Yes, it’s this time of the year again!

We are delighted to announce the Zero Project Innovative Practices and Policies 2020!

We present you 75 Innovative Practices and 11 Innovative Policies from 56 countries that support persons with disabilities on our 2020 topic of education. We are overwhelmed with the range and quality of the projects and are pleased to bring you solutions from all around the world.

More detailed information including a link to each awardee’s factsheet will be published on the Zero Project website and released in January 2020.

These projects cover a range of topics including, assistive technology in schools and universities, inclusive education systems in low and middle-income countries, early childhood and pre-school programmes, legal and rights-based approaches to inclusive education, inclusive education programmes in museums and cultural institutions and many, many more.

Please have a look and explore the projects yourself. The full list is below:




  • Canales – Videolibros enSeña


  • Bridge of Hope – SMILE for Children


  • RIDBC (Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children) – UEB Online
  • Sonokids – Ballyland Educational Apps
  • University of Sydney – Centre for Disability Studies – Uni 2 Beyond


  • KHM Museumsverband – ARCHES
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Salzburg – BLuE University Programme


  • DRRA (Disabled Rehabilitiation & Research Association) – Learn for Life
  • Save the Children International – HOPE
  • YPSA (Young Power in Social Action)


  • Livox International LLC
  • Mais Diferenças – Projeto Brincar
  • Rodrigo Mendes Institute – DIVERSA
  • Rodrigo Mendes Institute, UNICEF, and the FC Barcelona Foundation – Open Doors to Inclusion
  • Univali University – Game Design by Children


  • Association of Shared Learning ELA – One School for All


  • educlick


  • Rick Hansen Foundation – Accessibility Certification


  • Universidad de Andrés Bello – Socio-labour training programme


  • Chinese University of Hong Kong, Centre for Sign Linguistics & Deaf Studies – Sign Bilingualism and Co-enrolment in Deaf Education


  • Universidad Politécnica Salesiana


  • Felm – Social and Educational Programme for the Deaf


  • The Finnish Service Foundation for People with an Intellectual Disability (KVPS) – On the Verge of Adulthood


  • Capito Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – New Ways to Art
  • PIKSL by In der Gemeinde leben gGmbH – PIKSL Mobil


  • SciFY – Games for the Blind

Greece and other European Countries

  • Foundation of Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), the European Parents’ Association, Puzzle S.E., Center for Specialpædagogiske Børnetilbud, Internationaler Bund Südwest, and Oslo Metropolitan University, International Parents Alliance – ELPIDA (E‐Learning Platform for Intellectual Disability Awareness)


  • ADISA – Inclusive Education Programme


  • Amar Seva Sangam
  • CHAI – Catholic Health Association of India – Grassroots Comics
  • Light for the World – RAISE
  • Nayi Disha Resource Centre
  • Universal Design Centre, BNCA University – Opening Minds to Universal Design


  • Universitas Brawijaya, Centre for Disability Studies and Services


  • UrAbility


  • Access Israel – Training for Inclusive Teaching
  • AKIM Israel
  • Israel Elwyn –  Creating a future
  • Ministry of Health of Israel and the Israeli Association of Community Centres – Amitim program in Community Centres


  • Al Hussein Society – Leaving no one behind
  • Arab Episcopal School Irbid


  • Psychoanalytic Association – Ed-Recovery Academy


  • inABLE
  • Signs Media Kenya Limited – Signs TV
  • The Action Foundation


  • Sightsavers


  • The Trust for the Americas – DIA Inclusive Innovation Lab


  • United Nations Children’s Fund – DAISY Textbooks


  • ADPP – Centre of Expertise for Inclusive Education


  • Sama Nepal


  • Special Talent Exchange Programme


  • RET Americas


  • Save the Children Philippines – KASALI

Russian Federation

  • All-Russian Society of Disabled People – Certification in Accessibility Expertise

Saudi Arabia

  • King Abdulaziz University – Empowering Students with Disabilities Initiative


  • Humanity & Inclusion Senegal


  • Mathematical Society of Serbia
  • University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture

South Africa

  • University of Cape Town – Inclusion for Social Justice

South Sudan

  • Light for the World


  • Fundación Dales la Palabra – Tres Olivos School
  • Fundación ONCE – Open and Accessible Universal Design Training Courses
  • Fundación ONCE – Braitico (Braille learning tool)


  • Madrasa Early Childhood Programme Zansibar
  • State University of Zanzibar – Teacher Training in Inclusive Education


