Learning for Civic Action Challenge

Selected

GNYPWD Accessible Connect

Accessible and inclusive platform to empower people with disabilities with information, resources, opportunities, and knowledge to advocate for their rights and pursue their aspirations.

Team Lead

Kartik Sawhney

Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

GNYPWD LLC

What is the name of your solution?

GNYPWD Accessible Connect

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Accessible and inclusive platform to learn, connect, organize and implement campaigns and movements focused on disability justice

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Young persons with disabilities belong to one of the most marginalized segments of society. Often, we are discriminated against based on our lack of experience, age, disability, gender, and sexual orientation. Barriers to active participation and fulfillment of human rights of young persons with disabilities include issues such as lack of representation and meaningful participation, lack of access to technology, and lack of access to basic human rights such as education, employment, bodily autonomy, and sexual and reproductive rights. Disability advocacy is moot as long as the leadership of young persons with disabilities is missing and we remain invisible and dispersed within the larger disability advocacy space.  We experience limited leadership and decision-making opportunities with decisions made for us by gatekeepers who do not truly understand our needs. Too often, international agendas focus on “architectural” accessibility where they fail to tackle  matters of disability as a 360 aspect of great intersectionality, diversities  and the ground realities. In an effort to bridge these gaps, the Global Network of Young Persons with Disabilities (GNYPWD) was founded in the aftermath of the UN’s 2020 Conference of the States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), aiming to offer an advocacy space that ensures the inclusive participation and leadership of young persons with disabilities in the youth and disability rights agendas within the UN system and beyond.

With over 500 members from 80+ countries, we are a fast-growing community and network. We work on disability justice and rights across the world with a particular focus on intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality among other identities. However, during our advocacy, we realized the following challenges.

  • Lack of accessible platforms to learn and develop our capacity: Most mainstream platforms include content that is inaccessible and incompatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers. The content also does not take into account the special circumstances around young people with disabilities such as infrastructural or digital challenges.
  • Discoverability of relevant content: Finding actionable content when planning a project or campaign is challenging as is, but becomes even more so for people with disabilities, especially those who are neurodiverse. Additionally, a lot of the content is not designed to be simple/plain language which acts as a barrier to easy understanding and applying the content.
  • Inaccessible discussion groups: Mainstream discussion platforms (e.g. Slack, Discord, Facebook etc.) do not cater to a cross-disability global audience. They are inaccessible and often too difficult to navigate and use. This makes it challenging for our community to connect, learn, mobilize, organize and implement campaigns and projects.

While we faced these challenges in our work, we also realized that the role technology can play in scaling our impact. It is with this in mind that we developed the GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform-a completely accessible and inclusive platform to help over 93 M young people with disabilities learn, connect and have their voices heard. In doing so, we are determined by our key value-“nothing about us without us”.

What is your solution?

The GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform is an accessible and inclusive digital platform that provides young people with disabilities with the tools, resources, connections and opportunities to identify challenges in their local circumstances and environments; develop their capacity to organize advocacy campaigns, movements or projects; connect with fellow disability advocates; plan their initiatives; secure support from international organizations such as the UN and our other partners; and disseminate results with the broader global community. This technology, coupled with our community, facilitates young people with disabilities who have traditionally accepted inaccessibility and lack of access as the norm, to learn about their rights and connect with others to demand their rights. More specifically, the platform provides for the following.

  • Accessibility: The platform is designed to be completely accessible to a wide range of disabilities and is designed to be WCAG 2.0 AAA compliant (the highest level of accessibility defined by the W3C). Further, it is not only accessible, but has been designed and developed to optimize for accessibility needs.
  • Discoverability: Drawing on a wide range of resources from the UN, World Bank, disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and other sources, the platform provides an easy-to-use natural language search where young people can learn from resources most relevant to them and their projects. All resources are automatically converted into accessible formats (tagged accessible PDFs, audio, Microsoft Word files etc.) using AI-powered technology, and the search is powered by the latest in generative AI (open AI GPT models).
  • Community: The platform provides for “groups” and “projects” to help members better organize themselves and have meaningful discussions.
  • Networking: The members can discover other members in their geographies or with similar interests and connect them with 1:1 through the platform.
  • UN connect: This provides for a bidirectional exchange of information, perspectives and opportunities between our interagency UN partners and our community.
  • Multilingual: The platform supports real-time translation across 100+ languages.
  • Cross-platform: Unfortunately, not everyone in the disability community has access to reliable internet. We are currently working to provide all of the functionality of the platform across platforms (with SMS/IVR and WhatsApp to begin with). This will ensure that the most underrepresented in our community have an equal opportunity to learn, participate and have their voice heard.

