Birds and Nature Open for Full Fruition, Empowering Everyone (BANOFFEE) is an Erasmus+ project led by the Deaf People Association (Malta) and partnered with organisations from Spain, Italy, France and Greece aiming to improve the training of professionals in nature tourism and ornithology by creating the necessary tools to enable the complete fruition of environment and facilitating the access to nature and birds for the hearing impaired (of all ages) in Europe.
There are approximately 70 million citizens living with hearing impairments around the world, but their access to the natural environment is far from universal.
There are no specific signs in sign language to identify all bird species. One way to address this is to create well-trained tourism professionals and provide information materials accessible to everyone.
Language is the most important instrument for communicating and transmitting ideas and feeling. For this reason, since sign languages are the mother tongue of many deaf people, it is important to promote their use in all contexts to facilitate accessibility for them.
Aims of the project
The project will not only benefit the professionals in improving their knowledge, but will also directly benefit the hearing-impaired both because of the intellectual products generated, as well as because of the improvement in the fruition of nature and visitor centers.
We want to make nature accessible for everyone by:
Creating terminology in seven national languages (Maltese, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Catalan and Greek) for 50 species of Mediterranean birds.
Preparing videos in French and Maltese sign language for nature reserves.
Compiling a best-practice manual (for guides, nature reserves and information centres)
Creating a handbook on how to make nature reserves deaf-friendly
Together with deaf associations from Italy (Abile Mente) and Spain (AVSiE) who have experience in developing sign language in their native language, BirdLife Malta is working with the Deaf People Association (Malta) and with three BirdLife International partners from Spain (SEO), France (LPO) and Greece (HOS). Each partner is bringing their expertise in the field and with a lot of cooperation and motivation invested, this project is already promising to be successful and exciting for all those involved!