AXSChat Podcast

AXSChat Podcast with WeThe15 - Sumita Kunashakaran from the Zero Project & Craig Spence from the International Paralympic Committee

January 10, 2022 Antonio Santos, Debra Ruh, Neil Milliken talk with Sumita Kunashakaran and Craig Spence
AXSChat Podcast
AXSChat Podcast with WeThe15 - Sumita Kunashakaran from the Zero Project & Craig Spence from the International Paralympic Committee
Show Notes Transcript


Sumita Kunashakaran

Zero Project Manager, Civil Society

Sumita Kunashakaran is the Manager of Civil Society outreach at the Zero Project. In effect, she manages the civil society engagement portfolio at the Zero Project, which boasts partners in over 180 countries. In addition, she actively manages the Impact Transfer program, a joint program between the Essl Foundation, Fundación Descúbreme and Ashoka. The program is the first accelerator to support the internationalization of innovative disability solutions for a barrier-free world.

 Sumita is the former Advocacy Lead with the Disabled People’s Association (DPA) based in Singapore. As such, she is interested in policy matters regarding intersectionalities and marginalised communities. She led the working group for Singapore’s first ever parallel report for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and has also published several papers for Universal Periodic Review (UPR) processes, Gender Equality Reports, and position statements for policy and legislative issues in Singapore and ASEAN. With her background in Terrorism and Security, her past research has also been featured by the Contemporary Security Policy journal.

 Sumita Kunashakaran holds an M.Sc. in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

 

 Craig Spence

Chief Brand and Communications Officer at International Paralympic Committee

 Spence previously worked as communications manager for the Rugby Football League (RFL) until May. Within the IPC he is responsible for the creation and implementation of a comprehensive communications strategy as well as acting as the official spokesperson for the organization.

 Educated at the University of Central Lancashire, Spence also has experience working as an account manager at public relations agency Ptarmigan and PR executive at major UK-based water company Yorkshire Water.


Email 

Preliminary transcript

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Neil Milliken: hello, and welcome to axschat, the first thing says chapter 2022 and we're delighted to have a double header so we have soo can check around.

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Neil Milliken: And Craig Spence and Su you're from the zero project and Craig is from the International Olympic Committee So how do we bring these two together what brings these two together well it's 13 more things because it's actually we the so welcome both of you.

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Neil Milliken: delighted to have you with us.

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Neil Milliken: Should we go ladies first so would you like.

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Su (Zero Project): Thank you, Neil, hi nice to meet you and just by way of introduction, my name is Sue can check around and I'm the civil society manager with this project.

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Su (Zero Project): And essentially What this means is I work globally with a lot of organizations that are working on the ground, a lot of grassroots initiatives.

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Su (Zero Project): and understanding what civil society really bring to the table when it comes to a disability sector.

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Neil Milliken: Great.

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Craig Spence: hi thanks Neil, my name is Craig expense chief brand and communications officer for the International Olympic Committee so working primarily on the organization of the Paralympic Games so last year we'd live in Tokyo.

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Craig Spence: Only a matter of days away from Beijing 2022.

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Craig Spence: So that's my day job you could say, and then, together with the international disability alliance and all the other international organizations, we brought in, we launched with a 15 last August, and we will be continuing it over the next decade, so be great to talk to you about it today.

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Neil Milliken: So i'm amazed that you found time to talk to us today with the Winter Games coming up because knowing the IPC as I do, because we work with them in my day job there's usually.

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Neil Milliken: A flurry of activity in the in the prelude to the game, so thank you for taking the time out to join us today.

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Neil Milliken: So, can you explain a little more about we the 15 because it's a it's a it's a long term project and it came out of some of the stuff with with the obesity, have been doing and I know the background, and we know the background, but for our audience, can you explain what we, the 15 minutes.

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Craig Spence: yeah well, we, the 15 came about when we looked at the impact of the Paralympic Games has on society and the Paralympic Games has grown probably exponentially in the last decade and he's now the world's third biggest sporting event.

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Craig Spence: Now what we wanted to do was how can we use this platform to really engage in trigger wider change in society, not just in the host country that's hosting the Paralympic Games, but but globally.

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Craig Spence: And we decided well if you want to change the world, we need to do it together it's a lot easier if you bring in lots of other organizations so So what we did with really 15 was bring together.