With these features, the platform serves as a critical enabler for our community members to develop their capacity, connect and implement their projects. This, coupled with our decentralized community structure (with regional and country representatives supporting local projects within their regions, and working with the global team to secure resources and opportunities), has been particularly helpful in supporting a wide variety of projects including developing a toolkit for bodily autonomy of people with disabilities, inclusive education and employment in India, campaigns around allyship in Africa among others.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Young people with disabilities are one of the most underrepresented in the world. Not only are we excluded from mainstream discussions due to low expectations around people with disabilities, but are also not included in disability-related discourse and discussions due to perceived lack of experience and knowledge. Additionally, there is a severe lack of information and knowledge due to inaccessibility (over 97% of the online content is inaccessible and incompatible with assistive technologies). Due to these barriers, most young people with disabilities never learn about their rights and do not raise their voice for equal access. We see this universally across the globe including in developed countries such as the United States and others. Additional intersectional identities such as race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic background etc. only make it more complex.

 

The GNYPWD, through our technology and community initiatives, brings together, cross-fertilize, and bolster constituencies and networks of youth with disabilities interested in working on the interlinkages between youth, disability, gender, leadership, and meaningful participation to ensure that decision-makers look at all youth relevant agendas with a disability inclusive lens through concerted advocacy efforts led by young leaders with disabilities who have a holistic knowledge of the above mentioned intersectionality. We furthermore provide a network to empower people with disabilities to hold leadership positions at the local, national and international levels. This is accomplished by identifying young persons with disabilities around the world, collaborating with UN actors, and utilizing UN resources and networks to support these young persons with disabilities to conceive, manage, and lead projects, while sharing their learnings with the rest of the network. In the end, this helps create a more interconnected, well-informed, and powerful network of young people with disabilities - a constituency that has otherwise been underrepresented at disability rights conventions and whose work remains fragmented. This also helps inform the UN and other partners of the aspirations of and challenges faced by this crucial and overlooked population.

Here are some examples of our membership and the beneficiaries we serve.

  • A member is a refugee with a locomotor disability who fled the Syrian war and now leverages the network and our tech to develop her capacity through resources from UNITAR, and advocates on the rights of people with disabilities in humanitarian emergencies and crises. This work has led to us now working closely with UN Agencies in Türkiye and Syria.
  • A bipoc neurodiverse queer youth based out of the United States is focused on equal access to resources and disability justice across institutions.
  • A neurodiverse women in Kenya who also happens to be a regional representative is focused on access to sexual and reproductive rights and health for women with disabilities in her country and uses the platform to plan her campaigns and draw support from other members with disabilities.
  • A young man from India is focused on domestic violence and disability.

The overarching idea in all of this is to develop the agency and capacity of people with disabilities to advocate for their rights.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

  • We are a network/team of and for young people with disabilities. Our programs, initiatives and technology are exclusively designed, developed and used by people with disabilities. This ensures that network technology, programming and initiatives follow inclusive design principles, are grounded in the lived experience of our beneficiaries, and are co-designed and co-created with the community.
  • In addition to our lived experience, we are also disability advocates and activists with a collective experience of several decades in the space. Our focus areas have been very diverse-ranging from education to employment, from access to equitable healthcare to sexual and reproductive rights, from infrastructural accessibility to responsible use of AI, from mental health to accessibility in humanitarian crises among others. This broad perspective is extremely helpful to develop and design a system that caters to a range of projects and initiatives.
  • Moreover, some of us are technologists and innovators with past software engineering, AI, human-centered design and digital accessibility experience at top tech companies including Microsoft, IBM, Uber among others.
  • Our focus on intersectionality also ensures that we consider the broad cross-section of disabilities and intersectional identities and circumstances. For instance, access to internet and affordability of assistive technologies are crucial considerations that drive our decisions and design of our systems.
  • Our global reach also means that we take localization very seriously.
  • Finally, our partners bring in expertise both in mainstream and disability-specific mobilization and advocacy to further develop our capacity.
  • It is thus our lived experience, experience in thematic areas and local contexts, expertise in technology and accessibility,, global reach within our community and partnerships wit international organizations and other disability nonprofits that makes us an ideal team to work on this solution and enhance access to resources and opportunities for young people with disabilities to advocate for their rights.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Enable learners to bridge civic knowledge with taking action by understanding real-world problems, building networks, organizing plans for collective action, and exploring prosocial careers.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Bellevue, WA, United States

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • United States

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

500

Why are you applying to Solve?

