The Zero Project researches the status of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) around the world and, this year, is focusing on inclusive education and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies).
The Zero Project, an initiative of the Essl Foundation, focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. The Zero Project is run in partnership with the World Future Council since 2011 and with the European Foundation Center since 2013. It provides a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face, are shared. Its sole objective is to assist in creating a world without barriers.
Innovative Policies are one of the three areas of research conducted by the Zero Project, together with Social Indicators and Innovative Practices. The Zero Project's Innovative Policies are laws, standards, policies, strategies or programs, adopted by public authorities from all levels - from the local level, to the regional, up to the national level (local and regional councils, parliament, government, etc.).
So far, the Zero Project researched on employment in 2012/13, on accessibility in 2013/14 and most recently on independent living and political participation in 2014/15. It will be education in 2015/16.
The research process started in June 2015 and the Call for Nomination has now been closed. Currently, all nominations are being carefully screened. This is one step in the selection process that will eventually result in the "Innovative Practices and Policies of the Zero Project 2016" being announced at the beginning of 2016.
The Zero Project received an astounding 337 nominations from 98 countries (including two from internationally operational organizations). What they demonstrate is that there is a global movement of practitioners implementing inclusive education "on the ground," helping children with all kinds of disabilities, including those with multiple disabilities, around the world, in all contexts, even in emergency situations.
The Zero Project's global reach is evident from the number of nominations received from each continent.
The following is the breakdown, including the two countries most represented in each region:
International level: 2
To date, only each project's country of origin has been taken into account. This means that, in reality, the number of countries where projects are implemented is higher and will most certainly shift the focus towards low income countries, since several nominations from Europe, Canada and the USA are implemented there.
A first screening of all nominations shows that roughly half of all nominations involve inclusive education, a quarter involve both education and ICT (using technology to support accessible and inclusive education), and another quarter exclusively Information and Communication Technologies.
Nominations from low income countries tend to have a "universal approach" towards inclusive education (for instance, by simultaneously offering learning materials, technological support, transport to school, train-the-trainer-models, assistance in the classroom for the disabled child, as well as vocation training, etc, whereas nominations from high income countries tend to have more detail-orientated projects, focusing more on specific aspects of advancing inclusive education, such as developing curricula or web tools.
The Zero Project team, with the help of its partners, is currently shortlisting all nominations, based on its three criteria: innovation, impact and scalability.
The shortlist is likely to include 190 to 200 nominations and will be completed in September, at which time the Zero Project will communicate the most outstanding results.
In September and October, the Zero Project expert network will be asked to vote on the shortlisted nominations as the next step in the selection process.