spanning three conference rooms. In total there were 20 sessions for innovations, 8 forums discussing accessibility issues, 11 inspirational keynote speeches and 2 couch discussions.
The Zero Project anthem was presented for the first time and the Zero Project Artwork was unveiled
The Longfield Choir with the first public performance of the Zero Project Anthem
The Longfield Choir gave the inaugural performance of the Zero Project anthem at a special event at the Rotunda of the UN Offices in Vienna.
The anthem commemorates the 10th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was performed alongside the unveiling of the Zero Project artwork. The artwork, which celebrates the dignity of man, is a donation from the Essl Foundation and is on display in the rotunda, with many accessible features including a tactile board and relief images.
30 exciting projects exhibited their work
Melissa Malzkuhn of Gallaudet University presenting VL2 Storybook Creator
Throughout the duration of the conference over 30 projects from around
the world exhibited their work to conference attendees, including apps to support navigation, read-aloud menus, tactile storybooks and audio libraries for the blind and visually impaired.
75 Awards were presented
75 Awardees of the Innovative Practices and Innovative
Yuriko Oda of Wheelog collecting her award from Martin Essl
Policies 2018 received their awards from Martin Essl, founder of the Essl Foundation during a ceremony in front of over 500 experts and leaders in disability from around the world.
150,000 people were reached via Facebook
#ZeroCon18 was trending at number 2 in Austria at times during the conference.
The Zeitecht Team prepare the rooms for the live stream
During the week from 20th to 26th February 150,000 people accessed content on the Zero Project Facebook page, with 50,000 views of videos during that time and the total followers passed 4,000 for the first time!
We are excited to present you with the Zero Project Report 2018 on the topic of Accessibility. The report is the culmination of a whole year of research into accessibility-related issues, including the state of the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) around the world and innovations that help make everything more accessible for persons with disabilities.
68 Innovative Practices – The report presents the projects, programmes, products and services which made it through the long and detailed research, nomination and voting process, which help accessibility in many aspects of life, including the built environment, ICT, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and more.
15 Innovative Policies – Innovative laws, regulations and standards from the same nomination and voting process are also presented – Showing how government bodies and international standards organisations are setting the framework for an accessible environment.
37 Life Stories – The actual impact on the ground is presented through the eyes of the beneficiaries. 37 people tell their personal stories of how the Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies have made a measurable improvement on their day-to-day lives.
Social Indicators – The report gives an update on the implementation of the UN CRPD, looking specifically at accessibility-related themes. It presents the results of surveys from 126 experts from 105 countries, presented on a region basis, and with snap-shot statements from specific countries.
The conference is approaching at an incredible pace. We’re excited to announce some more speakers who will be sharing their expertise and wisdom during the three days.
Daniel Kish, World Access for the Blind
Daniel Kish has been blind since he was 1 year old. He has 2 Masters, and is the ﬁrst totally blind, certiﬁed orientation and mobility specialist. He has drawn from many disciplines to pioneer a new approach which he believes helps more blind people of any age and circumstance reach greater freedom more quickly and easily. He has authored many articles and has published his textbook on Echolocation and FlashSonar. He is an Ashoka Fellow, and has spoken in many forums including TED and Poptech.
Kish will present the FlashSonar model at 12:00 on day 1 of the conference during the Ashoka Forum on Impact Transfer models, and will give a keynote speech to open day three of the conference.
Victor Pineda, World Enabled / GAATES
Dr. Victor Pineda is an urban planner, social entrepreneur, speaker and globally recognized human rights advocate. He is also an adjunct professor and consultant on policy, planning and development. Dr. Pineda’s work focuses on urban resilience, inclusion and sustainability. He founded the Pineda Foundation / World Enabled, a global non-profit that promotes the rights of people with disabilities. He was recently appointed by President Obama to serve on the US Access Board. Dr. Pineda holds a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Pineda will not only present at two sessions (G3ICT Forum, Thursday 09:50, GAATES Forum, Thursday 15:00), but will also give a keynote speech during the award ceremony on Thursday evening).