For nearly the first two years of our existence as a network in 2021 and 2022, GNYPWD has been focused on consultations, community building and organizational structure. Recently, we have identified technology as a great enabler and have invested time and resources in developing our platform which has received great feedback and is currently actively being used by our membership of over 500 young people with disabilities from 80+ countries. However, we are still in the initial stages of our tech development and journey in enabling and empowering more young people with disabilities to learn, develop their capacity and launch campaigns, movements and projects to further disability justice and equity. In this respect, the MIT solve mentors and community can be a great support and sounding board for us. In particular, we believe that assistance in the following aspects would be particularly meaningful for us at this time.

  • Scalable tech development: As we work to increase our membership (target-2,000 by end of 2023), our systems will need to be robust and scalable to handle the increasing traffic. It will be great to leverage tech experts within the community to get guidance on architectural changes we may need to make to our systems.
  • Sustainability strategy: Our use case of connecting people with disabilities is not a one-off use case. People with disabilities control over $8T of disposable income, and there needs to be increased investment in digital accessibility. In this respect, we believe that we can provide our platform for other use cases as well with accessibility features built-in. to start, other disability nonprofits could be our customers. We are actively thinking and discussing about this. To further develop and refine our sustainability strategy, however, we can use help from business mentors.
  • Community: Mainstreaming disability is a key agenda for us. So, we will benefit a lot by engaging with other social entrepreneurs and change-makers working on similar issues, learning from their models and sharing our perspective.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business Model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Kartik Sawhney

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

What makes our solution innovative is the unique combination of accessibility, inclusiveness, co-design with young people with disabilities, and the use of cutting-edge AI technology to provide an unparalleled user experience tailored specifically for the disability advocacy community.

  • Accessibility: Unlike most other platforms, the GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform is designed to be fully accessible, adhering to the highest level of WCAG 2.0 AAA compliance. This ensures that our platform caters to the diverse needs of young people with disabilities, removing barriers that have traditionally limited their access to resources and opportunities. By prioritizing accessibility, we are creating a digital space where young people with disabilities can meaningfully participate and engage in advocacy, education, and networking without encountering the technological obstacles present on other platforms.
  • Inclusiveness: Our platform is co-designed with young people with disabilities, who are directly involved in the decision-making process. This ensures that our platform not only caters to the needs of our target audience but also reflects the lived experiences of young people with disabilities. By incorporating their perspectives, we create a platform that resonates with and empowers young people with disabilities to take charge of their own advocacy and leadership efforts.
  • Easy discoverability of content: The GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform harnesses the power of the latest generative AI technology to provide users with an intuitive and efficient search experience. This allows young people with disabilities to quickly find relevant and actionable content tailored to their specific needs, interests, and projects. By simplifying the process of discovering resources and information, we enable our users to spend more time focusing on advocacy and civic action, rather than getting bogged down in the search for information.
  • Capacity building and empowerment: The platform's focus on building the capacity of young people with disabilities to lead advocacy efforts and influence decision-making on a local, national, and international level sets it apart from other initiatives. By providing the tools, resources, and connections necessary to empower young people with disabilities, our platform is helping to foster a new generation of disability rights leaders and activists. The content is designed to be approachable to people with varied disabilities (with plain/simplified content, audio guides etc.) that provides actionable guidance.
  • Catalyzing broader positive impacts: The GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform has the potential to catalyze change in the broader disability rights space by demonstrating the value and necessity of prioritizing accessibility and inclusivity. As more organizations recognize the benefits of our approach, we anticipate that others will follow suit, leading to a more inclusive and accessible digital landscape for all.
  • Market transformation: Our solution has the potential to change the market by setting a new standard for accessibility and inclusivity in the design and development of digital platforms. By demonstrating the positive impact of a fully accessible platform on the lives and advocacy efforts of young people with disabilities, we hope to inspire other organizations and developers to prioritize accessibility and inclusivity in their work.

