Tag Archives: disabled people

WaterAid – Disability and the WASH sector

What the Global Report on Disability means for the WASH sector. 2011. WaterAid.

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This report gives an overview of the information relevant to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in the world’s first report on disability. It also highlights how WaterAid is addressing the recommendations in the report, as well as where we could develop our approaches further.

Disabled people represent the largest socially excluded group globally and most live without access to basic sanitary services, which can exacerbate impairments and poverty. However, so far disabled people have typically been excluded from development intervention and research.

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India, Jharkhand: with access to the toilet came access to dignity

This Government of India programme offers incentives for families below the poverty line to construct toilets with technical designs approved by the District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) responsible for sanitation.

However, the evidence is that people with special needs, or the differently abled are being left out, since even if their families have toilets, these are not user friendly or appropriate. This means that, despite the programme designed to be ‘total’, there is not really universal access and not all people can live with dignity.

To enhance the inclusiveness of access and to sensitise the service providers and the community on the need for inclusive approaches in planning, design and implementation, several initiatives were undertaken by the Regional Office East for the state of Jharkhand along with Gram Jyoti, a partner of WaterAid. All this was possible because of one person, Jitendra Turi of Sisanathur village, Jharkhand who proved to be really special.

Jitendra suffers from multiple disabilities, with locomotor, visual and mental impairments. He comes from a Scheduled Caste (‘lower caste’ in India) family and lives with his parents. Even at the age of 25, he is still dependent on his mother for most activities. He is not a child and cannot go to school and he cannot participate in village activities.

The family did not have a toilet at home, unaware of its importance in reducing dependency and increasing dignity for their son so that he could lead as normal a life as possible. For defecation, his mother usually took him to the outskirts of the village. Sometimes, when was unable to take him out, she would ask him to defecate in a corner of the village lane, which earned him the ridicule of children and villagers. “I felt such shame in telling my mother to help me for defecation. I am grown up but how can I go out? I cannot see, nor am I able to walk,” recalls Jitendra.

Read the full story about Jitendra by Meeta Jaruhar from WaterAid India in Source Bulletin, May 2010

Zimbabwe: building user-friendly toilets for the disabled

THE Disablement Association of Zimbabwe (DAZ) has started building user-friendly Blair Toilets for people with disabilities. It also plans to improve access to ablution facilities in Bulawayo after a realisation that the authorities were taking too long to act. Insiza and Matobo districts in Matabeleland South have been chosen for the programme which is supported by World Vision.

Speaking at the recent launch of the association, DAZ executive director David Zulu said the programme was part of efforts to address health concerns of people with disabilities. He said they tended to be left out of national programmes yet they were equally affected by challenges such as outbreaks of diseases emanating from poor sanitation.

“In the urban centre of Bulawayo we are involved in assessing the accessibility if public ablution facilities on how the current structures can be modified so that people with disabilities have better access to them,” Zulu said.

However, WVZ humanitarian emergency affairs director, Daniel Muchena said the programme had been affected by the negative attitude towards people with disabilities inherent in society. “For example under Protracted Relief Programme 1, in Matobo district some community members are not willing to assist people with disabilities in constructing user friendly Blair toilets and engage in other productive activities.

DAZ was registered as a trust in 2006 after it was formed by trustees Ronald Ncube, Edmore Hute and Davis Mazodze to represent people with disabilities at grassroots level.

For more information on this topic see:
WEDC – Water supply and sanitation for disabled people and other vulnerable groups

Source: Zimbabwe Standard / allAfrica.com, 29 Aug 2009


SOCIAL Toilets, 22 Jun 2009

Nearly a quarter of a million disabled people in the UK are being denied access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs, forcing their carers to change them on toilet floors, according to research published today.

The research, commissioned by charity Mencap, found that 230,252 people, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, are being denied access to adequate public toilet facilities.

Mencap, which is a member of the Changing Places Consortium, is now calling for fully accessible toilets, known as Changing Places toilets, to be available in all big public places. There are currently only 85 in the UK.

Changing Places toilets are different to standard accessible toilets and include an adjustable changing bench and a hoist to allow people to use the toilet with assistance or have their incontinence pads changed.

The charity is using Learning Disability Week, which starts today, to urge the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to change building regulations to make Changing Places toilets mandatory in all new public places.

Julie Marriott whose 11-year-old son Toby has profound and multiple learning disabilities, said: “I am racked with guilt every time I lie my son Toby down on a dirty toilet floor because I know I am risking his health. But I have no other option. We can’t stay at home all the time.

“If there were Changing Places toilets in public places we wouldn’t have to cut short our family days out or face changing Toby on a filthy toilet floor. Our lives would be dramatically improved and we would be able to enjoy days out, just like other families.”

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Mencap, said: “Every time a carer is forced to change a disabled family member on a dirty toilet floor it is a stain on the conscience of our country.

“The Government must take immediate action and make Changing Places toilets mandatory in all new big public places, otherwise they will continue to let down a quarter of a million of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Mencap is calling for people to support the Changing Places campaign for fully accessible toilets by signing an online petition which will be presented to the DCLG in October.

For more information go to www.mencap.org.uk/changelives.

Nepal: user-friendly water and sanitation services for the disabled

Traditional coverage of access to basic amenities like water and sanitation has inadvertently excluded the needs of the disabled.

Creating user-friendly water and sanitation services for the disabled: the experience of WaterAid Nepal and its partners, a discussion paper by WaterAid Nepal outlines the problems faced by the disabled in the country in accessing water and sanitation services.

The importance of disabled-friendly latrines for dignity and social inclusion is illustrated by this story from the WaterAid study:

“Hari Bahadur Sapkota [left, photo Anita Pradhan, WaterAid Nepal], a resident of Maalika VDC, Banglung, Nepal, is 52. He has been physically impaired by paralysis in both his legs. He had been married three times but all his wives abandoned him. He told us that one of the main reasons his wives left him was that they could not share his plate for meals as he used to crawl and rest his hand on the latrine while defecating. As a result his wives considered him to be unclean. With no visible solution, they left him. However, with the installation of a commode in this latrine, which allows him to sit more comfortably while defecating, as well as keeping his hands away from the pan, Mr Sapkota is no longer considered dirty. In fact, due to his increased hygiene practices, he has been entrusted with the responsibility of cooking for his entire family, while other members earn an income”.