Shelly London – Poses Family Foundation
London is a retired senior corporate executive, past Harvard fellow, NYU adjunct professor and social entrepreneur. She worked at AT&T, largely in marketing/communication, most recently as SVP, and served on American Standard Companies’ top leadership team reporting to chairman/CEO Fred Poses. She led creation of various award-winning social initiatives, such as an ethics game Quandary and Understood.org, a comprehensive digital resource for parents of children with learning & attention issues developed with 14 other nonprofits.
London will give a keynote speech as part of the closure of day one of the conference. Understood.org will also be presented during the Ashoka Forum on impact transfer models on Wednesday at 12:00 and during the parallel session on IT platforms at 12:10 on Thursday.
In two weeks’ time we’ll already be underway with the Zero Project Conference. We have over 25 panel or group sessions covering such a wide range of topics and celebrating the excellent work of the 2018 Innovative Practices and Policies. With that in mind, we bring you part 2 of our walk through of the themes we’re dealing with.
Working in an accessible student workshop in Mozambique
With so many amazing innovations taking place in the melting pots of bustling global cities, the rural areas can often be overlooked. Many innovators seek out those who find themselves cut off from the projects and services that are often taken for granted in major cities. In the South-East Sri Lankan district of Moneragala, people are benefitting from accessing more public buildings, schools, polling stations and religious sites by Uva Provincial Council. Rural communities in Nepal are seeing the benefits of disability-inclusive communities with help from the Karuna Foundation, and in Mozambique young people are enjoying training in accessible student hostels thanks to Young Africa.
The parallel session on accessible rural development takes place at 13:50 CET on Wednesday 21st February.
Orientation Map Apps
Finding accessible buildings using AXS Maps
An exciting growth area in accessibility of buildings is through the use of “trip-advisor”-style map apps which let you know which venues are accessible. And each with their own unique style! In Japan you can check for steps, accessible toilets and even acceptance of service dogs with Bmaps, or follow the GPS tracking of another user’s trail using Wheelog! In Ireland you can choose between the clear “yes”/”no” system with Access Earth or click all the way through to your accessible hotel with Mobility Mojo. And finally, in the United States, you can join a competitive AXS Mapathon to win awards while assessing whole cities!
The parallel session on orientation map apps takes place at 09:50 on Thursday 22nd February.
Finding Buddies and peers
Enjoying festivals with your “Gig Buddies”
People enjoy attending events together and there is a small group of determined projects which focus exactly on that. In the South of the UK, persons with learning disabilities and/or autism are enjoying attending events with their volunteer friends through Stay up Late’s “Gig Buddies” programme. And all across Europe, people are rocking out at concerts and festivals thanks to “Inklusion muss laut sein”.
The parallel session on Finding buddies and peers takes place at 14:40 on Thursday 22nd February.
We’re honoured to have so many people coming from all around the world to take part in #Zerocon18. We’re looking forward to seeing every single one of you! Below, we give you just some of the names that we’re privileged to welcome to the conference.
Gail Kent, European Commission
Kent is one of the most senior British officials in the European Commission in Luxembourg. She is Director of Data in one of the largest Directorate Generals (DG CONNECT – Communications Networks, Content & Technology) and was throughout 2016 the acting Deputy Director General. Her current responsibilities include both policy and programme management in the fields of Data Economy, promoting cultural heritage and removing digital barriers. Kent will present on the European Web Accessibility Directive on day 2 of the conference during the session on Standards, Manuals and Toolboxes.
Hector Minto, Microsoft
Minto is Senior Technology Evangelist (Accessibility) for global tech giant Microsoft. He has worked in the field of Assistive Technology for over 20 years, focussing on speech and physical disability and will not only give a keynote on day one, but give his views at the Corporate and Entrepreneurship Forum on the same afternoon.
Yetnebersh Nigussie, Light for the World
Nigussie is an Ethiopian lawyer working for human rights. Born in Northern Ethiopia and blind from the age of five after contracting meningitis, Nigussie has since co-founded the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development and in 2015 won the African Most Influential Women in Business and Politics Award in the category of welfare and civil society organisations. In 2017 she was also named a winner of the Right Livelihood Award, otherwise known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. Nigussie will give a keynote to close day 2 of the conference on Thursday 22nd February.
See the full list of attendees by checking out the full agenda on the Conference website. And don’t forget, you’ll be able to watch all the action from the main room which will be streamed live throughout the conference. We’ll let you know how soon!
