DFI Self Advocacy Project Update by PJ Cleere

May 26 2022

DFI Staff - PJ Cleere

The DFI Self-Advocacy Project is delivered in partnership with members and is going from strength to strength. 

So far this year we have held 3 national meetings, with up to 36 members, including key workers and self-advocates participating. A separate Advisory Group has been formed to support and develop the Project and this group had their first meeting in early May. .

Participants have identified our meetings as an important networking and learning space. Consequently meetings are being used as a space to deliver presentations and inputs on thematic areas which the participants identify as important in the delivery of self-advocacy.  The meetings are fast becoming a space to share resources, information and experiences to make self-advocacy stronger across all our membership. In addition members have identified the meetings as a space to offer mutual support, and identity potential areas for collaboration, partnerships and mentoring.

The first thematic presentations took place at the meeting on May 18th when self- advocates  presented their experiences of implementing and supporting self-advocacy in their organisations. One self advocate gave an example of how through member support ,he took part in an information course on the Assisted Decision Making Act, which he is now going to present back to fellow self-advocates in the organisation.

What are meetings like? In one word I find them inspiring!! The willingness of all participants to engage and their obvious enthusiasm and commitment is so evident that it is a pleasure to participate. Feedback from participants has already shown that participants recognise the project as having created a much-needed space through which partnerships, collaborations and sharing of best practice is already taking place. Members who are beginning to develop self-advocacy approaches are also being supported through informal mentoring, advice, mutual support and resources. Challenges as well as opportunities are being discussed in an open and solutions-based manner and strong examples of mutual support is already in evidence.

The next meeting takes place on July 13th and the presentations will be delivered by key workers. Recognising the essential part which key workers play in developing and facilitating self -advocacy in their daily practice, presentations will cover the challenges and opportunities they experience in empowering and facilitating self-advocacy. They have identified the main challenge as finding the balance between ‘empowering and disempowering’ and this will be the theme of their presentations.

To register for this event please follow the link here :

For further information on the project contact P J Cleere at pjcleere@disability-federation.ie