My Opinion My Vote!

My Opinion, My Vote (MOTE) is a European Project which aims to empower people with learning disabilities through active citizenship and participation in political elections.

It is characteristic of a modern democracy that all adult citizens have an equal opportunity to exercise active political influence. Political decisions influence the lives of people with learning disabilities in the same way as they influence the lives of the general population. Moreover, when looked upon as a group, people with learning disabilities represent a percentage of the population whose life conditions are most dependent on political decisions; nevertheless, people with learning disabilities represent a group in society who are most frequently excluded from the political process.

British and Swedish surveys show that the level of participation in elections by people with learning disabilities is very low compared with the rest of the population (Keely, 2008; Kjellberg, 2002).

A Danish survey points out that many persons with learning disabilities do not experience a natural expectation of having an opinion of their own or being responsible for themselves during their upbringing or at school (Holmskov & Skov, 2007).

mote-logo

General Objectives:

    • To educate people with learning disabilities about their political rights.
    • To encourage people with learning disabilities to form and express an informed opinion / decision during local, national and European elections and referenda.

 

Specific Objectives:

    • To investigate the extent to which adults with learning disabilities participate in the political process in the six member states*.
    • To investigate the European/national/local citizenship awareness of the target group and to identify examples of good practice that, have already been experimented in the same field, with this or other target groups.
    • To design, develop and test an educational programme (on people with learning disabilities and professionals together) comprising two modules containing ten educational units.
    • To set up a European pilot group of adults with learning disabilities who will meet three times over the course of the project and contribute to the design and testing of project outcomes.
    • To launch an awareness raising campaign, utilising specific tools to address people with learning disabilities, their families, professionals, decision makers, and political parties.
    • To foster the dissemination and exploitation of results to as many people with learning disabilities as possible, through setting up a permanent monitoring committee managed by the project partners.

 

Main outcomes

    • Survey on ” Existing good practices of education surrounding the exercising of political rights of people with learning disabilities” is based on the results of the interviews to 75 schools, institutions, associations working in the field and 49 families with a person with intellectual disabilities. The survey has been carried out in the 6 members States represented in the project.
    • An education programme comprising of ten training units was designed, tested and published (available to download on www.myopiniomyvote.eu. Best practice examples of teaching methodologies with people with learning disabilities are provided T
    • Four learning objects (available for download from www.myopinionmyvote.eu which can be used directly by people with learning disabilities, with or without the support of another person. 
    • Brochures, posters and banners for awareness raising campaigns.
    • www.myopinionmyvote.eu web site
    • Guidelines for making political manifestos more user friendly (easy to read standards) and examples of political platforms of the 5 main European groups already translated into an easy-to-read format.
    • A qualitative interview survey of three rounds among twenty people with learning disabilities from each participating country (total = 120 interviewees) was carried out during the project period. This interview survey identified trends in people with learning disabilities’ experience of elections and politics in general. Specifically it was identified that people with learning disabilities found political information difficult to source and understand. The interview survey had the dual purpose of also measuring the effectiveness of the project. The survey concluded that the MOTE education programme provided an effective and language accessible method for teaching people with learning disabilities about politics. ‘My Opinion My Vote’ has since reached approximately 1000 people with learning disability and 4000 facilitators (carers, professionals and decision makers).

 

The Target Group

People with learning disabilities, their families, professionals, political parties and decision makers.

Amount and Profile of Participants

Sixteen professionals and 120 adults with learning disability participated in the project.

Disability organisations and universities across six European countries* with combined expertise in political science, disability rights, sociology, human rights law, language accessibility (speech & language) teaching and psychology participated in the My Opinion, My Vote Project.

*Italy, Ireland, Denmark, Malta, Hungary and Spain.

Period and Place where the Project took place

The project was completed over a two year period (2008 – 2010). Co-ordination meetings were held in Malta (October 2008), Copenhagen (July 2009) and Barcelona (September 2010). User Meetings were held in Brussels (January 2009), Budapest (October 2009) and Rome (May 2010).

Concrete Outcomes of the Project

    • Collaboration with European and national public institutions
    • Collaboration with MEPs and political groups/parties
    • Collaboration with EU Commission Unit for people with disabilities
    • Exchange of information with and encouragement from the Council of Europe
    • Collaboration with the main European disability organisations
    • The MOTE website with in excess 8000 visits in two years.
    • Educational programme adopted by many schools, organisations and community groups.
    • More than 40 press cutting from across Europe.

 

MOTE Locations – 2016 / 2017

MOTE Year 1
– Tralee, Co. Kerry
– Naas, Co.Kildare
– Dublin

MOTE Year 2
– Cavan
– Monaghan

Follow-up (October 2010 – Present)

Dissemination and exploitation of results to as many people with learning disabilities as possible, through setting up a permanent monitoring committee managed by the project partners.

For more information, please contact Gráinne de Paor, National Resource Team.

Project Team: Dr. Paola Vulterini (Project Manager), Gráinne Murphy (DSI), Pat Clarke (DSI), May Gannon (DSI), Anna Contardi (AIPD), Carlotta Leonori (AIPD), Laura Krauel (AURA), Davis Simo’ Pinatella (Ramon Llull University, Spain), Camilla Jydebjerg & Tina Mou Jakobsen (Denmark), Louisa Grech & Elena Tanti Burlo (Malta).

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