Supporting Civic Engagement and Community Inclusion
The National Federation is committed to enabling capacity building in member organisations which will promote the inclusion, rights, independence and choice of people with intellectual disability within their own communities and within services provided by National Federation Member Organisations.
The National Federation Intellectual Disability Research Strategy 2008-2013, which sets out a vision for the research activities of the National Federation for the next six years, was developed through extensive consultation with all stakeholders in the disability community, including consultation with the Community Participation & Inclusion Sub-Committee, the Seasamh Parliament and the Inclusive Research Network. Research Priority No. 11 of the research strategy outlines the commitment of the National Federation to “consult with and listen to people who use the services through research initiatives such as the Inclusive Research Network and continue to develop experience and expertise in participatory research methodologies”. Development of these research approaches will ensure the participation of people with intellectual disability in research activities of relevance to them. Priority 11 is an overarching priority and the process of listening to and engaging effectively with people who use services is applicable across all the priorities of the strategy.
In January 2010, the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies was delighted to sign a partnership agreement with the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Galway to support the civic engagement of children and youth with intellectual disabilities in Ireland. This partnership has the potential to yield very positive outcomes for people with an intellectual disability and their families in Ireland.
The social inclusion objectives of the National Federation are supported by a very active and enthusiastic Community Participation & Inclusion Sub-Committee. This is an inclusive group, comprised of people who avail of intellectual disability services and staff from services. The purpose of the group is to explore, identify and develop strategies for promoting inclusive communities and increasing the participation of people with intellectual disabilities within their communities. The social inclusion priorities of the National Federation are also supported by a very committed and expert Volunteering Sub-Committee.
The National Federation is also represented on a National Working Group which is developing guidelines to make information accessible for all people with disabilities and people who may not have English as their first language. The group aims to publish the guidelines in 2010.