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.
Background to the Collaboration
In October 2008, a UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement was established at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway). The UNESCO Chair, the first to be awarded in the Republic of Ireland, is housed in the Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) at the School of Political Science and Sociology. Professor Pat Dolan, Director and Cofounder of the CFRC, has been appointed as the Chairholder. While the Chair’s activities for 2010-2013 will centre on research, teaching, policy and advocacy and programmatic development and quality assurance, its overarching goal is to achieve better outcomes for children and youth, with the mechanism of civic engagement offering great potential for accomplishing this objective. The Chair will focus on an exchange of learning among national and international University partners and affiliated centres and organisations working with and for children and youth. The Chair’s engagement with stakeholders will be underpinned by the principle of ‘reciprocity’ and respect among all members.
Partnership with the National Federation
There is a clear synergy between the UNESCO Chair’s Strategic Plan 2010-2013 and the National Federation Research Strategy in the development of quality research to support the civic engagement of children and youth with intellectual disabilities in Ireland. The National Federation and the UNESCO programme have similar values and principles in supporting children and families and a partnership with the programme has the potential to yield very positive outcomes for people with an intellectual disability and their families in Ireland. As a national organisation of service providers, with a key commitment to actively engage with people who avail of intellectual disability services and their families, the National Federation are in a position to drive and influence positive change for people’s lives. One of the key fundamentals for influencing change is the availability of an evidence base which is not currently available in Ireland.
Aim and Objectives of the Collaboration
The overarching aim of the collaboration is to support the civic engagement of people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland.
Objectives of the collaboration include:
- Continuing to develop research proposals to support the development of an evidence base which will have the potential to influence positive change in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families
- Identifying a framework for positive civic engagement for people with intellectual disabilities
- Supporting the research and teaching strategies of the UNESCO Chair and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies
- Sharing of best practice information
- Supporting the dissemination of joint research findings, through high quality publications, websites and other dissemination activities
- Supporting the inclusion of intellectual disability issues in research studies
- Development of joint funding applications for future collaborations
- Providing research opportunities associated with Doctoral and Masters programmes
- Fostering national and international cooperation and collaboration
A number of collaborative projects have been agreed between the UNESCO Chair and the National Federation:
Further details of the partnership agreement are available here.