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Welcome to the TakingITGlobal Sustainable Development Goal Inclusive Design Toolkit

The goal of this guide is to support youth (and you!) to create more inclusive projects with a greater impact across our communities and the world.

Table of Contents

  • 1
    Why design inclusive projects? What is the purpose of this toolkit?

    This toolkit will support youth and organizations in making their program and project planning processes more inclusive to communities across the globe, while also taking a look at how these processes can be carefully considered when implementing the SDGs.

    Organizations design and deliver programs in order to impact the communities and individuals they're working alongside. While most projects do their best to account for the diversity of its beneficiaries, there has been a movement to continue the process of ensuring programs are meeting the needs of the diverse communities and groups we serve.

    The movement toward designing more inclusive programs seeks to support meaningful inclusion of youth who, for a variety of reasons, may experience unique barriers to access and participation in community programs.

    In addition, it's not always possible that a project will have staff that reflect the many identities and unique experiences of program participants. This means that in order to start designing and planning more inclusive programs, it's important to begin challenging our existing perceptions and ideas around what our beneficiaries may need or want from our programs. In many cases this may mean your project will need to seek direct input from the participants themselves.

    Allowing feedback and input from participants ensures programs and projects are remaining adaptable and are also able to collect ongoing feedback as their unique needs change over time - this is especially the case in reaching the needs of "youth on the margins".

    1. Increase the overall impact of youth projects
    2. Design programs that are adaptable
    3. Ensure are supporting unique needs of participants and beneficiaries
    4. Accelerate results for "youth on the margins"
  • 2
    What do we mean by "youth on the margins"?

    In the context of this toolkit we use "youth on the margins" to refer to young people that belong to an identity or community group that experience distinct barriers and disadvantages in the broader society they live and work in. These aspects of their lives may also create unique barriers to accessing programs that are intended to serve them. Some examples of these identity groups include labels and statuses around disability, ethnicity, newcomer/refugee, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, language, and geographic location. Sometimes these identities intersect and create multiple layers of barriers.

    Not only can these characteristics impact someone's access to a program, but it can also influence the way they experience and participate in your programs. For example, is the space you're using accessible for those with physical disabilities, do your activities account for those with differing levels of education or learning styles and abilities?

    These are only a few of the questions that need to be asked as you go through the design process of your program. These questions begin to get more complex as we take the intersections of identities into account.

    • Young people that belong to 'identity' groups that are often left out of programs and conversations that impact them. Some examples of these identity groups include labels and statuses around disability, ethnicity, newcomer/refugee, LGBTQI, Indigenous, Language minority, suburban, inner city. Sometimes these identities intersect and create multiple layers of barriers
    • Youth that experience barriers to programs based on certain characteristics or aspects of their lives
    • Youth on the margins may also experience systemic challenges/barriers outside of programs which may impact their ability to access or take part in programs
    • Truly inclusive projects integrate a diverse and representative group into the project from the initiation and planning phases of the initiative
  • 3
    Intersectionality: things to keep in mind

    Designing inclusive programs requires us to fully acknowledge the unique identities our participants carry. While every person around the world has different aspects of their identity, many of the youth accessing our programs have multiple parts of their identity that experience disadvantages. We can call these disadvantages discrimination or oppression.

    • Understanding of diverse identities is helpful in designing more inclusive programs, however, we also have to take into account that most people belong to multiple identity groups - some of these experience layers of barriers that create an entirely unique experience for the individual
    • Definition of intersectionality - why is this important? Intersectionality of identities, intersectional approach to the goals
  • 4
    Introduction to the SDGs / Global Goals
  • 5
    Connecting the SDGs and Inclusive Design (why is this important for the SDGs?)

    The SDGs touch upon themes that impact a variety of diverse groups across the globe.

    In order to reach these goals by 2030, organizations/CSOs must be able to take into consideration the unique identities and needs of youth accessing their programs.

