Speakers Announced – #ZeroCon18

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!


A health worker sat outside teaching to a smal group of mothers

The story of Syarifah, health worker at the Suryakanti Foundation

“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.

Disability Rights Fund Opens Letter of Interest Process for Haiti and Indonesia

The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) – a grantmaking collaboration between donors and the global disability community which supports the human rights and inclusion in development of persons with disabilities – announces a letter of interest process for Disabled Persons’ Organizations in Haiti and Indonesia. Interested organizations should review the eligibility criteria on the Fund’s website. Deadline is 5th Feb 2018! Grants are available from USD5,000 to USD20,000, depending on the reach of the DPO.

The broad objective of the Fund is to support persons with disabilities around the world to build diverse movements, ensure inclusive development agendas, and achieve equal rights and opportunity for all. Through grantmaking, advocacy, and technical assistance, DRF supports Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs ) to use global rights and development frameworks, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – ensuring no one is left behind.

People with different disabilities on a boat.

#ZeroCon18 awardees part 1 – Tourism, blind orientation and justice

Last week saw the release of the #Zerocon18 awardee Innovative Policies and Practices. If you didn’t know this, where have you been!? Accessibility is the widest-ranging topic of our four-year research cycle and even for us it can be difficult to get to grips with the sheer breadth of this category. With that in mind we’re going to walk you through some of the themes over the next few weeks to give you a flavour of the topics being discussed at the conference.

People with different disabilities on a boat.

Planet Abled from India provides accessible tours and matches “buddies”

Many projects make it easier to travel and sightsee, such as Scandic Hotels who are striving to make their whole hotel chain accessible, with their own dedicated Accessibility Director and an interactive training course on accessibility for all it’s 15,000 employees. Other organisations focus on tailored accessible tours and activities such as Europe Without Barriers and South America for All who offer accessible Itineraries and accommodation, or Planet Abled from India who offer tailored activities that you can carry out with your matched ‘buddy’.
The parallel session on accessible tourism takes place at midday CET on Wednesday 21st February.

A woman with visual impairments using a blind stick and wayfindr.

The International Standard on Indoor Audio Navigation from ITU and Wayfindr

Orientation and other services for the blind
The technology available to help persons with visual impairments navigate is improving at an ever-increasing pace. You can now navigate areas independently with voice messages being read through your phone using the LVE system, or even set up your own indoor beacon navigation system using the international standard from ITU and Wayfindr.
The parallel session on accessible orientation systems for the blind takes place on Wednesday 21st February at 13:30

Sample of communication boards.

Alternative methods of communication for investigations in Israel.

A small, but determined group of people are working around the world to find innovative ways to improve people’s access to fair and equal justice. In Israel, “The Right to Justice” helps persons who cannot use speech or writing to communicate in complex investigations. And in the Spanish principality of Asturias persons with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to understand complex court verdicts by having their own copy in easy-language.

The story of Mirsad Đulbić, from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“The museum has removed all barriers for us, and has let us enjoy culture in our everyday lives.”

My name is Mirsad Đulbić, and I am retiree, local historian, and culture lover from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Average in everything, not special in anything. I do not think I know anything special about Zenica – there are a hundred people who know more than I do – but I like to share my knowledge with others. I used to do it through daily and weekly newspapers.
Not so long ago, I wasn’t able to get into many institutions and move within the city without difficulty. And I and my friends love socializing, sports, and cultural programmes. Thankfully, however, there is the Zenica City Museum. The building of this museum is fully accessible and provides all the necessary amenities. Accessibility is such that no companion assistance is required. I often go there with my friends and our spouses. The museum has removed all barriers for us, and has let us enjoy culture in our everyday lives.
The photograph shows me with the former Mayor of Zenica, who is presenting me with a thank-you card for my assistance in the preparation of a museum exhibition during the opening ceremony.

Read more about how the Balkan Museum Access Group is improving accessibility across museums in the region by reading the factsheet.


Announcing the #ZeroCon18 awardees!

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
APA TopEasy
APSA & Tempe
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
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
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
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
Open Doors Organization -Open Taxis
Orcam MyEye
ÖZIV – Barrier Check
PADM – Wheelog!
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


#ZeroCon18 awardees announced tomorrow!

Our amazing network have the patience and discipline of saints. After submitting applications back in June and going through a rigorous multi-stage analysis and voting process, they were finally told if they were successful back in October. And then their reward was to stay quiet about it for the next three months! But the wait is almost over – Tomorrow we can finally announce the awardees that we are so proud and humbled to call Zero Project Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies 2018. We cannot wait to hear more from all these incredible projects which you will be able to read about on the website from tomorrow. And if you can’t wait – Check out the picture above. How many can you guess?


One month to go! #ZeroCon18

Has it been a year already!? There is just one month to go until the 2018 Zero Project Conference and behind the scenes it is a hive of activity! There is so much to share with you over the coming weeks. We will be releasing some of the great names who will be presenting at the conference – There are some experienced favourites and also plenty of exciting new blood! We will also begin to get into depth with some of the 2018 awardee projects as we share life stories of those who are benefitting every day from these inspirational projects. Finally, we will tell you how you can follow along and not miss a moment of the action through our conference live stream and social media. Keep up to date with the latest by going to the Conference page using the hashtag across Facebook and Twitter #ZeroCon18!

Join the #AVoteForEveryVoice campaign from IFES

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) have launched a Twitter campaign to highlight the participation of women and persons with disability in political life. In December, IFES posted photos of disability advocates from around the world with statements that supported the rights of women and youth with disabilities under the hashtag  #AVoteForEveryVoice highlights. Get involved in this great campaign by visiting the IFES twitter account and view some of the inspiring pictures in the gallery.


Innovative Practices and Policies 2018 to be announced next week!

Next week we will finally be able to share with you the Zero Project Innovative Practices and Policies for 2018!

This year has been record breaking for many reasons – The highest number of nominations ever, the biggest and widest network of experts ever to vote, and the largest number of countries ever to be involved in the process. All this amazing effort from our friends, partners and our own modest team in Vienna has culminated in a list of 93 exceptional practices and policies.

We’re very excited to share these incredible, inspiring projects with you which span the length and breadth of the globe. From making it easier to get out and about in the Norwegian countryside, to accessing rehabilitation in Togo, and from hopping in a 24/7, 365 accessible taxi in the United States to planning accessible disaster evacuation strategies in Indonesia. Yes, this is indeed a tiny teaser of the projects we’re so proud to share with you, that aim to make the world just that little bit more accessible.

Stay tuned for the full list next week!