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Craig Spence: 19 international organizations who all share our passion for driving social inclusion.

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Craig Spence: And we launched, we, the 15 in August we the 15 aims to be the world's biggest global disability rights campaign transforming the lives of the world 1.2 billion persons with disabilities and.

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Craig Spence: we're delighted to have zero projects on board with us and and yeah we we launched it around the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games last year, using the platform of.

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Craig Spence: The global awareness of the Games, and now that we've got the launch out out of the way now the hard work begins, and now the changing of the world begins and that's what we were aiming to do starting this year.

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Neil Milliken: Excellent so I know, there was a question so cute.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): Thank you, I love with a 15 and I, and I, and I totally agree with what you said Craig we're let's all change the world together and we're big fans of zero project we love what's your projects been doing for I forget how many years has zero project been in existence.

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Su (Zero Project): And so the Zero Project was in was initiated in 2008 so that's quite a few years now.

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Su (Zero Project): and every year we change up the.

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Su (Zero Project): themes we touch on employment be taught to touch on accessibility to touch on independent living in political participation, as well as on education as well, so this kind of touches on a lot of assistive technologies and assistive innovations around the world, so since 2008.

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Su (Zero Project): very exciting.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): To you give awards to the people around the world, especially focusing on the developing countries of people that are making a difference, I really appreciate that as well.

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Su (Zero Project): Absolutely, and we actually do have the server that conference.

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Su (Zero Project): kicking off on the 23rd of every so.

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Su (Zero Project): Only a few weeks away.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): The theme this year.

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Su (Zero Project): This is going to be an accessibility, so we have identified 76 awardees from all around the world rather exciting yeah because we have had some new countries coming in from the global South and so quite a few new economies that we're looking into some pretty nothing.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): And is going to be it's exciting, I have a quick question for Greg to, and I know it's not a quick question but Craig.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I was really surprised when we were talking before the interview of the numbers that y'all got in the way that 15 campaign.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I was just shocked, with the numbers we're very proud at access chat that we have some amazing numbers I forget what it is 12 million impressions on Twitter and then Craig told me his number so.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I just thought I was.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): fascinated with the numbers so maybe you could share that with the audience.

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Craig Spence: yeah the numbers aren't my numbers, the numbers are a collective team effort and shows the power of international organizations working together so.

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Craig Spence: So the way to 15 launch during the three weeks that we put it all together the campaign film that we launched in 10 different languages.

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Craig Spence: has been viewed by three quarters of a billion people around the world, we set ourselves a target of half a billion so to to exceed that figure.

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Craig Spence: Further has been great I mean that was helped by playing out the campaign film in the opening or closing ceremonies of Tokyo 2020 so massive global audiences there.

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Craig Spence: In terms of Twitter we've had 2.4 billion impressions on Twitter for the week of 15 hashtag and that's been really amplified for a partnership with Twitter.

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Craig Spence: And then what's been hugely successful as being the media relations campaign so we worked with, and this is what's so joyous about rid of 15 is three.

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Craig Spence: leading international PR agencies gave up their time to support the the 15 in addition to Adam and Eve, who created the campaign.

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Craig Spence: The media coverage has reached 6.7 billion people at 80% of the global population have heard about the campaign now it's always good when you hear those metrics and.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): You feel.

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Craig Spence: You put your chest out but what's really important is we've then measured awareness of the campaign so we've got the PR metrics that measure one thing and then another agency has looked as awareness of the campaign.

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Craig Spence: 21% global awareness of the wheeler 15 campaign that's pretty amazing, bearing in mind, we only launched it on the 19th of August so we've got a really good platform from which to build with now for the next decade, so the hard work begins now.

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Neil Milliken: I know you've got a.

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Neil Milliken: question, so I just wanted to compliment you on your logo.

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Neil Milliken: Because your logo, is one of the nicest and simplest and clear as logos that i've had the pleasure of viewing for a long time, I think it's really nice and really meaningful, so I just wanted to say that, before I forgot over to you.

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Antonio Santos: Thank you.

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Antonio Santos: Having.

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Antonio Santos: Having the having the Olympic Games and the Paralympics as a reference, particularly in the way all the different.