In summary, the GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform's innovative approach to accessibility, inclusiveness, and the use of cutting-edge AI technology sets it apart from existing solutions. Our platform not only addresses the unique needs of young people with disabilities but also has the potential to catalyze broader positive impacts in the disability rights space and transform the market by setting a new standard for accessibility and inclusivity in digital platforms.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Over the next year and five years, we aim to achieve transformational impact on the lives of young people with disabilities through the GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform by focusing on the following impact goals:

  • Expand our reach: In the next year, we aim to increase our membership from 500 to 2,000 members, expanding our network to 120+ countries. In the next five years, we aspire to reach over 10,000 members. We plan to achieve this through targeted outreach efforts, collaborations with local and international disability organizations, and by leveraging our UN partnerships to raise awareness about our platform and network.
  • Enhance capacity building: Our goal is to equip at least 80% of our members with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead advocacy campaigns, projects, and initiatives within the next year, and 95% within the next five years. We will achieve this through the continuous development of accessible resources, training programs, webinars, and mentorship opportunities offered on our platform.
  • Increase successful advocacy campaigns and projects: We aim to support the launch and successful execution of at least 100 disability rights campaigns and projects led by our members in the next year, and 1,000 in the next five years. This will be accomplished by providing members with the necessary resources, tools, connections, and opportunities to effectively plan, implement, and evaluate their initiatives.
  • Foster a global community: In the next year, we plan to establish 50 active and engaged regional and country groups on our platform, increasing to 200 in the next five years. These groups will facilitate knowledge exchange, collaboration, and local action among young people with disabilities. This will be achieved through targeted community-building efforts, including localized events and workshops, both online and in-person, as well as the promotion of cross-cultural exchanges among members.
  • Influence policy and decision-making: Over the next year, we aim to engage our members in at least 10 high-level policy and decision-making processes at the local, national, and international levels, and at least 50 processes in the next five years. We will achieve this by leveraging our UN partnerships, collaborating with other disability organizations, and actively participating in relevant events and consultations to ensure that the voices of young people with disabilities are heard and considered in shaping disability policies and programs.
  • Drive innovation in accessibility and inclusivity: We plan to continuously improve our platform's accessibility and inclusivity features, setting a benchmark for other digital platforms. This will be achieved through ongoing research, user feedback, and collaborations with accessibility experts and technology partners.
  • Measure and demonstrate impact: We commit to establishing a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to measure the impact of our platform on the lives of young people with disabilities. In the next year, we will develop key performance indicators, baselines, and targets for our impact goals and collect data to assess our progress. In the next five years, we aim to demonstrate significant improvements in the quality of life, self-advocacy, and civic engagement of our members.

By focusing on these impact goals, we aim to create a lasting, transformational impact on the lives of young people with disabilities, empowering them to take charge of their own advocacy efforts and become influential leaders in the disability rights movement.

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

To measure our progress toward our impact goals, we have established a set of specific indicators that help us assess our effectiveness and impact. These indicators are regularly monitored and evaluated, allowing us to make data-driven decisions, identify areas for improvement, and demonstrate our progress to stakeholders. Some of the key indicators we are using to measure our progress include:

  • Number of members and geographical reach: We track the growth of our membership base and the expansion of our network across different countries. This helps us assess our outreach efforts and monitor our progress toward reaching a more diverse and global community of young people with disabilities.
  • Capacity building and knowledge gain: We measure the percentage of members who have participated in capacity-building activities (e.g., training programs, webinars, mentorship opportunities) and assess the improvement in their knowledge and skills through pre- and post-assessment surveys or tests.
  • Number of advocacy campaigns and projects initiated and completed: We monitor the number of campaigns and projects led by our members, as well as their success rates in achieving their objectives. This helps us evaluate the effectiveness of our platform in supporting members' efforts to drive change in their local communities and beyond.
  • Community engagement and collaboration: We assess the level of engagement within our regional and country groups by tracking the number of active participants, discussions, collaborations, and events organized. This helps us understand the strength of our community-building efforts and identify areas for improvement.
  • Policy and decision-making influence: We track the number of high-level policy and decision-making processes in which our members have actively participated, and the extent to which their inputs have been incorporated into final policies and programs. This helps us gauge our impact on shaping disability policies and programs at various levels.
  • Platform accessibility and inclusivity features: We monitor the implementation of new accessibility and inclusivity features on our platform, as well as the feedback received from our members on their experiences using these features. This helps us understand the extent to which our platform meets the diverse needs of our community and drives innovation in accessibility and inclusivity.
  • Impact on quality of life, self-advocacy, and civic engagement: We use surveys, interviews, and case studies to assess the impact of our platform on members' quality of life, self-advocacy skills, and civic engagement levels. This helps us understand the transformational impact of our solution on the lives of young people with disabilities.