  • Engelsiz Erisim Derneği – Barrier-free Distance Education

United Arab Emirates

  • Manzil Center – PRIDE

United Kingdom

  • ENABLE Scotland – Stepping Up

United States

  • Microsoft Corporation – Immersive Reader
  • Houston Community College – VAST Academy
  • SpeechGear – Streamer
  • Syracuse University – Disability Law and Policy Program
  • Taft Community College – The Transition to Independent Living programme

United States and Globally

  • Benetech – Bookshare


  • CBM (Christoffel-Blindenmission) – Inclusive Educational Centres in Zimbabwe



Australia, State of Queensland

  • Department of Education – Inclusive Education Policy


  • Department of Education, City of Vienna (Bildungsdirektion fuer Wien) – Inclusive Education for children with autism

Canada – Province of New Brunswick

  • Department of Education and Early Childhood Development – Provincial Autism Training

Dominican Republic

  • National Institute for Comprehensive Early Childhood Care


  • Department of Children and Youth Affairs – The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)


  • Ministry of Health – Supported education policy for adult people with mental health issues in the community


  • Italian Ministry of Education, Universities, and Research – Law 107/2015 – Good School Reform Act; Legislative decree 66/2017


  • Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture – Inclusive Education policy


  • Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology – Nepal Inclusive Education Policy (2016)


  • Inclusive Education Unit in the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture – Inclusive Education Policy for Students Living with Disability

United States

  • US Department of Labor – Pathways to Careers Programme
A large open conference room full with people

We are pleased to announce the updated agenda for the 2020 Zero Project Conference on Education is now online! We have over 170 speakers already on the agenda, with more being added all the time. You can find the latest version at


The annual Zero Project Conference is the highlight of our year here at the Zero Project. It is an opportunity to celebrate all the innovations we discover during our annual research cycle, and to bring together global experts committed to a world without barriers for people with disabilities. Since our first conference, the accessibility of the conference has been a key focus of the Zero Project.

We want to make the Zero Project Confer­ence an example of ‘good practice’ in terms of conference accessibility, and every year we work to improve the fea­tures and measures we offer. In 2018, our accessibility partner Escola de Gente evaluated the accessibility of the Conference, and their recommendations were key to some of the improvements we trialled for the first time in 2019, such as live audio description for video material and making information available in easy-to-read formats. In 2019, we asked all participants for their feedback on the accessibility of the conference, and are using this feedback to introduce additional measures in 2020. We know we still have work to do, and we can only do this in collaboration with partners across our vast global network.


Cover of the Zero Project Conference Accessibility GuidelinesTo support this, we have decided to document our work on conference accessibility, in the hope that by being transparent and sharing our ideas, we will improve our own work in this area and support other organisations looking to do the same.

We are therefore publishing the Zero Project Conference Accessibility Guidelines. We have developed these guidelines in re­sponse to requests we have had from partners who want to make their own meet­ings and conferences more accessible. They are based on what we have learned through implementing new measures and receiving feedback.

“We hope these guidelines, based on our experiences and the insights of the Zero Project community, will be a helpful contribution to the discussion on conference accessibility. We look forward to continuing to share our work and learning from others to constantly improve the accessibility of the Zero Project Conference.”

Martin Essl, Founder of the Essl Foundation

In order to make this guide as practical as possible, we have concentrated on measures we have first-hand experience of implementing. We are aware that these guidelines therefore do not cover everything. We hope that people using these guidelines, or those who have expertise in the areas we have not included, will share their experiences and knowledge with us.

We are grateful to all the organisations who work with us to implement accessibility measures at the conference in Vienna and the wider Zero Project network for their support in doing this. We would also like to thank our accessibility partner Escola de Gente for their ongoing collaboration and support, and for providing a foreword to the guidelines.

“We support these guidelines as we want plural and non-discriminatory societies, in which persons with disabilities are not an exception, but an intrinsic part. We want inclusive and sustainable societies – also for humanity with disabilities.”

Claudia Werneck, Founder of Escola de Gente


Alongside these guidelines, we have also been developing a discussion paper on conference accessibility, which we will publish in early 2020. We will present the guidelines at the Zero Project Conference 2020 and are committed to col­lecting feedback and using this to improve both the accessibility at the Zero Project Conference and future editions of these guidelines. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please let us know at

Group of people smiling and posing in three rows facing the camera with Zero Project and Zero Project Impact Transfer banners behind them

The Zero Project Impact Transfer program is a partnership between the Essl Foundation, Fundación Descúbreme and Ashoka. It supports organisations to replicate their social impact and innovation in other countries and contexts. The goal of the program is to help proven innovations to spread so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel.