“Parents report that our pupils do well, some even ranking first in their class.”
My name is Syarifah and I am a health cadre in the town of Tanjungsari, located in the city of Sumedang. For more than a decade I have served in Taman Posyandu, a health-post with a playgroup, witnessing how generations of toddlers have come and grown.
Like most women in our village, at first I knew only a little about child development. We believed that children would simply grow naturally. Then, during a health-post training, I joined a session about child development presented by the Suryakanti Foundation. We were taught that to thrive, children need more than just food, clothes, and sleep. We were taught about how we should foster the child’s ability through play and that we must pay attention to any sign of developmental delay, so that we can then stimulate them to catch up.
We are happy to receive reports from parents that our pupils do well. Some of them have ranked first in their class, some have excelled in sports. The important thing is that they all grew into happy, healthy, confident kids. We do this work voluntarily, but having the parents thanking us and seeing the children succeeding in school are simply heart-warming.
We hope that child development training can be held more often, particularly to train new cadres as well as to refresh our own skills. Then we can prove that although the possibilities in rural areas are limited, our village babies can learn and succeed.
Find out more about how Suryakanti Foundation is supporting infants and children at risk of disability in rural Indonesia by reading the factsheet.
We are excited and proud to bring you the Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies 2018. This year, on the topic of “Accessibility”, we bring you 68 Practices and 15 Policies from all around the world, which remove barriers for persons with disabilities. Each year it becomes harder and harder for us and our global network of experts to select the most innovative projects that help persons with disabilities. Unfortunately so many incredible projects did not make this years’ final list, owing to the staggering quality and sheer volume of nominations. It’s deeply encouraging to know that so many amazing projects are going on every single day and we are honoured to welcome these organisations to the 2018 Conference in February. Visit the Practices and Policies pages of the Zero Project website to see each project in detail.
A massive congratulations to:
Access Earth Access Israel Accessibility Organization for Afghan Disabled Action on Disability Rights and Development (ADRAD) AlManarah Library AMAC / MOOC APA TopEasy APSA & Tempe AXS Map BarrierBreak – NewzHook Beit Issie Shapiro – Friendship Park Central Bank of Ireland City of Oslo Corporacion Ciudad Accesible (CCA) CSF Global – Development Centres Department of Transport, South Africa Enable India – Namma Vaani EUKOBA Europe Without Barriers European Parliament and Euopean Commission European Union and U.S. Access Board Exceptional Lives, Inc. FENASCOL – “Centro de Relevo” FKM BKA in Aceh Fundación ONCE International Contemporary Art Biennale Fundacion Prodis Gala Promter – GalaPro Gallaudet University Government of the Emirate of Dubai HearColors Helm Inklusion muss laut sein Institute for Disabilities Research and Training International Committee of the Red Cross MoveAbility Foundation International Telecommunication Union and Wayfindr Jaipur Foot Organization – BMVSS JKJ SRL and Associazione Disabili Visivi Onlus Karuna Foundation – Inspire2Care Lazarillo Tec SPA MagikMe Mary Free Bed YMCA Microsoft Inc. – Office 365 Migdal Or Ministry of Information and Communications Technology of Colombia Mirairo Inc Bmaps Mobile & Wireless Forum – GARI Mobility Mojo Mopius – MenuSpeak Municipality of Grenoble Museum of Modern Art NOWPDP Open Doors Organization -Open Taxis Orcam MyEye ÖZIV – Barrier Check PADM – Wheelog! Pedius PIKSL Laboratories and E.ON Planet Abled Plena Inclusión, Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Asturias and the Government of the Principality of Asturias Poses Family Foundation – Understood.org Province of Ontario Salzburg Museum Saraki Foundation and USAID Scandic Hotels Société Logique South America For All Stay Up Late – Gig Buddies Sub-County of Nabbale, Uganda Suryakanti Foundation Centre Telemark’s County Council, County Governor, Road Administration and Trekking Association The Asian SignBank The Balkan Museum Access Group The Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union and ENAT The Right to Be Heard UniCredit Bank Austria UNWTO, Fundación ONCE and ISO US Department of State Uva Provincial Council, Sri Lanka Visit Flanders World Access for the Blind World Blind Union and World Intellectial Property Organization Young Africa Young Guru Academy