We have to admit that the movement of people with disabilities in Slovakia, including the organizational structures of NROZP, has been underfunded for a long time and suffers from a lack of personnel to ensure efficient operation. Opportunities for development and building new capacities are still quite limited.
There are quite a few areas where we need real improvement. Inadequately covered internal communication between member organizations is among the most pressing issues within the NROZP. Our website has an old-fashioned design and functionality, it lacks modern tools accessible on the membership basis. Another challenge is sufficient information and translation of important documents related to our rights. English publications with relevant information are not accessible to all of us, in terms of language. And last but not least we struggle, like abroad, with low involvement of young people in public affairs. Better involvement of youth, as our active members or professionals, is a long-term challenge.
A new opportunity is coming – the Ascend project
We try to find solutions and bring change. Therefore, in cooperation with the European Disability Forum (EDF) and with the financial support of the Citi Foundation, we started implementation of the Ascend project (the meaning of this originally English word is characteristic – to rise). This short-term project is intended for the development of national organizations of people with disabilities in Central and Eastern Europe. The project is carried out in partnership with organizations from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, where the partnership is provided by the NROZP v SR.
The implementation of this project began on June 1st 2022, and the last activities will be completed by December 15th 2022. The project activities are divided into three main pillars, namely building communication (especially internal communication, redesign of our website and development of communication tools), increasing knowledge in the field of international policies and programs (translations of EDF toolkits into Slovak) and activation of young people by empowering their position in the movement of people with disabilities.
What is currently being implemented and has already been implemented
In July we prepared accessibility audit of our websites (nrozp.sk and nrozp-mosty.sk) and internal communication in collaboration with experts on web content accessibility. We also started to create new graphic identity of NROZP which includes modern web design. Website of NROZP will get completely new look and functionality, old content will be enriched by new texts. We also created team of collaborators for social media content and fundamentally revitalized our Facebook page.
In August and September 2022, we prepared, in cooperation with Slovak Youth Council, questionnaire trying to map priorities, needs and motivations of young people with disabilities in Slovakia. The survey was launched at the end of September. At the same time we created mailing list for NROZP member organizations. To send an internal message to representatives of member organizations is really simple now – there is just a single email address and such a message will be delivered to all members of new mailing list.
What awaits us in the project
In October 2022, data collection takes place as part of youth survey, we will do questionnaire and focus groups. Report with the main results of this survey should be available at the end of November. We also prepare workshop with the aim of informing young people about new opportunities and motivating them to take more active life approach.
We will devote autumn period to fill in our new website with content and to translate relevant EDF toolkits from English to Slovak. We plan to create terminological dictionary in the field of disability, too. We also prepare training on accessible communication and publishing digital content.
Call to NROZP members
We would be happy if our member organizations became an active part of the Ascend project. We would be pleased with information from our members about what is happening in their organizations, which we will try to publish either on the NROZP Facebook page or in our newsletter Bridges of inclusion. We are also curious whether our members use discussion forums for internal/ external communication. It can be Facebook group, web forum or other platform. This information will be published on our website. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.