Despite economic difficulties we managed to continue our activities and to attract new and valuable staff members and trainees.
Project Assistanskoll financed by the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden) entered its third year aiming to assist recipients of cash subsidies from the National Social Insurance Fund (Försäkringskassan), their families and municipal civil servants as well as personal assistants in comparing and making informed choices regarding personal assistance providers. The online service informs about the services provided, their costs and conditions, facts which often are not mentioned in the providers’ advertisements, such as assistants’ average wages and type of labor union contract. By the end of 2009 over 150 personal assistance providers, companies and cooperatives, had chosen to join and present themselves in our service. Assistanskoll’s newsletter written by Kenneth Westberg is sent out several times a month and has gained a leading role with service providers and municipal civil servants by monitoring the assistance market and changes in legislation and legal praxis. We receive many mails and the Newsletter’s articles are often referred to in disability magazines and their homepages. The newsletters reach currently 3,400 email addresses, among them 280 assistance providers and 900 municipal employees, disability organizations and their periodicals, trade union officers and politicians at different levels as well as personal assistance users, their relatives and personal assistants. Assistanskoll’s homepage had a total of 52,000 unique visitors during the year.
Reporting discriminating activities to the Disability Ombudsman Reporting Service can result, within the limitations of current legislation, in measures taken by the Office of the Discrimination Ombudsman and the local government’s building permit board. The online service archives reports in a national database that is indexed by search motors such as Google. The service offering partly pre-formulated statements to expedite reporting is used in the now nation-wide reporting activities of the March for Access (Marschen för tillgänglighet) network. MfA’s founder and coordinator, Hans Filipsson, works part-time for ILI.
Accessible Vacation Exchange promotes travel abroad for persons with extensive disabilities by facilitating home swapping. The service underwent an upgrade resulting in an improved appearance and additional functions.
Our full-text virtual library continues to be one of our most central services. We offer authors of such documents as scientific articles, reports, manuals and lectures on Independent Living and related themes a free, secure and sustainable method of archiving and disseminating their work in our accessible and searchable library. The library currently has about 1,000 documents, of which about 200 are in Swedish and 100 in other languages, mostly Spanish, French and German. During 2009 we continued our efforts of phasing in a new platform for the library in form of Drupal, a Content Management System which facilitates adding documents. Due to our Google Page Rank of 7 documents on our website get a high exposure. In 2009 the library received a total of about 114,000 unique visitors.
ILI’s homepage continued in 2009 to be the first among some 4,2 million results when searching in Google for the term “Independent Living". The site received about 500,000 unique visitors during 2009. We get a number of appreciative comments about the full-text virtual library and the other online services.
Since August ILI has been partner in the Leonardo da Vinci project STEPS (Stimulate Entrepreneurship in the Provision of Social Services for Persons with Disabilitiies). The partnership consists of project coordinator ADO Icarus, Belgium, Inima de Copil, Rumania, Association of Friends of the Home for Children, Bulgaria, Academy of Management, Poland and ILI. The project is planned for two years, financed by the EU Program for Lifelong Learning and intended to stimulate a wide and pan-European exchange of knowledge and experience among the partner organizations through study visits in the old EU member states Sweden and Belgium to be followed by training and workshops in Bulgaria, Poland and Rumania. Among the outcome will be a manual on entrepreneurship in the social area. After a kick-off meeting in Hasselt, Belgium in October the partners will meet again for a study visit in Stockholm in February 2010.
ILI is partner in the project Human Rights - Way to Democracy (www.nordenability.info/en/) in cooperation with Apeirons, Latvia, Apparel, Kaliningrad, Old People Home and Service Pirkankoivu, Finland, and Århus Health Care College, Denmark. Financed by the Nordic Council and ending in 2011 the project is to promote the opportunities for persons with disabilities in Kaliningrad for more personal and political power, self-determination, full participate on and equality. The partners met for a kick-off meeting in Riga, Latvia in March. As a first step in the project the partners will report on the situation of persons with disabilities regarding the role of NGOs and the work for implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A seminar in Kaliningrad is planned in 2010.
ILI’s grant application to the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden) for participation in project TA PLATS! (approximately Take your Rightful Place) was turned down. The project. among other things, was to build a Swedish network for accessibility and award the “Abolish Apartheid in Sweden" Prize.
Project Public Transportation Access (PT Access) completed in March was conducted by a consortium consisting of the Department of Transportation Sciences, University of Dresden, Germany, JMP Consulting, UK, ILI under the coordination of Austrian Mobility Research FGM-AMOR not for profit GmbH and financed under the European Union Sixth Framework, Scientific Support to Policies program. The project was to describe the situation of public transportation in 25 EU countries in regard to access to people with disabilities and to show its implications for labor market participation and marginalization of persons with disabilities.
Through the project we gained insights in Sweden’s and other countries’ policies for accessible public transportation, monitoring activities and degree of goal completion.
Immediately before the Equality Summit held under Swedish European Union Presidency in Stockholm ILI organized a two-day international seminar in Stockholm, November 15-16, on personal assistance and accessibility attended by representatives of Independent Living organizations from Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden as well as the European Network on Independent Living, ENIL. ILI was charged with building and coordinating two international networks on personal assistance and accessible public transportation. STIL financed the event.
September 16 Dr Paul Durke, UK interviewed Adolf Ratzka on video in connection with ENIL’s Strasbourg Freedom Drive.
On July 2 Adolf Ratzka was honored with the European Citizen Award from the European Anti-Discrimination Council, London for his long work for civil rights and self-determination of persons with disabilities in Europe.
As always, we have received a great number of inquiries about Swedish and European policy and implementation requesting clarifications, references to publications or resource persons.
During the year ILI’s staff served as
Susanne Berg, well-known writer and analyst with strong roots in the disability community and Disability Studies who earlier worked with ILI projects Radio Independent Living and Fashion Freaks shares the executive position with Adolf Ratzka since September. She works part-time.
Pär Blomkvist left ILI in April.
Philip Day worked part-time with database programming for projects Assistanskoll, HO anmälningstjänst, maintained online registers for project Study and Work, the Links section and for Global Networking, the registry of disability organizations around the world and was contracted by Spinalis Foundation to develop the technology for project Spinalistipps.
Sebastian Ferrer worked with parts of ILI:s accounting work.
Hans Filipsson ran and improved Handikappombudsmannens anmälningstjänst, ILI’s online discrimination reporting service on a part-time base.
Davy Garemynck started part-time in October working with administration.
Miles Goldstick worked part-time in charge of the technical aspects of ILI’s homepage.
Petra Jonsson worked part-time as ILI’s administrator, was authorized to sign on behalf of the organization and represented ILI on a number of international events.
Algren Morgan continued as part-time administrator of project Assistanskollwhere he is in charge of contacts with service providers and local government caseworkers and participates in the further development of the service.
Adolf Ratzka shares the position of director with Susan Berg as of September.
Kenneth Westberg continued part-time as journalist and project coordinator for project Assistanskoll where he, among many other things, writes texts for the site and its Newsletter.
Nicoletta Zoannos left ILI at the end of the year for work with STIL where she soon became head of the communications department.
We are grateful to