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Antonio Santos: communities from different countries, promote their athletes they've got some countries are particularly good at doing that or no over the 12 months over nope.

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Antonio Santos: No from from the end of games to the beginning of next one of the next games are always doing that in a very know they're really good doing it other communities are not as good.

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Antonio Santos: As doing it, and in the end the athletes are the ones who end up losing they they might lose opportunities for sponsorships.

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Antonio Santos: They might lose business opportunities or even opportunities for work, what I would like to hear from us to and Greg is out, we can support can choose who are not as strong as promoting the athletes to come forward and improve in order to benefit the athletes in the overall.

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Craig Spence: yeah I mean.

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Craig Spence: socialite jumping on this one.

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Craig Spence: So, if you look at the national Paralympic images we've got 183 around the world, they differ in size and scale so in the global North you've got some big big players, like the USA.

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Craig Spence: USA Olympic and Paralympic committee you've got Paralympics the British Parliament association in Great Britain, so we've got some real big players who are well resourced.

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Craig Spence: Who then can work with their National Federation is to really raise the profile of their athlete communities around the world, so that's at the top end of the spectrum.

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Craig Spence: or the other end of the spectrum in the global South you have many national Paralympic committee is where you've got one person who's probably a volunteer.

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Craig Spence: who's doing everything so they're doing the governance of the national Paralympic committee sometimes they're even the coach.

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Craig Spence: And even in in some countries they're even the athlete so they're doing absolutely everything.

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Craig Spence: Now, what we want to try to is, is where the IPC we do a development program where we don't give these national Paralympic committees cash.

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Craig Spence: What we do is we give them the skills to resource up so they can secure additional government funding, so they can go out and develop marketing plans and bring in sponsors.

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Craig Spence: Then they can start to amplify what their athletes do, but they they've got to take it on a it's a long journey.

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Craig Spence: Now, what we can do all together is in the same way that we've brought in a number of agencies who have worked free of charge on with.

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Craig Spence: for the common good of developing a better society for all that's where I think we can all add value is is can we work with some of these smaller national apartment but committees and offer our expertise.

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Craig Spence: To try and make them stronger, so that they can bring more athletes into the pool of talent, who compete at the games and then, when those athletes become well known.

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Craig Spence: Then they can become the advocates for change and use their profile to really highlight.

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Craig Spence: The issues of persons with disabilities around the world, face and that's one of the things about we the 15 is.

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Craig Spence: We don't want the world just to think that every person with a disability is a paralympian because that is far from the case, what we want to do is use the.

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Craig Spence: The profile of the athletes and the platforms that they perform on to really use their profiles to champion and change the world for the for the 1.2 billion and it's important that we do.

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Su (Zero Project): And just just add on to what Craig has mentioned, I think the beauty of the week of 15 is that.

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Su (Zero Project): When becomes talking about sport it's it takes away the politicizing of disability, I think, and it opens up the conversations and it opens up the opportunities for people to discover new new innovations new new new ideas new thoughts and.

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Su (Zero Project): In talking about the global South and how does your project comes in on this is that we identify very low tech innovations that athletes can tap on we identify.

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Su (Zero Project): Organizations that will our programs for free the ethics can reach out to and all of this, I think, goes beyond the the sporting sporting arena as well.

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Su (Zero Project): It goes into access dedication, it talks about employment and talks about living independently and like Craig mentioned, not everyone is in a paralympian and I think.

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Su (Zero Project): that's that's the critical part that we need to identify as well that not everyone.

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Su (Zero Project): has to compete in the Olympics it's about the day to day lives, and I think if we watched the the absolutely amazing video.

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Su (Zero Project): That was launched as part of the way the 15 campaigns it, it shows this It shows from living day to day going to school going to work falling in love being being human, I think, is what is so critical about this.

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Su (Zero Project): And this is where the zero credit comes in and identifying these stories as well, and I think sharing these stories is such a powerful medium of sharing experiences as well, so that's it's something that we're super excited about and coming into the next decade for this campaign.

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Neil Milliken: And of course we have 15 is representative for the 15th of the global population, and when I was mentioning the logo before in case you haven't seen it it's essentially a pie chart with our movement pointing upwards.

