This year’s International Day of People with Disabilities theme is ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’.

It focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.

Together we can take this opportunity to celebrate the significant contribution people with disabilities make across our work and our communities, as well as the benefits their inclusion brings to us all.

All of us here at CSIA would like to acknowledge and say thank you to the skilled, experienced and knowledgeable group of people with disabilities we have been working with on a number of key projects, conversations and events. You have brought your lived experience as well as your wealth of knowledge and experience gained through your own careers, business, sporting achievements, travels, families and much more.

We are excited about working with you and the collaborations that are about developing social and economic inclusion.

We know that inclusion is good for business and another way that we can work together to advance the Community Services Industry.

In this blog we look at how the participation of people with disabilities and their leadership has helped shape our work and the benefits that has brought.

For those of you wanting to engage with people with disabilities on a range of opportunities, we have been working with our experts through the Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) QDeNgage program.

Inclusion Ready Summit

When talking about inclusion of people with disabilities, who better to lead the conversation than talented people with lived experience. And that’s exactly what we did for the CSIA Inclusion Ready Summit.

This full day event brought together thought-leaders, experts and researchers to explore how Industry, business and government can work in partnership with people with disability to create inclusion.

In the program planning phase of the Summit CSIA engaged a group of people with disability to be the Panel Chairs and Summit Representatives. They were involved in the planning of the Summit providing input and direction for each session as well as chairing sessions on the day.

“People with a disability are the best problem solvers you are ever going to find. So, if you have a panel of problem solvers, creative thinkers, I don’t think there is a challenge you are going to come across that you can’t solve. Bringing more consultancy into every organisation, and valuing that role is important as well.” Steph Dower, Summit Representative

Following the event, the group came together to reflect on what we can do as an Industry to progress conversations on the day.

“I’m a firm believer with all my years of being a volunteer in the business sector plus paid and contract work, that change is a good thing. I really believe that change is something that we need to embrace. Because without change we are not going to get any of those new ideas out there we are not going to get any of those collaborations happening.” Peter Tully, Inclusion Ready Summit Representative

Feedback from the day was loud and clear – the leadership of the Panel Chairs and Summit Representatives provided valuable insights, guidance and reflections across Industry on progressing inclusion in the work we do.

“The information presented and the discussions were all very practical. It wasn’t just a lot of nice ideals that you can’t really do much with. We took away a number of things that we are going to put into action. We as an organisation could be doing more. The barriers are not as bad/hard as thought.” Inclusion Ready Summit participant.

CSIA continues to engage people with disability across the Inclusion Ready project to continue the conversation and build on the social and economic benefits of inclusion for Industry.

Marketing Advisory Group

Following the success of the Inclusion Ready Summit, we knew there were more ways the panel chairs and summit representatives could help shape the work we do.

Our marketing and communications team went back to QDeNgage, who helped us form the Marketing Advisory Group.

Through robust and engaging conversations, we were taken into the depths of inclusion and the barriers, myths and stigmas. The group also brought insights from all stakeholder’s perspectives, as they are also colleagues, business owners, travelers and academics.

What came out loud and clear was around inclusive employment and the benefits this will bring to the Community Services Industry and other organisations. In these sessions we built understanding, prioritised the big issues, developed objectives, fleshed out key messaging, unpacked content opportunities and leads, all leading to a plan.

Through this collaboration, our Inclusion Ready social media campaign was developed with a strong focus on building awareness about the employment of people with disabilities.

This group also provided valuable input to shape the next Women of the World Festival, bringing the voice of people of disabilities into the important celebration.

Their input continues to shape our planning and activities moving forward. We will work with this group well into phase three of the Inclusion Ready Project.

The success of engaging the Marketing Advisory Group in a co-design process was prevalent through the results of the campaign.

Inclusion Ready Podcast

Producer, writer and editor Steph Dower is working with the CSIA marketing and communications team to bring you a not-to-be-missed podcast highlighting stories of success when it comes to inclusion.

Steph was one of the Panel Chairs at the Inclusion Ready Summit and has a wealth of experience in film and audio production, writing and editing.

Steph provided the team with content, programming and production advice and audio training. The proposed program was taken to the Marketing Advisory Group for further feedback and story leads.

The co-design process the team took with Steph proved invaluable to developing the story telling format and a program of stories that need to be told about the business benefits of inclusion.

Steph will continue to work with the marketing and communications team throughout January and in the lead up to the podcast launch in early 2020.

Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

CSIA is partnering on the Queensland Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) Framework and Toolkit.

DIDRR brings together people with disability, Industry and local disaster management groups in regions throughout Queensland to work together and co-design DIDRR innovations.

The Framework and Toolkit provides Industry, people with disability and local disaster management groups with practical actions for shared responsibility to increase resilience of people with disability in times of disaster.

The co-design process was critical to the success of the Framework and Toolkit improving the way Industry and the wider community plans for disaster with people with disability at the centre of the conversation.

Self Advocacy Queensland – creating a future of Inclusion

Responding to an idea, challenge or designing a project benefits from a theory of change. CSIA has their own – the Impact Statement. Understanding and developing one is important for everyone, especially when designing projects or applying for grants together.

The Creating a Theory of Change: Towards a future of inclusion was developed to support people with intellectual disabilities and organisations to make positive change in their communities. It is a resource with practical tips and information on running Theory of Change workshops with people with disability.

The resource was forged through a co-design process that was driven by people with intellectual disabilities and key organisations relating to self-advocacy.

The co-design process set a precedent for Industry around involving people with disability in co-design of programs. Representatives from the self-advocacy group, QDN and CSIA took this co-design process and learnings to the main stage at the ASID Conference in November 2019.

A critical step in the process was a co-design session breaking down the Theory of Change process using metaphors and visualisation.

The resulting Theory of Change provided the group with a shared vision and a clear direction of where they were heading.

“This took time and patience whilst we also needed to keep the momentum going especially while the NDIS and grant stuff changed. We wanted to have self-advocacy all over Queensland come together and work together and have fun. We hope we get funding and can make this happen” Paul O’Dea, Self Advocacy Queensland at the ASID Conference

CSIA works with Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) through their QDeNgage program to engage people with disability.

We’ll be bringing you more stories on the social and economic benefits of inclusion in 2020 as we continue to engage people with disability across our program of work and operations.