Impact Report – updated October 2021
Please read our latest impact report. It contains a summary of everything we have achieved up to October 2021.
Since its inception in October 2018, WeCanAccess has steadily grown, developed and adapted.
WeCanAccess was first built as a platform where parents of children with special needs and disabilities (SEND) could share, discuss and trade. There was a venue review area, marketplace, discussion boards and blog space. It took a year to build and was ready pilot at the end of 2019. WeCanAccess began to build relationships with local authorities, businesses and UK NGOs. By early 2020, WeCanAccess was meeting with local authorities across London and looking at helping them deliver local obligations to highlight and deliver SEND provision (local offer) by mapping accessible places and providing a safe online place to have discussions and share ideas. Then Covid 19 hit and priorities changes literally overnight. The local authority officers who had been working with us were, rightly, redirected to supporting vulnerable families. All our contacts disappeared overnight. We also halted the review area as it was not appropriate to ask people to go out and review places. We had to refocus our efforts.
WeCanAccess had not had time to establish or market itself fully before Covid hit, so we our discussion boards remained quiet despite people using more online resources. However, we turned to what we knew best, which is education. We began to post online learning resources to help people teach and engage with their SEN children at home and to develop teaching resources that had always been planned as part of the WeCanAccess brand.
Update October 2021
Over the last 18 months WeCanAccess has:
- Refocussed our efforts on producing quality, practical toolkits aimed at improving and creating accessible learning environments.
- Become a certified Social Enterprise
- Become partners with #learningplanet, an organisation launched by UNESCO and CRI; They identified WeCanAccess as Global Pioneers, producing materials for the #learningplanet Festival [https://www.learning-planet.org/en]
- Been accepted into Catalyst 2030 as an active member: [https://catalyst2030.net/tag/partnerships-for-the-goals/ ]
- Been invited to speak to students at top business school, HEC Paris. [https://www.hec.edu/en ], on their Masters programme on Sustainability, about the economics behind accessibility.
- Been endorsed by the University of East London
- Launched the WeCanAccess Academy (more details below)
- Created the WeCanAccess Youth Voice project (more details below)
- Developed active partnerships with specialist practitioners, civil societies and grassroots organisations across the globe including:
- Dialogue Includes All (Malaysia)
- Initiative for National Growth (Nigeria)
- Diksha (India)
- LySi Creative Education (Cameroon)
- Faith Dawah Foundation (Ghana)
- One Child Ghana
The WeCanAccess Academy
The WeCanAccess Academy has been launched and offers practical, easy to understand toolkits on how to improve accessibility and inclusion in schools, and how to work with parents of children with SEND. A toolkit on how to work with schools for parents of children with SEND is freely available and has been accessed by both parents and educators in the UK and Nigeria.
A pilot project in Nigeria in September 2021 in partnership with the Initiative for National Growth Africa, has been hugely successful with over 80 sign ups and 100% positive reviews and comments in the follow-up survey. You can see from the sign ups below that people have found it useful, not only in their work but see applications for the information in other areas of their lives.
Some of the reviews and comments:
“I actually already recommended to many persons in various social groups I am a part of, because it is a very essential eye opening for every human, it helps in developing our humanity and sense of empathy, as well as equips us to work better with Children with special needs, while helping them build a future they want and will be satisfies and doexcellent in.”
“It was a very timely, personal intervention for me as an individual. I decided to take the courses for Nigeria, not because I am a Special Needs Educator, but because I believe these are very essential skills and information that every person should have, as a parent, community member or young person.”
“It gives us a better understanding of the people we get to interact with daily, builds empathy and sensitivity, as well as true concern for the needs of others, while also creating the attitude of accommodation and intentionality in all that we do, even as lawmakers and political leaders.”
“Good Education for educators – The academy identify problems, list out solutions and ways to tackle them. It is online so makes it easier with the COVID-19 pandemic. I really appreciate it.”
Reaching a wide audience:
India – An Ashoka fellow and founder of a rights-based programme for adolescents living in difficult situations told us that she has changed areas of her practice based on what she learned.
South Africa – Special Needs practitioners in South Africa have completed the toolkits and reported finding the information useful in their daily lives. Review: “This is very valuable information for those wanting to learn about inclusion and access. The WCA Accessibility Framework is a tool anyone can use to understand and help someone with a disability.”
UK – Review: “This course is an amazing tool to get confidence to work together with schools. The focus on understanding each other, cooperation, and awareness of school procedures promotes good practices and facilitates the creation of real inclusive education communities.”
WeCanAccess Youth Voice
We have developed a Youth Voice activity which invites young people with additional needs to speak out about what they need for life to be more accessible and inclusive for them. It guides young people to consider what action they might take to be more inclusive and make life more accessible for their peers. Schools in London, the UEA and India, have reported previously isolated children making friends as a result of the activity.
Visit https://wecanaccess.com/wecanaccess-youth/ for more information on WeCanAccess Youth and visit https://wecanaccess.com/wecanaccess-youth-dosti/ to see some of the work produced by the students who have participated.