Human Rights & Reconciliation Disability

Making Life Better for People With Disabilities

Republic of Ireland | Northern Ireland | 2000 - 2014

Atlantic’s grantmaking on behalf of people with disabilities has focused on ensuring their rights are being fully met and making the public and government aware of the discrimination they experience when their needs are ignored.

In both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the foundation supported grantees to work with people with disabilities, service providers and government to design customized programs and services to fit the needs and abilities of each individual. Some of the work also involved helping people with disabilities develop the capacity to advocate for themselves so that policymakers and government officials could hear firsthand about challenges they face and what they thought were the best ways to address them.

Watch: Disability Action, an Atlantic grantee, works to promote the rights of disabled people, who account for one in five people in Northern Ireland, due in part to the region's history of violent conflict.

What We Learned From This Work

  1. Independent organizations can help government implement new, innovative policies and services and at a sufficient scale.

  2. Advocacy organizations can be most effective when foundations provide support the groups themselves say they need such as developing specific skills or building overall capacity.

  3. To produce the best outcomes, funders and advocates need to allow sufficient time and resources to effect substantial policy change.

Different Pathways to Success

Here are different ways Atlantic grantees have worked on behalf of people with disabilities.

Ensuring Compliance

Atlantic grantees, including The Centre for Disability Law & Policy, in Ireland monitored government policy to ensure compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The 2008 convention set minimum standards for civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights for people with disabilities.

Prevailing in Court

The Law Centre in Northern Ireland successfully sued on behalf of an adult with a learning disability who had been waiting six years to be moved from a hospital into the community. The ruling also mandated routine assessments to determine if other hospitalized adults would be better served in the community.

Developing New Service Models

In Ireland, support from Atlantic enabled Genio to develop a new service model that enables people with disabilities to make their own decisions and direct their own lives, and when necessary, with the assistance of an advocate or family member.

Summaries of Case Studies, Evaluations & Reports

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