In addition to these indicators, we are committed to establishing a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that includes both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. This framework will help us effectively measure our progress, learn from our successes and challenges, and continuously improve our solution to better serve the needs of young people with disabilities.

By regularly monitoring and evaluating these indicators, we can ensure that our solution remains effective, relevant, and impactful, and that we are making meaningful progress toward our impact goals of empowering young people with disabilities to become influential leaders in the disability rights movement.

What is your theory of change?

Our theory of change is based on the understanding that by providing young people with disabilities with an accessible, inclusive, and empowering platform and community, we can enhance their capacity to become influential leaders and advocates for disability rights. In turn, this will lead to increased representation, meaningful participation, and positive policy changes, ultimately improving the quality of life for young people with disabilities.

Here is a simplified version of our theory of change:

  • Activities: Develop and maintain an accessible and inclusive digital platform, which includes learning resources, community engagement, networking opportunities, and connections to international organizations. Implement capacity-building programs, training sessions, webinars, and mentorship opportunities. Foster a supportive, intersectional, and global community that encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Immediate Outputs: Increased accessibility and availability of relevant learning resources for young people with disabilities. A growing and engaged community of disability rights advocates. Increased capacity and skill development among members through training and capacity-building programs. Enhanced networking and collaboration opportunities between members and international organizations.
  • Short-term Outcomes: Members become more knowledgeable and skilled in disability rights advocacy, civic action, and leadership. Increased self-advocacy and confidence among members. Greater representation and meaningful participation of young people with disabilities in decision-making processes at local, national, and international levels. The initiation of more disability rights campaigns and projects led by our members.
  • Long-term Outcomes: Positive policy changes and improvements in areas such as education, employment, healthcare, and social services that directly impact the quality of life for young people with disabilities. A more inclusive and accessible society where young people with disabilities are empowered to participate fully and have their voices heard.


Our theory of change is supported by several pieces of evidence:


  • Third-party research: Studies have shown that increased access to information, resources, and capacity-building programs can significantly improve the advocacy skills and civic engagement of marginalized populations, including people with disabilities (Source: UNDP, World Bank).
  • Findings from our own process and impact evaluations: We have observed that our members demonstrate improved knowledge, skills, and confidence after participating in our capacity-building programs, and many have gone on to initiate campaigns and projects in their local communities.
  • Data from interviews with our target population: Feedback from our members indicates that they value the accessibility and inclusivity of our platform, as well as the opportunities for networking and collaboration, which have helped them become more effective advocates for disability rights.


By illustrating these logical links between our activities, outputs, and outcomes, our theory of change serves as a guiding framework that ensures our solution remains focused on achieving the desired impact: empowering young people with disabilities to become influential leaders and advocates for disability rights, ultimately leading to a more inclusive and accessible society.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The core technology that powers our solution, the GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform, is a combination of cutting-edge digital accessibility features, AI-powered content discovery and conversion, real-time language translation, and cross-platform integration.

  • Digital accessibility: The platform is designed to be fully accessible and compliant with WCAG 2.0 AAA standards, ensuring that it caters to a wide range of disabilities. This includes features like adjustable font size and contrast, keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, simplified language and alternative text for images.
  • AI-powered content discovery and conversion: To help users easily find relevant content for their projects and campaigns, we utilize the latest generative AI models (OpenAI's GPT series) to power our natural language search feature. Additionally, AI-powered technology is used to automatically convert all resources into accessible formats (tagged accessible PDFs, audio, Microsoft Word files, etc.).
  • Real-time language translation: Recognizing the importance of supporting a global community, our platform integrates real-time translation services, enabling users to access content in over 100 languages, thus breaking down language barriers and promoting cross-cultural collaboration.
  • Cross-platform integration: To ensure our solution reaches the most underrepresented members of the disability community, we are working on integrating the platform's functionality with other communication channels like SMS/IVR and WhatsApp. This allows users with limited internet access to participate in discussions, access resources, and collaborate with others.

By harnessing these core technologies, the GNYPWD Accessible Connect platform provides an innovative, inclusive, and empowering solution that enables young people with disabilities to learn, connect, and advocate for their rights. The platform's accessible design, coupled with advanced AI-driven features and cross-platform integration, creates a unique and transformative tool that addresses the specific needs of our target population and fosters a global community of disability rights advocates.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Software and Mobile Applications
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?

