Two men signing the contracts.

The Innovative Practices rightly get a lot of attention for their amazing work around the world to improve the lives of persons with disabilities. They also normally make up more than three quarters of our awardees and show the incredible change that NGOs and businesses can create.

But what about the Innovative Policies? Why should policies be nominated and why are they so important?

Innovative Policies show how change can happen at a government level. They lead the way in showing what is possible locally, nationally or internationally. By sharing the best examples of policy changes in governments around the world that support people with disabilities it can inspire others to follow suit. It can also provide pressure to other governments to implement necessary and lasting change.

Each conference brings together decision makers from governments and international organisations around the world, such as local government representatives, ministries, and elected officials such as members of the European Parliament. By bringing together some of the best voices on a national stage, other countries simply have to take note.

This is why it is so important for us to be able to share the greatest laws, regulations, grants, subsidies etc. that break down barriers for persons with disabilities.

We are looking for policies that make education more inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities, including in pre-school, school systems, universities and all manner of non-formal education methods such as in museums, through the arts or in sports.

So help us to find the best policies that are creating lasting change. Tell us about them, or get in contact with your local politicians and decision-makers and encourage them to nominate their work for the recognition it deserves!

Or make a nomination yourself at

Peter Badimak Yaro receives the 2019 Zero Project award from Martin Essl

There are still two weeks left until the nomination process for the 2020 awards closes. So why bother making your application now?

Once the nomination process ends, we have very tight deadlines for each stage of the selection process. This means there is very little time for us to look at the nominations in detail before the experts begin their evaluations.

By making a nomination early, it gives us the chance to take a detailed look at your nomination and give some tips and feedback to improve your chances of being selected. We have been running the Zero Project nomination process for many years, which has given us a huge insight into what the experts are looking for. And it’s not always the project itself. In many cases the key is in the way it is written – So that experts can easily understand the project and therefore give a fair opinion of it.

Many of those who have already submitted will be well aware of our feedback, as they will have already received emails from Wilfried, Seema, Paula or me with some (hopefully) helpful hints. In many cases we open the applications again for editing to allow you to make these small changes which can lead to a big difference in the later rounds.

When it comes to the final days of the selection process, we will be receiving tens of applications each day. Last year saw more than 150 applications created in the final week. It will simply not be possible to give detailed, individualised feedback at this point. So go ahead and improve your chances by making your nomination now!

Good luck!


Her Abilities Award logo. A yellow circle with a handwritten h in the middle

Call for nominations: Her Abilities Award 2019

Light for the World are inviting organisations to submit your nominations of female change makers with disabilities for the Her Abilities Award 2019. The award was initiated in 2018 by Light for the World to honour the achievements of women with disabilities in education and health; arts, culture and sports; and rights and advocacy.

At the Zero Project, we were delighted to welcome the 2018 awardees to the conference last year, with all three playing important roles in our panel sessions.

Nominations are open until 21 June 2019

Together with a fantastic all-female jury Light for the World are looking forward to receiving information about your nominees! Nominations can be submitted on the Her Abilities Award website.


WSA logo and text: WSA World Summit Awards 2019 Call Open

Our good friends at WSA are once again seeking nominations for digital innovations that improve society.

Selected projects benefit by becoming part of a worldwide network with lifelong partnership and integration. At the 2019 WSA event, more than 400 delegates met in Cascais, Portugal, to share the best digital innovations, turning Portugal into a global hub for start-ups and digital innovators on the subject of “Purpose driven digital innovation”.

The World Summit Awards are also a nomination based award system. To participate you need to be nominated by a WSA National Expert as the best national digital application in one of the 8 categories. The nominations to WSA are possible through national contests and national Expert panel selection. Each country can only nominate one project/solution per category.

Find out more about the awards and how to get involved by visiting the WSA website.



Three panellists sit behind microphones in an open conference room, with a Zero Project banned in the background

We need help in identifying the most innovative policies from all around the world that support education for people with disabilities. Each year we award between 10 and 15 Innovative Policies in order to celebrate achievements at a government level that implement real and lasting change. But we cannot do this if the policies are not nominated.

Please help us to gather the greatest laws, regulations, subsidies, taxes or grants that are changing the lives of people with disabilities when accessing fair and inclusive education. There are many ways that you can support us:

  • Share the call with your own networks, especially those that include government officials, or organisations that partner with the government for projects.
  • Tell us directly about policies that have changed your life, or the lives of those in your country/region. We can then contact them directly.
  • Notify your local or national governments of the call and encourage them to nominate their policies.
  • Nominate policies yourself! You or your organization may have been involved in the development of the policy and can nominate it directly, so long as you give us the contact details of a representative from the government.

If you are unclear what we mean by policy then visit our Questions and Answers page for more information.

Or contact us directly at

We look forward to hearing from you!

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.

A group photo of 18 smiling people in front of a Zero Project Impact Transfer banner

Most of you probably know by now what it means to be awarded by the Zero Project. But what you might not know is there are other exciting opportunities, and you don’t necessarily have to be an awardee to benefit!

