Kyiv, February 23, 2016. Civic activists supported by the Embassy of Canada have created a web site “Vilny Prostir” (vprostir.info) that is an interactive accessibility map of Kyiv. People with disabilities will thus be able to find out how accessible for them the locations of their interest are. Main innovation suggested by the web site is that the user is able to file and submit a complaint addressing it to the city authorities. “Complaint in word format is generated for a user. He can then edit it or simply print it out, have it signed and send it to the controlling body. At the moment the body in question is the State Architectural Construction Inspection, later these functions will be delegated to the local level and departments dealing with these issues will be established at local level,” said Oleksiy Krasnoshchokov, director of “Pidmoga.info” NGO at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We would like to express our hope that it is will have an impact on development of the city target program so that our cities will become more friendly and accessible for everyone,” he added. Activists reminded that 150 thousand people with disabilities are Kyiv residents.
Objects in the city are marked on the map according to the traffic-lights principle – green, yellow or red based on the level of accessibility. “We have chosen six key accessibility criteria: accessible parking, lifts, adjacent areas, approach areas, toilets, tactile paving and Braille plates. We designed small icons that stand for accessibility parameters,” said Roman Konstantynov, business analyst at EMPEEK. Using the filter the web site user may choose accessibility criteria of interest to him/her: for example accessibility for a person in a wheelchair or for blind and visually impaired individuals. The web site also provides an opportunity to make a new entry and create description for an object that has no information. One needs to register and fill out the description form including the address, characteristics as per the above standards, and may also add a photo or a video. Moreover if a web site user disagrees with description of an object on the web site, he/she may fill out the respective application form and provide photo evidence that supports the claim.
The project is implemented with financial support of the Canadian government. Project budget is CAD 25 thousand. “That’s these types of projects that are working to move Ukraine in a positive direction, that are moving Ukraine towards a more inclusive society that gives us as the international community a lot of hope. I’d like to thank a lot to the government of Canada for the work that you are doing to build an inclusive city, an inclusive society, to raise awareness about these issues, because they are very serious and they affect a lot of people, and it’s important for them to enjoy such a beautiful city that is Kyiv and many other cities across the country,” said Anne Mattson Gauss, Counselor for Political Affairs, deputy director of the Monitoring Mission of the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine.
Krasnoshokov noted that apart from this project there is ongoing cooperation with the Kyiv City Council in this direction. “Our petition as to accessibility has collected 10 thousand signatures and has been already considered by the land commission. Tomorrow it is to be considered by the commission for social policy and let’s hope it will pass the Kyiv City Council session equally quick,” he noted. He also said that 10 civil society organizations are now in the group of activists dealing with city accessibility for people with disabilities. In the nearest time they are to form a new, more effective Accessibility Committee.