5 full-time, 5 part-time

How long have you been working on your solution?

8 months on the technical solution

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Our approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) into our work is multifaceted, involving both our organizational structure and the solutions we develop.

  • Diverse leadership team: We take pride in the diversity of our leadership team, which is composed of young people with various disabilities and intersectional identities from different parts of the world. This representation ensures that our work is grounded in a wide range of lived experiences and perspectives, enabling us to address the unique challenges faced by our target population more effectively.
  • Co-design and co-creation: Our platform and initiatives are exclusively designed, developed, and used by people with disabilities. This approach ensures that our solutions follow inclusive design principles and are grounded in the lived experiences of our beneficiaries. By involving young people with disabilities in the design process, we create a sense of ownership and empowerment within the community.
  • Focus on intersectionality: We recognize that intersectional identities such as race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic background can compound the challenges faced by people with disabilities. Our platform and initiatives prioritize understanding and addressing these complexities to ensure that we cater to the broad cross-section of disabilities and intersectional circumstances.
  • Accessibility and affordability: We are committed to making our platform and resources accessible to all, regardless of their financial means or access to technology. This includes ensuring our platform is compatible with assistive technologies, offering low-bandwidth alternatives, and exploring integration with other communication channels like SMS/IVR and WhatsApp.
  • Capacity building and mentorship: Our organization supports the growth and development of young people with disabilities by providing capacity-building opportunities and mentorship. We actively seek partnerships with international organizations and other disability nonprofits to provide resources, training, and networking opportunities for our members, with a focus on supporting marginalized and underrepresented communities.
  • Continuous improvement: We actively seek feedback from our members and the broader disability community to identify areas where we can improve our DEI practices. This includes regular audits, surveys, and evaluations to ensure that our solutions remain relevant, accessible, and inclusive.
  • Education and awareness: We recognize the importance of educating our team, partners, and stakeholders on DEI topics. We provide training and resources to increase understanding and promote a culture of inclusivity and equity within our organization and beyond.

By prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our work, we are not only addressing the unique challenges faced by young people with disabilities but also fostering an environment where their voices are heard, respected, and valued. This approach enables us to create a more interconnected, well-informed, and powerful network of young disability rights advocates, ultimately driving positive change for the community at large.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our business model focuses on providing value to our target population of young people with disabilities while ensuring financial sustainability through licensing our accessible platform to other organizations and stakeholders.

Key customers and beneficiaries:

  • Young people with disabilities: Our primary beneficiaries are young people with disabilities who need a platform to access resources, connect with peers, and advocate for their rights. Our platform offers them an accessible, inclusive, and empowering space designed specifically to cater to their needs.
  • Organizations working with disabilities: Nonprofits, governmental agencies, and other organizations that work with disability rights can benefit from our platform's accessibility features and extensive network of young disability rights advocates.


Products and services:


  • Accessible platform: Our platform offers a range of accessibility features that cater to various disabilities and intersectional identities, making it a valuable tool for organizations working with diverse populations. Features include compatibility with assistive technologies, localization, and low-bandwidth options.
  • Resource repository: Our platform hosts a comprehensive collection of resources related to disability rights, advocacy, leadership, and meaningful participation. These resources can be easily discovered and accessed by users, empowering them with the knowledge and tools to advocate for their rights.
  • Networking and collaboration: Our platform fosters connections among young people with disabilities, allowing them to collaborate, share experiences, and provide mutual support. It also offers organizations an opportunity to tap into a global network of young disability rights advocates.
  • Capacity building and mentorship: We provide capacity-building opportunities and mentorship for our members through partnerships with international organizations and other disability nonprofits. This creates value for our beneficiaries and enhances the impact of our platform.
  • Customization and integration: We offer the ability to customize and integrate our platform with other systems to meet the specific needs of organizations working with disability rights, making it an attractive solution for various stakeholders.


Revenue generation: 


  • Licensing the platform: We generate revenue by licensing our accessible platform to other organizations and stakeholders, who can use it to serve their own communities or enhance their existing services. This not only provides us with a sustainable source of income but also amplifies the impact of our work by making our platform accessible to a broader audience.
  • Consulting and training services: We offer consulting and training services to organizations on accessible technology, inclusive design, and disability rights advocacy. This additional revenue stream helps support our core operations while also promoting greater accessibility and inclusivity across various sectors.