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Neil Milliken: Representing that 15% I think it's it's it's really super and and I, like the fact that it's a long term campaign because one of the things that that we've observed with the.

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Neil Milliken: Olympics and the Paralympics is that your engagement naturally peaks and troughs with with the game so so that.

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Neil Milliken: Consistency of campaign is really nice that engagement with the Community is super as a person with a disability, that would never qualified to be apparently not just on grounds that i'm porky and overweight and over.

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Neil Milliken: Because my disabilities or cognitive it's Nice that this is also a campaign that represents all disabilities as well, so.

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Neil Milliken: What are what are some of the things that you've got lined up to to engage the the wider community and how do we really get people to sort of identify with the campaign and with the aims of the campaign over the next coming decade.

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Craig Spence: Well that's where the hard work begins.

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Craig Spence: So at the global disability summit in February will be announcing how the whole world can get involved and get engaged in the campaign, I dare say that that.

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Craig Spence: For the launch was so successful in August far more successful than we ever expected and.

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Craig Spence: And we've had to go slightly back to the drawing board, because we had so many organizations, whether it was governments cities businesses.

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Craig Spence: or even local organizations like the local baker saying I love it, what is it, I can do, how can I get involved.

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Craig Spence: So what we'll be announcing in February and then using the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games as as basically the big amplifier fire is.

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Craig Spence: will be announcing how anyone in the world can get involved in be the 15 and make a commitment on what they are going to do.

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Craig Spence: to drive inclusion for the world's 1.2 billion persons with disabilities, so we're trying to work out the most simple mechanic possible.

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Craig Spence: That also complements the existing work that's out there, what we don't want to do with.

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Craig Spence: Is is say what's gone before, is is wrong because it's not because what's can be far as has been fantastic and what we need to do.

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Craig Spence: Is, we need to align with all the great work that's going on there and bring it together and US we're the 15 is this champion brand and this Trojan horse.

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Craig Spence: That takes the 15% with us and feels like it's This is our movement, this is our representation what we over the next 10 years constantly job the 85% without disabilities in the ribs saying.

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Craig Spence: Come on.

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Craig Spence: let's provoke some conversations let's provoke some change and that's what we aim to do over the next decade so so in February will announce how people can get involved we've got some really exciting plans lined up.

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Craig Spence: And then also will be we still want to raise awareness and we'd have 50 so all of the figures from the launcher beyond our wildest dreams.

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Craig Spence: Just by people realizing 15% of society has a disabilities provoked so many conversations we've not asked anyone to do anything yet.

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Craig Spence: But we've sparked lots of thoughts lots of conversations about you know when it comes to inclusion we've done lots of great things on sexual orientation, gender and ethnicity.

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Craig Spence: You know what we've totally forgot about disability, so we want to really initiate change now and so you'll see lots more about how we can raise awareness.

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Craig Spence: And then, as we progress over the years, using obviously not just the Paralympic Games, but Special Olympics invictus games def Olympics.

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Craig Spence: we're also going to be using those sport events to help change the narrative as well, so you'll see some new campaign elements around the parish Paralympics.

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Craig Spence: In 24 the milano 2026 Paralympic winter games in 26 and the La 2028 Paralympics so we've got very ambitious plans and we aim to deliver it and take 1.2 billion people with us.

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Neil Milliken: and

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Neil Milliken: We.

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Neil Milliken: As people may know Anthony and I both work that awesome and also work with the IPC is a partner we've been doing stuff internally.

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Neil Milliken: So we took we the 15 and we used it as the way to engage our global workforce with our disposal network, so we run internal campaigns webinars when we using engagement with the global campaign externally to drive internal engagement and.

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Neil Milliken: As part of what we're doing we've created these little video vignettes which which airing out 15 seconds of fame.

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Neil Milliken: Where we get people talking about their connection to disability why they support adapt, which is our employee network, and we, the 15 so.

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Neil Milliken: So we found it useful to take something where you have the global recognition and use that to create a culture where people feel comfortable within our own organizations that start having conversations because.

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Neil Milliken: Like you talked about with your national Paralympic committee is wearing 78 countries.

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Neil Milliken: and cultures within our organization in those different countries very widely in the attitudes towards disability very widely so having this large international campaign that we can.