This year is the third year of the Zero Project Impact Transfer and our first year working in partnership with Fundación Descúbreme. 21 projects have already been through the program in the last two years and have presented their innovations and replication plans at the Zero Project Conferences in 2017 and 2018. You can watch a one minute round up of the Impact Transfer session at Zero Project Conference 2019 here.

Previous participants have built on contacts made at the Conference to take forward replication in a number of new countries around the world. Enable India (2018) is taking forward plans for replicating its mobile phone-based disability information service in Ethiopia, the Museum of Modern Art (2018) in the USA has run training on accessibility programs with cultural institutions in Germany, and Greta & Starks (2019) received impact investment following this year’s Conference to scale their app making cinema .

2019/20 participants

We are delighted to announce the participants for this year’s Zero Project Impact Transfer program. There are 10 participants from nine countries taking part, all hoping to find the right partners to replicate their innovative education initiatives globally. The participating projects range from early childhood projects through to vocational training programmes.

  • Amar Seva Sangam (India) – enabling access to early intervention therapy for children in India’s rural communities
  • Association for Shared Learning ELA (Bulgaria) – ‘One School For All’, offering schools a structured and systematic approach to making their policies and processes inclusive
  • capito Mecklenburg Vorpommern (Germany) – ‘New Ways to Art’, training people with disabilities to become museum guides
  • Humanity and Inclusion Senegal (Senegal) – a programme to identify, support and enrol primary-school aged children with disabilities and strengthen inclusive education in Senegal
  • inABLE (Kenya) – providing assistive technology computer labs in specialist schools for blind students in Kenya
  • KVPS (Finland) – ‘On the Verge of Adulthood’, a programme supporting transition from secondary education
  • Livox (Brazil) – alternative communication platform for people who cannot communicate verbally, or people with learning difficulties
  • Manzil Centre (United Arab Emirates) – a comprehensive education & vocational programme for people with disabilities, offering support from pre-education through to post-employment
  • Nayi Disha Resource Centre (India) – an online platform to empower parents of children with intellectual disabilities
  • Universidad Andres Bello (Chile) – a three-year vocational training programme for students with intellectual disabilities

We will be sharing more detailed information about all these projects in the run up to the conference in February. You can also visit the Zero Project Impact Transfer webpage for updates on previous years’ participants and this year’s cohort.

If you are interested in learning more about these innovations and how you could support their replication, please contact Paula Reid from the Zero Project team on

Essl Foundation and Fundación Descúbreme are entering a long-term partnership to expand the Zero Project mission of a world without barriers to the Spanish-speaking community worldwide. Fundación Descúbreme is also joining forces in the accelerator program Zero Project-Impact Transfer and will organize an annual Zero Project Conference in Santiago de Chile.

Vienna/Santiago de Chile, 6th December 2019: Essl Foundation and Fundación Descúbreme are announcing a long-term partnership to expand the Zero Project mission of a world without barriers to the Spanish-speaking community worldwide. Essl Foundation maintains strategic leadership of the Zero Project in full consultation with Fundación Descúbreme. Essl Foundation operates and finances the annual conference in Vienna and Fundación Descúbreme operates and finances the annual conference in Santiago, both under the brand of the Zero Project.

The organisations are also joining forces with Ashoka to broaden the Zero Project Impact Transfer programme worldwide.

“To contribute to a world without barriers in the areas of education, employment, urban development and independent living /political participation we aim to reach many more people with disabilities through innovations in the future. In partnering with Fundación Descúbreme, the Essl Foundation is taking another step forward in achieving this goal in Spanish speaking countries and is very much looking forward to this cooperation!” – Martin Essl, Founder of the Essl Foundation

The Essl Foundation has been working on the topic of social inclusion for persons with disabilities and has accumulated extensive knowledge on four strategic topics. This knowledge can be used by organizations either in the public or private sector – currently facing new challenges for people with disabilities in Spanish-speaking countries. Therefore, we are very grateful for the opportunity and hope to have a fruitful partnership with the Essl Foundation, starting with the Zero Project Conference in Santiago.” – Carola Rubia, Executive Director of Fundación Descúbreme


Essl Foundation and Fundación Descúbreme will co-publish the Zero Project Report in Spanish Language, will launch a Spanish-speaking website and open a news channel in Spanish. Most importantly, Fundación Descúbreme will organize the Zero Project-Latin America Conference annually, starting in early May with the topic of education.


