Development of a Barrier-Free Space in Ukraine: the First Results

Since September 2020, the founder of our foundation Nadiia Ratke has joined the expert group on barrier-free space in Ukraine, and now we are finally ready to take the first results after the government officially approved the National Strategy for Barrier-Free Space until 2030 within the initiative of the First Lady Of Ukraine.

There is still a lot of work to be done, where among the practical tasks we have a global goal - to convey to society that barrier-free space is a concept that applies not only to people with disabilities but to each of us. It is much broader and includes, for example, a barrier to digital skills, a barrier to lack of experience in employment, the presence of young children also makes parents a less mobile group and forces them to overcome various barriers.

That is why the development of the National Strategy was carried out in six areas of accessibility: economic, educational, digital, social, civic, and physical.

The head of our foundation Nadiia Ratke acted as an expert on economic accessibility, agreeing to present the best developments, formats, and experience in this area, which have been successfully implemented for years in Germany, Austria, and other European countries. Nadiia shared these ideas during working meetings with the "Barrier-free" team, which helps to form an expert group and monitor the implementation of its tasks.

Phases of work

  • The first stage included the development of a comprehensive state strategy that would assess the existing opportunities and challenges and bring the country's barrier-free future closer.

  • The second stage consisted of meetings of the working group on the development of the National Barrier-Free Strategy with the participation of Cabinet Ministers, First Lady Olena Zelenska, representatives of relevant government agencies, and public experts, where we had the opportunity to connect remotely led by Nadiia Ratke.

  • The third stage was active work on the draft strategy, which took into account the proposals of citizens to develop the project. At each strategic session, the participants of the working groups conducted an in-depth analysis of the situation in a particular area that requires the removal of existing barriers, based on which they began to develop proposals for public policies and measures.

  • The fourth stage of the work was a series of eight expert meetings, the participants of which jointly developed specific ideas and indicators - indicators that we want to achieve through the implementation of the strategy.

  • At the stage of online discussions of the draft National Strategy, almost 200 experts, activists, representatives of public organizations, and the authorities joined the discussions on improving the document. These are people who have personal experience and expertise in accessibility issues and are motivated to make the project as to specific and effective as possible.

  • On April 14, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the National Strategy for Creating a Barrier-Free Space in Ukraine.

The first important step has been taken, but there is still a lot of work ahead. We hope that with the support of the government, experts, colleagues, and volunteers, we will be able to implement all the developments so that they do not remain an action plan only on paper. Our team will also inform you about the work on further implementation of the strategy.