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Neil Milliken: attach ourselves to the coattails of, and one that we're already associated with because we do business with the the IPC has made a lot of sense for us.

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Neil Milliken: What, what are the sort of other things, what are the engagement that you've already seen from from other partners, for example, and then i'll hand over to Denver.

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Craig Spence: In terms of We obviously have the Tokyo Paralympic Games, the our broadcast rights holders, so the Paralympics we're broadcasting 140 countries in Tokyo last August.

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Craig Spence: are asked to our broadcast rights holders was Can you give us the air time to show the campaign film and 70 of our broadcasters did that now, if you think of.

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Craig Spence: And they were showing it like 20 to 30 times during the Paralympic Games so that's really expensive at that we're talking billions and billions of dollars.

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Craig Spence: So they gave us the airtime and champion the campaign and similar to what you mentioned, there about at us.

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Craig Spence: They then worked out and said, you know we've not really done too much on disability about from buying the rights, the Paralympics, how can we.

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Craig Spence: use this global campaign to change how we do business, so that was pretty amazing.

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Craig Spence: We also saw another mean atlas is a is a top partner of the Paralympic Games, the highest category of sponsorship, we also so Coca Cola.

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Craig Spence: say we want to do this as well, we want to be, we want to champion we'd have 15 so their whole campaign in Japan around the Paralympic Games.

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Craig Spence: was all about way to 15 so they even changed their logo from the iconic red symbol to purple in in support of the week of 15.

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Craig Spence: They are billboard advertising newspaper advertising, not just talking about Coca Cola products but saying how they were proud to champion where the 15 so if you've got one of the world's.

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Craig Spence: biggest brands like Coca Cola.

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Craig Spence: champion in the campaign like that that's that's where we saw some of the amplification alliums did something very similar.

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Craig Spence: And it was really tremendous to see so many partners really get behind this and I think this is what they really wanted was a global campaign that they could really get their teeth into I mean Intel.

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Craig Spence: amazing use their drone technology went to I think Finland found a brilliant evening and with hundreds of drones made the way the 15 symbol and filmed it and it looks absolutely.

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spectacular.

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Craig Spence: so beautiful to see and and now what we're working with is.

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Craig Spence: Speaking to the partners about saying look, this is what we've got lined up I can't reveal too much today, because obviously the big announcement will be in February.

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Craig Spence: But we're working with them to say Look how can you get on board with with the activities that are coming and.

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Craig Spence: What we want is everyone around the world to be able to get involved in the 50 we don't want the people to purple wash and just say yeah we want to champion, we did 15 get the logo and then do nothing.

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Craig Spence: that's not what we want, so whatever we announced in February, people will be able to monitor the progress and if people aren't making the progress will kick him out.

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Craig Spence: But what.

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Craig Spence: We want is people to make great deal of progress and we want, we don't we the 15 to be an IPC products, this is a product for 1.2 billion people.

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Craig Spence: And, and now is the time to trigger change cost the pandemics so impacted persons with disabilities around the world, so so we're really you get to work with our partners like zero projects are really make a difference.

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Su (Zero Project): and February is going to be a pretty big month I think for disability.

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Su (Zero Project): conferences, because we've got the global disability summit, why IPC is going to be present and, as well as the zero product conference where.

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Su (Zero Project): Privacy obviously has a spot as well and we're also featuring a number of sporting innovations that have been awarded as our project award so.

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Su (Zero Project): quite an exciting month I think and and speaking about being involved, I think, in the lead up to from this conference as well we've been reached out to so many organizations asking how they can be a part of it, and I very kindly direction, all of them to to Craig and his team.