Zero Project Impact Transfer

Across the last two years we have teamed up with our good friends at Ashoka to run the Zero Project Impact Transfer. Each year, at least 10 projects are selected from the nominations to take part in an acceleration programme to prepare their project to be replicated in other countries or contexts. This includes a training and mentoring programme with experts from the business and philanthropic worlds, plus a 2-day boot camp in Vienna, Austria shortly before the Zero Project Conference. Successes so far include the Museum of Modern Art in New York delivering training to representatives from over 20 museums at workshops in Vienna and Berlin, and Enable India sharing their information sharing service in Ethiopia by teaming up with the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development.

Zero Project in Latin America with Fundación Descúbreme

Tabled with computers and leaflets, with people discussing across

The Zero Project Exhibition

We are excited to embark on a new adventure with our great partners at Fundación Descúbreme in Chile. This project is aiming to increase the impact of the Zero Project in Latin America. Fundación Descúbreme will work with the Zero Project throughout 2019 through the nomination and selection process and in 2020 will co-host a Zero Project conference in Santiago, Chile. There are many ways that nominated projects may benefit, such as opportunities to present and exhibit their work.

Zero Project Conference – Presentations and exhibitions

Each year we base the conference schedule around the awardees, who present their innovative models that support persons with disabilities. But you may not know that we also invite all projects that made it to the shortlist to take part in the conference! Depending on the innovation, the topic and the stage of the projects, we choose a number of those from the shortlist to take part in conference in other ways such as the exhibition or presenting in sessions.

So go ahead and make your nomination! We look forward to hearing from you!

Five people posing in smart clothes for a photo with a Zero Project certificate

At Zero Project HQ we are feeling motivated as we begin receiving nominations for the 2020 awards. It is great to be interacting once again with our whole community, and we’re excited already to speak to some new names this year!

We are here and waiting to answer any queries that you may have, and to give you some tips for making your nomination stand out! But what you may not know, is we have many sources available to you at the touch of a button:

The 2019 Nomination Video – We tell you what topics we are looking at this year and give you some tips to help you when writing your nomination. The video can be accessed via YouTube, Facebook, or on the 2019 Nomination Platform

Question and Answers Document – Accessed via the nomination platform, the Q&A is available in English, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Arabic and answers the key questions you may have about the nomination process.

Themes Document – Also accessed via the platform, this document gives you a breakdown of the themes that we are encouraging nominations from. It splits the overall topic of Education into 4 main themes, plus gives some additional keywords to get you thinking.

If you want to know more outside of the nomination process, you can view other useful pages of the website, including About the Zero Project, and about the Zero Project awards. You can also take a look at our previous Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies winners.

If all else fails, make sure to contact us directly at You will have the pleasure of speaking to Doris, Paula, Seema, Wilfried or Michael who will help you with your queries.

We look forward to speaking to you and receiving your nominations!

M-Enabling Summit banner: Promoting Accessible Technologies and Environments. June 17-19, 2019. Renaissance Capital View Hotel, Washington DC.

It’s less than one month until the M-Enabling summit and we’re excited to share some of the bits that we’re looking forward to the most:

  • Neil Romano, Chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD), will be delivering the opening keynote on June 17, 2019. This will be of high interest to participants, as NCD is known for their leadership and focusing on promoting the needs of people with disabilities, crafting and recommending policy solutions.
  • This year the M-Enabling Summit will host over 120 speakers both from industry and advocacy groups focusing on key issues going on in the community. With its theme of “Accessibility: Transforming Users’ Experience,” the 2019 M-Enabling Summit will provide a platform for empowering technologies and focus on next-generation innovations and breakthroughs for users of all abilities.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be returning to present the FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA) at the M-Enabling Summit on June 18. Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will be delivering the keynote address to open the evening’s awards ceremony.
  • Highlighted sessions at this year’s Summit include: Artificial Intelligence for User Interfaces, Real World End User Experience, Accessible Media Platforms Entertainment, International Trends in Digital Accessibility, Baby Boomer Strategies and much more! Register today to learn more:

See you there!

Philippa-Anne Dewhirst sitting in front of a lake with trees in the background

“Now I have a way to explain what most people see as unsettling or bad.”

At the age of 24, I sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car crash. This left my memory severely impaired and resulted in co-ordination difficulties when tired as well as aphasia – which is a communication disorder. In January 2018, I was helping my sister with my 13-year-old nephew. He has ADHD and ODD and can get out of control and become extremely strong and difficult to manage.

On this day he tried to attack both me and my sister. This led to me safely pinning him to the floor until he calmed down. Once he appeared settled we thought the episode was over, but he phoned his social worker and accused me of trying to harm him. The police arrived and explained that I would have to give a statement.

I contacted the number on my Headway ID card and spoke to a solicitor about what had happened, and he offered to attend the police station with me. I also presented my ID card to the police officers so they understood that I might struggle to answer their questions and so they would be prepared to give me time to find the right words. They investigated and found no evidence of any form of wrong doing, and I was cleared of the charge against me.

It makes me feel secure knowing that thanks to the Headway ID card I have a way to explain what most people see as unsettling, bad, or bizarre behaviour.

You can read more about the Headway Brain Injury ID Card in their factsheet.