WFDB holds its 3rd Workshop on the SHAPES Project

Room full of people

WFDB’s 3rd and final technical SHAPES workshop was held in person in Brussels on 5 and 6 June 2023. Find here the concept note. The last one

A group of people in a room
Workshop participants discussing the sign for “WFDB” before meetings started

was held in Geneva, 11-13 July 2022

WFDB is a consortium member of the SHAPES Project (Smart and Health Ageing through People Engaging in Supportive Systems), funded by the European Union which aims to improve the health, well-being, and independence of people as they get older.  

The 3rd Technical Workshop included the participation of WFDB’s Executive Council (EC) and Regional Representatives, Auditors, as well as President Francisco Trigueros (Spain) from the European Deafblind Union (EDBU). The workshop was an excellent opportunity to to validate the activities conducted so far and plan ahead for the remaining months, as well as discuss the sustainability and long-term impact of the project.

As per past workshops, one of the aims of these meetings is to ensure proper knowledge of, and ownership of the ongoing work of SHAPES at the EC level, as well as strengthen ties with Europea

n deafblind organisations and SHAPES partners. A key aspect of this workshop is policy influencing. Meeting with different stakeholders will provide the opportunity for WFDB to share their work, guidelines, recommendations on the inclusion of persons with deafblindness.

Day 1 of the workshop 

WFDB’s President, Sanja Tarczay, opened the workshop with welcome remarks, followed by the introduction from participants, which included 9 persons with deafblindness and their interpreter-guides/Deafblind interpreters from the following countries: Croatia, Colombia, USA, Malawi, Finland, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Sweden and Spain.

Lucia D’Arino, WFDB Program Advisor and focal point of the SHAPES project, gave a presentation on SHAPES and provided information on WFDB’s role in the SHAPES project, as well as updates and future activities. WFDB’s role in SHAPES is to bring the perspective of the deafblind community, coordinate and facilitate the participation of older persons with deafblindness across Europe into the project and contribute with the unique knowledge and understanding of deafblind people and their diverse needs, including through the production of more evidence and recommendations to improve inclusion of persons with deafblindness. More information on WFDB’s role in the project can be found here. 

A woman using a tablet
Sanja testing the “eCtouch” App

A session was dedicated to presenting preliminary findings on WFDB’s future global report on older persons with deafblindness, by WFDB research consultant Igor Kusin. The report will include the findings from the SHAPES Project, as well as information on the barriers, recommendations and good practices on older persons with deafblindness worldwide.

Moreover, the following sessions were dedicated to collecting input from participants on the future report, with an opportunity to share ideas, suggestions and examples.

The last part of the day  included a presentation about “eCtouch” App by Omnitor representatives, a Swedish company also partners in the SHAPES Project. It is real time communication service, similar to Skype, with many other features which intends to be accessible for many groups of persons with deafblindness.

Participants and interpreter-guides/Deafblind interpreters had the chance to download these apps on their personal devices or lended ones and provide information on its usefulness, accessibility, usability, etc.  

Day 2 of the workshop 

4 women at a table and a presentation showing behind them
From left to right, Sanja’s intepreter Dijana, Sanja, Lucia and Catherine Naughton from EDF

The morning session included a meeting with European Disability Forum (EDF) Director, Catherine Naughton, to discuss the recent activities of both organisations and future collaboration.

Later, WFDB held a Board meeting where internal matters where discussed.

In the afternoon, an event was held at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Adam Kosa and MEP Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, on the topic Presenting WFDB 2nd Global report on the inclusion of persons with deafblindness and the SHAPES Project”. Find more information about this event here.

We thank the WFDB Board and staff for the participation, as well as the organisers of the event, which include the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

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