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Su (Zero Project): But like you mentioned, I think, five is going to be a quite a big new cycle for for the disability world and we're all looking forward to it.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I, I have a few questions and comments and i'm sure others want to go, but first of all I want to congratulate both of you on the European award the best purpose driven communications European awards that's really cool so congratulations.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I also wanted to you're talking about partners, I wanted to bring up remind everybody that of course the valuable 500 under our beautiful Caroline Casey also.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): One thing I love about it is once again they're representing corporations 500 multinational corporations showing us leadership, like a toasts.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): Like you know Intel coke and others I don't know it, I know Intel as part of valuable 500 i'm just not sure if focus, but it doesn't matter.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): These brands are showing our Community, they care about us, and so I think that's important.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): And I also want because some people might wonder, of course, RU global is creating billion, strong and identity organization and we have we are totally supportive of we the 15.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): Because is Craig said, as you said, we're stronger together, and so we we are there's room for everybody, but we're all going to be more successful if we come together, but this is the my finally i'm going to get to my question.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): He we we the certainly the 15 represents that we know at least at least 15% of our community have our societies have disabilities, we really think of course those numbers are much higher so, even though this is my opinion and Craig i'ma let you and Sue do it, but I know that we, the.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): is also aware that the number is probably much higher we just are not sure, and I know that we, the 15 uses 1.2 billion, a billion strong is using 1.3 billion.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): Does it matter not really what we all have to understand is.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): We are a large community and the more we all come together to support each other and what others are doing to make a difference we win also want to say that we at regal we're very proud to also be.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): We work with IPC and my team just created the Americans Paralympics logos and website so I love that special I mean that.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): IPC also works with tiny little companies like grew global, as well as gigantic companies, as well as nonprofits like.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): zero project, and when we told Craig what we were doing billion strong he was like I love it we want to help, so I like that you're being thoughtful about the partnerships, though Craig I think that's very smart because everybody wants and now but.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): You know how do you really make sure that you have you continue well this you've had such a major impact already but, but you know how to where do we go from here all those points.

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yeah.

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I mean.

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Craig Spence: I always keep I always i'm a i'm a taskmaster with the team and i'm like what we've had a great lunch.

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Craig Spence: Have we achieved anything i've returned from the life of a person with a disability, no, we haven't we have a lot of work ahead of us and and we are will only do that by.

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Craig Spence: Making way to 15 accessible to every organization or every person around the world who wants to contribute to change and that's what's so important that's why we have to take a step back after the launch and say how can we get everyone who wants to make a difference here involved.

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Craig Spence: You mentioned there about the the 15% of the 1.2 billion 1.3 is at 19% 100% agree to you, but that shows why.

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Craig Spence: We need such a global campaign like this, because the last piece of research on a global level was conducted in 2001 it's an absolute disgrace that.

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Craig Spence: 21 years since someone did a global piece of research on how many persons with disabilities are out there, we want to change that that's one of the things that we're looking at we the 15 is.

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Craig Spence: Within the next decade, can we conduct the first period global piece of research and who knows, by the time we get to the La Paralympics and 2028 we might be calling it we the 90 who knows, I mean.

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Craig Spence: Big organizations tend to go for rebounds we might not do that again in a who knows.

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Craig Spence: But that's where we want to go to but like I say we've we've we've had a great launch much more successful than we expected and that shows the value of partnerships and strategic partnerships.

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Craig Spence: we've got to take a step back what we've achieved nothing, a good launch doesn't transform the lives of 1.2 billion people, the hard work begins now and to achieve difference, we can have to bring in anyone around the world who wants to contribute.

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Su (Zero Project): And i'm not going to be as hard as Craig because I think.

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Su (Zero Project): It was an absolutely beautiful lunch, and I think it is definitely the beginning of something amazing and.

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Su (Zero Project): I I play sports myself, and I think having these conversations around sports has is something that's transformative especially and I want to say for future generations.

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Su (Zero Project): For for younger people for for for kids who are looking to to see themselves in athletes and I think this is where this is truly where the story starts.

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Su (Zero Project): We all had our favorite sports people that we looked up to, and I think we, the 15 is truly transformative in the sense that it is in the more that it's being embraced by organizations of my companies, it is also being embraced by by people within economies that might.

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Su (Zero Project): That currently might not have the most positive understanding of disability or have mine off the most positive outlook on on kids are used with disabilities and I think it's it's being able to transform these mindsets and these ideas, but what disability is.

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Su (Zero Project): And that's where I would say, be the 15 has an absolutely brilliant start and it's about to keep going, and the more the merrier so having more people more organizations and more stories from all around the wall, this is something that's absolutely transformative I think.

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Neil Milliken: Excellent.

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Neil Milliken: mentioned it or you've mentioned in a little bit soon and that is about the engagement of the good one sounds good um it's it's really a week and we touched on it just now in terms of attitudes everything else, but how can we also.

