Keystone Moldova’s Self-Advocacy for Better Inclusion Program Receives Policy Impact EASPD Innovation Award

EASPD awardKeystone Moldova has been honored with a Policy Impact EASPD Innovation Award. As part of their 25th anniversary celebrations, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities recognized 25 innovative practices in support services. The selected practices showcase the successful implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through direct services or networks of advocacy and support which contributed to the delivery of high-quality community-based services for persons with disabilities. Keystone is a long-standing member of EASPD.

Keystone’s Self-Advocacy for Better Inclusion program was recognized for its success in advancing implementation of the CRPD through direct participation of people with disability, who are core agents of change in building inclusive societies. In 2014, with the support of Keystone, the first self-advocacy group was developed by men with intellectual disabilities who had moved out of a residential institution into the community. Since then, approximately 160 people with disabilities have joined self-advocacy groups across 15 districts in Moldova. Their efforts have led to results at both the national and international level.

Self-advocates have consulted on a number of policies, including  local strategies for social inclusion of people with disabilities in three districts, National Program for social inclusion of people with disabilities 2017-2022, and the monitoring of accessibility of public infrastructure in several districts. They continue to advocate for social services, deinstitutionalization and the right to live in the community, access to microcredits, and the right to employment, healthcare, social protection, etc. Advocacy groups raise awareness among the general public regarding the rights of people with disabilities through mass media, theater forum performances, awareness lessons in schools, and thematic photo exhibitions. At the international level, self-advocates have  participated in  the Clinton Global Initiative, the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Inclusion International Empower US Program, and international conferences for self-advocates, among other events.