A great opportunity to build a world without barriers, starting in February in Vienna and in May in Santiago with the topic of education.



For further information, please contact:

Michael Fembek Carola Rubia Durán
Director of the Zero Project Executive Director Fundación Descúbreme
Essl Foundation Fundacion Descubreme


Two people stand in front of an exhibition backdrop with the Zero Project Impact Transfer logo and a video screen. Beside them is a table with papers on it.

It has been a busy week for the Zero Project team! We have been travelling all over to take part in a range of exciting events, including activities for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, with partners from across the globe. We have had the opportunity to talk about the work of the Zero Project and meet so many inspiring people, all committed to a world without barriers for persons with disabilities.

One of these events was the Sabanci Foundation’s annual Philanthropy Seminar in Istanbul at the beginning of the week. We were honoured to be invited and were there to talk about the Zero Project Impact Transfer programme, which we deliver in partnership with Ashoka and which supports social innovations to scale their impact to other geographies. We will shortly be announcing this year’s participants, so stay tuned!

The Sabanci Foundation seminar was a fantastic opportunity to meet new contacts and existing partner organisations based in Turkey, including some previous Zero Project awardees! It gave us an opportunity to introduce this year’s Impact Transfer projects to potential partners and see which of this year’s innovations might be relevant to organisations working in Turkey. It was also a chance to connect with some of our international partners, such as Access Israel, Light for the World and Greta and Starks, who were also presenting their work at the conference. The panel session on ‘Empowerment through Education’, featuring a great range of speakers, was thought-provoking and inspiring, particularly given the Zero Project’s focus on education this year, and Yetnebersh Nigussie from Light for the World gave a fantastic keynote speech.

We are grateful to all our partners who support our work, invite us to take part in their events and allow us to develop the Zero Project network even further. We hope to have the opportunity to see many more of our partners, and make new contacts, in 2020! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on our work.

Join advocates and leaders from outside the UN system to have a candid conversation on employment issues affecting persons with disabilities.

The event will be held on December 3rd 2019 at 3:00 pm-6:00 pm at the United Nations Secretariat building in the ECOSOC chamber in New York City.

Read the “This is My Workplace” event information sheet.

Please RSVP using the following link to attend and receive more information about the event:

The first is a set of Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. They are the first humanitarian guidelines to be developed with and by persons with disabilities.

The second publication is a case study in collaboration with UNICEF on Access to Humanitarian Aid in Mozambique. The case study is a major output of Light for the World’s work post-Cyclone Idai in Mozambique; it shows clear examples of how to turn these guidelines into a practice.

Check out the publications below:

IASC guidelines

Access to Humanitarian Aid Case Study

In observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Kessler Foundation together with the United Nations’ Office of Human Resources is celebrating the “This Is My Workplace” event.

Join advocates and leaders from outside the UN system to have a candid conversation on employment issues affecting persons with disabilities.

The event will be held on December 3rd 2019 at 3:00 pm-6:00 pm at the United Nations Secretariat building in the ECOSOC chamber in New York City.

The global community must ensure that no one is left behind and join the “This is My Workplace” movement to create and promote a truly inclusive culture in the workplaces where everyone can succeed and perform to their full potential!

Read the “This Is My Workplace” event information sheet

Please RSVP using the following link to attend and receive more information about the event:

Logos of TOPHOUSE and the EU, with text: Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

It’s done! The TOPHOUSE project is officially ending on 30 November 2019. But it does not mean we stop here. The outcome is very promising, the tools will lead their own lives, and we will continue to inform and support the TOPHOUSE community!



TOPHOUSE is a project that aims to define the competences of professionals in the assessment, housing and support/care sector to strengthen their ability to:

FOSTER INCLUSION and RESPECT for human rights of persons at risk at exclusion, particularly persons  with disabilities


WORK MORE EFFECTIVELY and CONSTRUCTIVELY with complex needs of service users


What have we achieved?

7 partners from 6 EU countries have joined forces  to produce:

A STUDY on promising practises in integrated housing and support that provides an overview at European Level


  • Assessment of individual rights and needs
  • Individual needs and allocation of housing
  • Support needs assessment
  • Developing cross-sectoral cooperation

A TRAINING COURSE aimed at providing guidance on acquiring, delivering and assessing learning outcomes and materials developed.

COUNTRY SPECIFIC PRODUCTS (Austria, Finland, Ireland, Spain) consisting of localised and own language versions of all the previous TOPHOUSE products.


All TOPHOUSE products will be available soon here and on the EASPD website – stay tuned!


This project was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union