Volume 3 Issue 20 - October 15, 2005

Pioneering study on water and sanitation for disabled people

D.N.I.S. News Network - The relationship between poverty and disability is being emphasised with greater focus by the disability sector to stress the need for incorporating a disability perspective into various development programmes.

As an important step in the direction of highlighting areas and approach to creating a disability perspective in developmental initiatives, Loughborough University has released a D.F.I.D-funded research study “Water and Sanitation for Disabled People and other Vulnerable Groups: Designing services to improve accessibility”.

For developing countries like India, the study bridges a major conceptual hiatus by providing pioneering insight into the dimensions of the problems that people with disabilities face as group, in accessing basic amenities, and how to address it a planning/policy level. Hazel Jones and Bob Reed have authored the study.

The main focus of the book is on facilities for disabled people and vulnerable groups within families in rural and semi-urban areas of low- and middle-income countries. It includes technology options for accessible facilities and appropriate assistive devices, approaches to service delivery that take account of the needs of disabled people, strategies for planning and implementation; case studies illustrating real examples of good practice which have had a positive impact on disabled people, their families and communities.

The book is based on three years of international research and collaboration with water and sanitation and disability sector organisations.

Lack of clean water and sanitation keep people poor, unhealthy and unable to improve their livelihoods. Disabled people have the least access to these services, which compounds their isolation, poor health and poverty. A lack of accessible sanitation facilities can have a double impact. For example, in communities where women defecate at night, moving around in the dark is extra hazardous for a disabled woman.

In a promotional release sent to N.C.P.E.D.P., the authors said, “the book fills a significant gap in knowledge, and should be of interest to following audiences:

Water and sanitation sector planners, to enable them to consider the needs of disabled people in low-income communities in the development of strategies and general programme design;

Water and sanitation service providers, to enable them to implement ordinary programmes and services in ways that include disabled people;

Organisations providing disability services, to enable them to address the issue of access to water and sanitation in their work; and Disabled people’s organisations, providing information and ideas to use in advocacy for access and rights, and to engage in the consultation process.

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