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Evolve Initiative: Bridging The Global Access Gap

Reimagining public policy on disability to move beyond basic needs provision to self-actualization and wellbeing maximization.

Photo of Akan Nelson
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What problem does your idea solve?

Problem: The Access Gap. —Compliance is the production of policy legislature to ensure basic needs provision for disabled people. —Liberation is the production of policy legislature to ensure the environment is conducive for the self-actualization of people with disabilities. —Access gaps are policy failures that occur from the difference between Compliance, ensuring people’s basic needs are met, and Liberation, ensuring people have the support they need to maximize their wellbeing.

Explain your idea

The Access Gap is the aggregate effect of the various access gaps that exists in countries around the world for people with disabilities. Our idea is to quantify, index, and bridge The Access Gap by: 1) Developing a Global Access Gap Index: a composite statistic of perceived Compliance and Liberation indicators, which are used to score and evaluate countries around the world on a scale from -10 (No access to basic needs and services) to 0 (systemic access to basic needs and services) to 10 (systemic access to basic needs, services, and environment conducive for self-actualization.) 2) Using The Access Gap Index to develop unique Algorithms, Frameworks, and Methodologies that help governments make better, context-specific polices that close the different access gaps for people with disabilities. The Access Gap Index works in the following steps: 1) Evolve Initiative aggregates the Access Gap Index and scores countries around the world on it's -10 to 0 to 10 Access Gap Scale. Each country's score is combined to get one Global Access Gap Score. 2) The Index is accompanied by a detailed Access Gap Report that explains the factors that contributed to The Access Gap in each country, region, etc. 3) Evolve Initiative consults with public agencies and private institutions that pay to use the Access Gap Frameworks to improve their policies.

Who benefits?

Our primary beneficiaries are people with disabilities around the world, with a focus on people in the United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, and South Africa.

How is your idea unique?

Evolve Initiative is the only organization in the world working to quantify, index, and bridge The Access Gap. We are the only organization that has conceptualized and identified the difference between Compliance-focused policy that seeks to provides disabled people with basic needs (food, shelter, means of movement, etc.), and Liberation-based policy that helps disabled people self-actualize (freedom of movement, financial autonomy, personal autonomy, etc.) Furthermore, we are the only organization that is actively developing algorithms and frameworks that can be used to create more liberating policies for people with disabilities. In short, we are creating the market for this kind of disability policy intervention social work.

Tell us more about you

Evolve Initiative was founded by Edward Ndopu and Akan Nelson. Edward is an internationally recognized human rights and disability justice advocate. He has been named one of the World's 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 by Pacific Standard Magazine. Akan is passionate about Leadership, Creativity, and Philanthropy. He has worked with the African Leadership Academy, General Electric, P&G, and GE. Edward and Akan are responsible for the Evolve's intellectual vision and business development, respectively.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

We have been working on Evolve Initiative, in earnest, for about 9 months. However, before founding Evolve Initiative, Edward worked with Amnesty International, where he mobilized young activists to pressure lawmakers around the world to strengthen human rights across Africa – and to provide better educational opportunities to children with disabilities. He has also worked with the World Economic Forum, where he engaged Fortune 500 executives and academics from the world’s top universities to produce a White Paper disability policy recommendation for The Forum’s networks. Edward's combined career in disability policy advocate spans almost a decade, and the critical intellectual mass behind our idea comes from his proven experience.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Nigeria
  • South Africa

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • No, not yet.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are not registered but plan to in the future.

Idea Maturity

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it.

Attachments (1)

Access Gap Charts_Evolve Initiative.pdf

Additional detail on The Access Gap Index.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Akan, what an interesting project to tackle this Challenge at a systems level. Can you share a few more details about your traction and learnings to date?

Excited to learn more!