    It is necessary to begin challenging our automatic perceptions of what people need and to include and empower them in the design process to ensure their voices are heard and their needs are accommodated.

    Furthest behind first – the SDGs aim to improve the lives of individuals who are currently most in need of assistance, whether that is within or across countries and populations.

  • 6
    Project Cycle

    Now that we have explored some background about the SDGs and inclusive design, let's explore how projects happen:

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    There are several tools to help you plan and implement your project:
    Business model canvas

  • 7
    Building a project team

    Having a core team of people to support you is vital to your success. Not only do they bring much-needed skills and expertise to the table, but they can also help to carry your message forward!

    When building a team, consider the following aspects:

    • Diversity of ability and perspective
      • What accommodations may be required to ensure a member of your team with different accessibility needs (such as a person in a wheelchair)
      • Is the space physically accessible?
      • Do you have any handouts in accessible formats?
      • Do you have interpreters
    • Skills
    • Availability
    • Connections
  • 8
    Things to consider when making an event accessible to people with disabilities
    1. Have you had people with disabilities on your planning team as you're planning your event?
    2. During your pre event process do you have a way for someone to list accommodations that they might need for your event?
    3. Is there any accessible transportation available on the route to a location of the event?
    4. Is the venue itself where the event is being held accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids?
    5. Does the location have wheelchair accessible bathrooms on the premises of the event?
    6. Do you have all forms including registration forms, activity forms, reimbursement forms etc. in alternative formats including braille large print etc.
    7. If there are activities during your event, have they been designed for all different learning styles, auditory kinesthetic tactile etc. You will have to teach true variety of different students and disabilities.
    8. During your pre-check process for the event is it being advertised in accessible ways and in accessible locations?
    9. Do you have other people resources available during your event including interpreters personal care attendants etc.
    10. If there are videos and other multimedia associated with your event have you made them accessible through captioning or description for those who may need it?
    11. Are your post event evaluation processes accessible?
  • 9
    Asset based approach to planning
    • What do you and your network have access to already to help you?
    • Who do you know who may be able to help you access new things?
    • What things are currently needed that you don't have access to?
    • Where could you potentially access these things?
    • What steps might you have to undertake in order to access?
  • 10
    Setting goals, objectives
    • SMART Goals are a very effective way to create and implement goals for your project
    • Goals Strategies & Tactics are another very useful method for planning your engagements. It is very useful to consider multiple strategies for moving closer to your goal instead of being locked into one path of action.
  • 11
    Strategies for facilitating inclusive conversations
    • Being mindful of the use of language
    • Ask questions and practice active listening
    • Be mindful – of context including power dynamics, of tone of voice, body language
    • Focus on relationships – people will feel if you genuinely care about them. In many cases, healthy relationships can be bigger than a single project. Two entities with mutual goals can help each other in multiple ways
    • Truly listen to what people are saying (instead of thinking what you will say next)
    • Understand the perspective you bring the conversation
    • Humility - the importance of not taking things personally, being open to honest and constructive critique about what could be improved for people
  • 12
    Strategies for collecting and incorporating feedback
    • Inclusive design is an ongoing process. While an organization may spend months designing programs with a design process that has been inclusive, it's important that the program is able to collect feedback and make adjustments as the project unfolds
    • An iterative or agile project management framework assumes that changes to the plan will occur and embraces flexibility to adjust to changing contexts throughout the life of the project
    • Monitoring & Evaluation – the collection and review of data to understand and adapt projects i.e. – collection of survey data by workshop participants, use of social media updates to track ongoing project progress
  • 13
    Multisystemic Partnerships for Impact/Creating Partnerships for Impact
    • Creating relationships and partnerships with individuals or organizations doing similar work or working directly with your target audience
    • Increases ability to understand and meet the needs of beneficiaries and collaborators
    • Opportunities for feedback from external stakeholders
    • Collaboration to strengthen programs
    • Provides more networks and supports for program participants, especially when transitioning out of the program
  • 14
    Additional Resources