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Neil Milliken: not take our preconceptions that in the global North we have everything solved and learn from the best practices of the global South or learn from the innovation and the hacks because.

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Neil Milliken: One of the things that we learned over the last six months or so, when we were working with GI said in.

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Neil Milliken: and looking at access to education in Africa was the people do things differently, the cultural context and also the the sort of infrastructure context changes, how you.

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Neil Milliken: How you deliver inclusive products and services so so So what does zero doing on this, and how does that fit in with with the work of we the 15.

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Su (Zero Project): And i'm not going to say that we have all the answers, but we are learning as we go as well, and so I myself, I come from, Singapore.

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Su (Zero Project): And, and I recently joined this our project, about a year ago.

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Su (Zero Project): And I think what we're trying to do is in identifying these innovations from the global South we take them as they are in the context that they're working in in the environment that they're working in.

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Su (Zero Project): So, for example, if you if you look at something like a, for example, a special education school something like that it's not considered.

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Su (Zero Project): very inclusive are very, very accessible in in Europe or in the US, but in Asia it's actually.

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Su (Zero Project): An innovative idea because, just a few years ago, people with disabilities weren't even allowed to go to schools or couldn't even go to school, they wanted to.

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Su (Zero Project): So I think we, what we are doing is understanding innovations in the context that they're operating in understanding the cultural meanings behind practices understand the cultural importance of values and that's where we are starting.

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Su (Zero Project): it's not easy and we we we are learning as we go the day to day and what this brings into the weeds 15 is that with these stories that we're sharing it helps us build an idea of of what disabilities and way each country is on the disability spectrum, if I could say that.

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Su (Zero Project): What is considered innovative in India or Uganda might not be innovative anywhere else, but I think in understanding that how a family or how a village or how.

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Su (Zero Project): A Community benefits from a particular innovation is is so challenging itself and and I like giving this one example it's.

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Su (Zero Project): One of our one of our award he is one of our projects that was submitted was actually sort of teaching people how to with mobility difficulties, how to hold a spoon.

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Su (Zero Project): And reinterpret it was thinking Oh, you know this, you can have these several quality spoons with like a big grip and everything and it's those are the ideas that we came up with but.

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Su (Zero Project): What this particular organization came up with was that you take a spoon and you stick it in a potato, and you just rip the potato and that's innovative in itself and it's so beautifully simple, I think.

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Su (Zero Project): And these are the kind of stories that we want to hear these kind of stories that we want to share, because this is something that can be done in any household anywhere around the world.

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Su (Zero Project): You don't need to have $1,000 to buy a special spoon just so you can learn how to hold it, and this is what we're all learning I think together as well.

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Neil Milliken: too, so we not that long ago interviewed for the second time account code for these a banker, and he runs foundation a uterus para Todos in.

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Neil Milliken: medellin Colombia and he does these kind of hacks to and we absolutely love it because himself that the MacGyver of assistive technology, because he's always pulling all this stuff together.

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Neil Milliken: And I think one of his favorite hacks is is actually a foot mouse that he's made from an ordinary mouse, and you know the $3 mouse and a rice pedal.

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Neil Milliken: spooning used to scoop out the rice and he basically cut out a bit from the back of the the mouse.

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Neil Milliken: glued in the rice pedal and now you can move it around with your foot and use your toes to control the mouse, and these kinds of innovations are.

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Neil Milliken: Really, you know life changing for for the people that he's doing this for any any shares, all of this stuff and it's these kind of things well I.

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Neil Milliken: I really love, seeing that kind of innovation, it lights me up as why we invited Philippe back because he's.

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Neil Milliken: full of the joy of finding things and instead of finding cheap devices and then what we can use this as an intercom and you know we do that.

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Neil Milliken: And it's that sort of heath Robinson invention stringing glue kind of stuff that really does have an impact on people and we ought not to dismiss because sometimes I think you know we come from the privileged global north, where we've had access to really expensive assistive technologies.

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Neil Milliken: And i've been working in the field for 20 plus years and i'm glad to have seen the price come down as it's been integrated into the mainstream, but we were paying you know.

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Neil Milliken: Thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds and dollars for a piece of assistive kit and the components generally on an expensive.

