Me Too – Listening to the voices of people with disability
Episode 70: Me Too – Listening to the voices of people with disability
Released: July 2017
Following our previous episode – My Voice – this episode focuses on a campaign that is all about listening to the voices of people with disabilities themselves to hear what sports and physical activity means to them in their lives. It’s a campaign driven by CARA in Ireland and was launched by Irish Paralympian Jason Smyth last December. They launched the campaign by releasing 5 multimedia videos, of 5 ‘Me Too’ Ambassadors explaining in their own words what impact has had on their lives.
Partners: Doireann Ni Mhuircheartaigh (CARA)
The Irish are at it again!
CARA in Ireland is one of the world leading organisations in terms of training and awareness of sport and recreation for people with a disability. They produce a lot of excellent high quality work and are making a real difference in the world.
Last December they launched a new campaign that focuses on listening to the voices of people with disability – why they participate in and value sport? What motivates them? What their wishes and aspirations are? The campaign has four major elements that we will highlight below. You can see how powerful the videos are.
This type of campaign is actually a good model for any sport or club to replicate. These days it’s very easy to produce videos that you can use to raise awareness and help educate your members. You don’t need a professional film crew! Why not get your mobile phone out and do a short interview with a person with a disability in your sport setting? Circulate the video – put it on social media or on your website. It’s an easy and effective way to help raise awareness and educate members about inclusion. So how did CARA put their campaign together?
They structured the campaign around four themes:
A key objective of the ‘Me Too’ campaign was to highlight the voices of people with disabilities, explaining in their own words, the importance of sport and physical activity in their everyday lives. The videos were produced in ‘short’ and ‘long’ versions, suitable for different platforms. There was no script, just the thoughts and words of people with disability.
To accurately capture the voices and lived experiences of people with disabilities in terms of participating in sport and physical activity, they carried out focus groups nationwide, to gain a better understanding of the barriers, solutions and impact sport and physical activity has on the lives of people with disabilities.
From information gathered via focus groups, a National Charter for Inclusion is being developed. CARA asks organisations to sign up to and adopt this Charter, and commit to be inclusive of people with disabilities in their organisation/club.
As part of the National Physical Activity Plan, an education programme will be developed specifically for people with disabilities, on why and how they can participate in regular physical activity. This will be developed and rolled out through the support and assistance of the disability services nationwide as part of a health promotion campaign for people with disabilities.
The ‘Me Too’ campaign is a terrific example of how to go about developing an awareness and education program that is based on the thoughts and ideas of people with disability directly. The good news too is that it is not that hard to replicate in your own back yard – you just have to listen!
To support and find out more about the campaign go to – http://caracentre.ie/me-too/
About the author: Peter Downs
Founding Director - The Inclusion Club
Peter is Founding Director of The Inclusion Club and Manager of Play by the Rules – a national initiative to promote safe, fair and inclusive sport. Peter has worked for over 25 years in the field of inclusive sport, disability sport and physical activity including 17 years managing the Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit. In 2013 Peter was fortunate enough to receive a Churchill Fellowship to study models of best practice in inclusive sport and physical activity.