Our business model enables us to provide value to young people with disabilities and organizations working in the disability rights space while ensuring financial sustainability through platform licensing and additional services. By offering an accessible, inclusive, and empowering solution, we can drive positive change for our target population and promote a more equitable world for all.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

Our plan for financial sustainability involves a combination of diverse revenue streams that will support our core operations, cover our expenses, and enable us to expand our impact. Our approach includes:

  • Licensing the platform: Licensing our accessible platform to nonprofits, governmental agencies, and other organizations working with disability rights will be a primary revenue stream. These organizations can benefit from our platform's accessibility features and extensive network of young disability rights advocates. By offering customization and integration options, we make our platform an attractive and adaptable solution for various stakeholders.
  • Consulting and training services: We will offer consulting and training services to organizations on accessible technology, inclusive design, and disability rights advocacy. This additional revenue stream not only promotes greater accessibility and inclusivity across various sectors but also supports our core operations.
  • Grants and donations: While we work towards increasing our earned income through platform licensing and consulting services, we will continue to seek grants and donations from foundations, corporations, and individual donors who support our mission. These funds will be used to cover operational costs, develop new features and resources, and expand our reach to more young people with disabilities.
  • Service contracts with governments: Partnering with local, regional, and national governments to provide our platform and services can help secure long-term funding. Governments can benefit from our expertise in accessibility, inclusive design, and advocacy to develop policies and initiatives that better serve people with disabilities.
  • Partnerships and collaborations: We will seek partnerships and collaborations with international organizations, disability nonprofits, and other stakeholders in the disability rights space. These partnerships can provide financial support, capacity-building opportunities, and access to networks and resources that help us grow our impact.
  • Fundraising events and campaigns: We will organize fundraising events and campaigns to engage our supporters and raise funds for our initiatives. These events could include webinars, workshops, conferences, and online crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Impact investments: As our platform continues to grow and demonstrate measurable impact, we may explore opportunities for raising impact investment capital from investors who share our mission and vision.

By diversifying our revenue streams and cultivating long-term partnerships, we aim to achieve financial sustainability and continue to provide accessible, inclusive, and empowering solutions to young people with disabilities. This comprehensive approach will enable us to scale our impact, drive positive change, and promote a more equitable world for all.

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

Our financial sustainability plan has already shown signs of success, as evidenced by the support we have received in the form of grants, partnerships, and in-kind contributions. Some notable examples include:

  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Grant: We received a grant from the United Nations Population Fund for the development of our accessible platform. This grant has enabled us to design, develop, and launch our platform to serve young people with disabilities. The funds have not only covered the initial development costs but have also helped us improve the platform's accessibility features and expand its reach.
  • Cross-platform compatibility support: The same UNFPA grant is also enabling us to work on making our platform compatible with various communication channels such as SMS, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), and WhatsApp. This cross-platform compatibility ensures that our solution is more accessible and user-friendly for a wider audience, especially those with limited internet access or in areas with low connectivity.
  • Government of Finland support: We have received financial support from the government of Finland for our consultations, meetings, and community-building exercises. This support has played a crucial role in the growth and development of our organization, enabling us to engage with our target beneficiaries effectively and create a strong community of young people with disabilities.
  • In-kind support from Microsoft: We have received in-kind support from Microsoft for our innovation-related work, which has provided us with valuable resources such as software, hardware, and technical expertise. This support has been instrumental in the development and improvement of our platform, allowing us to leverage cutting-edge technology and accessibility features.
  • Partnerships with disability organizations and UN agencies: We have formed partnerships with various disability organizations and United Nations agencies, such as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), which have contributed to our mission both financially and through capacity-building support. These partnerships have allowed us to tap into additional resources, networks, and expertise, further strengthening our ability to serve our target beneficiaries.
  • Discussions with the government of Norway: We are currently in discussions with the government of Norway to explore potential funding opportunities and partnerships that can help scale our impact and enhance our financial sustainability.

While these achievements provide a strong foundation for our financial sustainability, we recognize the need to continually develop and diversify our revenue streams. Moving forward, we will focus on expanding our platform licensing, consulting and training services, and exploring new partnerships and collaborations. We are confident that our efforts to date demonstrate our commitment to financial sustainability and our ability to successfully implement and scale our solution to create a meaningful impact on the lives of young people with disabilities.

Solution Team

 
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