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Month: February 2020

ELPIDA won the ZERO Award 2020 for Innovative Practice

Our team, Eszter Salamon, our Director, two members of the Supervisory Board, Brigitte Haider and Christian Hellevang and our Project Manager, Luca László represented the ELPIDA Consortium at the ZERO Conference 2020 held at the United Nations Centre in Vienna on 19-21 February 2020. The event brought together over 500 people passionate about accessibility and inclusion from all over the world. This year’s conference focused on education and showcased innovative, inspiring practices and policies. Unfortunately all policies introduced focused on schooling only, but we have had the opportunity to meet like-minded people representing practice with a holistic approach to education. There were some interesting examples of engaging with parents. It was a great honour to receive the ZERO Award, and we believe that it will give leverage to our plans for further developing ELPIDA and work on the inclusion of parents with disabled children as well as disabled parents, but it is partly because we have made some new friends in Vienna in these 3 day.

zero award received

ELPIDA, our online platform supporting parents of people with intellectual disabilities was nominated and shortlisted for the ZERO Award 2020 as an Innovative Practice. This year they were looking for innovations that allow young persons with disabilities to access education opportunities. The theme covers a variety of education levels and types and includes such themes as early childhood intervention, primary and secondary schools, university education, vocational training, as well as education in emergency and disaster situation. ELPIDA was awarded due to the following: Most approaches to supporting persons with intellectual disabilities are focused either on the people themselves or on the professionals who work with them, while overlooking the importance of training parents and guardians. The ELPIDA project meets the training and support needs of parents and guardians of persons with intellectual disabilities by offering an evidence-based online course about their children’s rights and needs. By educating parents, the project aims to create a positive secondary effect on the quality of life of persons with intellectual disabilities

By attending the conference, we have learnt about a number of innovative, holistic, inclusive education practices, started collaboration with some programmes targeting parents in India, Singapore and Ireland. We also got invited to the Access Israel 2020 conference and to Zanzibar, to support their work with parents in education.

The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2008 and focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It is a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face, are shared. Its mission is to support the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and to work for a world without barriers.
It takes a solutions-based approach. Together with a continuously growing network of over 4,000 experts, with and without disabilities, in over 150 countries, the project seeks to identify the most innovative and effective Policies and Practices that improve the lives of persons with disabilities and to tell the world about those Policies & Practices.
Throughout the year, these solution-oriented approaches are disseminated to decision makers and opinion leaders worldwide and present the results of our research at various national and international conferences, for example, at Side Events at the annual Conference of State Parties to UN CRPD in New York.
The annual Zero Project Report presents the Policies & Practices that have been selected as the most innovative in their approach to that year’s theme. It also evaluated just how the UN CRPD is being implemented around the world.

Learn more about the contestant for Innovative Practice 2020 here:

EuroFam-Net getting momentum

The second meeting of EuroFam-Net working groups took place in Porto on 5-7 February 2020. This is a very exciting period in the life of this COST Action as we are in the phase when we define research question for the coming years. This research will inform the building of a European framework on family support, quality standards for family support services and programmes as well as developing a skills framework for those working for service providers.

This project is probably the most important of our current ones as it can have an impact on the lives of parents all over Europe, and probably beyond. We were happy to see that the working group leads are planning to base the activities on the UN Convention of the Right of the Child (UNCRC). This is the general basis for our work, too. We were happy to see that the starting point for the family support framework is a catalogue of those articles of the UNCRC that are related to parents. This means that our colleagues acknowledge the responsibility of parents for the upbringing of their children and the obligation for states to provide the forms and kinds of support that families really need.

The most important next steps is to ensure that this approach will be used throughout the whole project. This will be a difficult task as we might have to work against current political agendas that tend to define families’ and parents’ needs, based on input from a limited circle of civil society organisations claiming representativeness. Our aim is to ensure that the EuroFam-Net will be based on trust in parents and families understanding that an overwhelming majority of them are aware of their support needs and are responsible in their parenting and family life, rather than implementing a control mechanism that the EC and governments tend to implement as it is a much easier task.

After the Porto meeting we have high hopes that this work can lead to a framework that countries can implement in order to move away from the “take it or leave it” approach to family support, and reflect on the real needs of families, taking the best interest of the child as the ground. For this, we are also doing a stocktaking exercise on child-rights based international policies such as that of the WHO, UNESCO and UNICEF.

In the coming months, we will continue working on a systematic literature review to support the creation of the planned outputs, and we will also support the policy review work. We are also supporting the creation and work of national chapters of the Action, and invite our members to contribute to the creation of national case studies that will then also inform our further work.