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Neil Milliken: So that is is really something that I think that we can take from these global campaigns and from the global awareness and information gathering.

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Neil Milliken: And really find better ways to connect people like Philippe like the people you mentioned sticking a spoon into a potato to really enable people cheaply and easily to be able to achieve the things in life that make a difference.

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Craig Spence: yeah I think that's one thing we want to explore we to 15 is on assistive technology, how can we make assistive technology more affordable to people around the world.

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Craig Spence: I mean if you're a Paralympic Games metal stable you've got the global North at the top of the metal stable because they can afford the best wheelchairs they're running blades etc.

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Craig Spence: And at the bottom you've got the nation to.

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Craig Spence: The only metals, they went away and there's no assistive technology, and if you dealt if you if you if you just look at it from a support point of view.

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Craig Spence: A lot of this assistive technologies is it's only producing a few countries around the world.

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Craig Spence: So that the technology itself the components, as you saying they'll bring it together is not the most expensive part, but the export and the customs duties that have been applied to that assistive technology.

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Craig Spence: is what makes it cost prohibitive for the majority of people around the world now Just imagine if through we'd have 15 we can put some pressure.

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Craig Spence: On governments around the world to change the customs duties when it comes to assistive technology so it's not classed as a.

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Craig Spence: Health or a medical piece of equipment, but maybe even a small piece of equipment, would be a huge huge difference that this campaign could make.

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Craig Spence: What if we could also then create blueprints for assistive technology to be made all around the world, so we don't even have to do the exports.

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Craig Spence: Then we'd make a huge difference so and that's if you look at the the founding partners of every 15 we have many people who work in the at frame who can initiate that change, I hope, yeah.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): i'd like to just make a quick comment on that yeah I noticed that y'all have at scale you've got GA to which is a global assistive technology.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I just really it feels like you were very thoughtful about the partners you picked Craig so compliments there and.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I also just think is really important, in that you know we all get behind you.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): it's sometimes in our Community, we are we get jealous of others people's success and I think what we all have to do is, we all have to come together, we all have to.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): support our project to make sure they're successful we all have to support what you're doing Craig with we the 15.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): Because that's the way forward, and I think often we were treating each other, sometimes like we were competitors we're not competitors there's plenty of work plenty of money for everybody, but bottom line we are always going to be stronger when we come together, so I just wanted to.

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Craig Spence: This huge.

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Craig Spence: there's a huge value in the partnership and also we won't get everything right we saw that with the launch our website was a disaster, and you and you guys bailed us out because our website wasn't fully accessible and and and so when.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): You listen press on your jumped in and you tried to make it.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): Accessible you just made it use an overlay tool which isn't that popular, I just want to be fair, that y'all did do the right thing, but.

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Craig Spence: What i'm saying is we won't always get everything right.

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Craig Spence: I agree.

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Craig Spence: But the intention is there to make a significant difference and and and that's why, when you bring so many organizations together.

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Craig Spence: you've got the knowledge and the expertise elsewhere who can step in and go actually you need to do it like this and that's what we want to do for the next 10 years.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): Right and we need to get the accommodations into people's hands I I had heard that.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): About a young girl that was deaf in or she was severely hard hard of hearing in a village in India.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): This the UN stepped in gave her hearing aids and so she was able to go to school, they came back like six months later, she went in school and they're like what's going on, they said we can't afford the batteries.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): And the hearing aids the batteries cost as much as food for the family for the whole month so having people helping that understand.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): The issues, because often we see people trying to help, but they don't understand the issues we need our Community solving these problems and that's what we, the.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): can do is bring us all together, you know we all have to come together and and you know we the 15 has the power to really, really have changed and so.

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Debra Ruh (she/hers/her): I know we're thrilled about what you're doing thrilled about it and access jets 100% behind you so it's billion, strong and RU global impact, and you know, a Co stars already is, but I appreciate what you're doing so.

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Neil Milliken: We have actually hit our mark, so thank you so much, could carry on for a lot longer i'm really looking forward to continuing the conversation on Twitter.

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Neil Milliken: On Tuesday, so thank you great Thank you, Sir it's been a real pleasure, and I also need to thank those that continue to support us, Barclays Access, Microlink and My Clear Text.

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See y'all soon.