Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

May 20, 2013

Language affects inclusion

The biggest problems for people with disabilities are typically not related to their particular impairment, but obstacles in their environment and society’s perception of their value. All those responsible for providing water, sanitation and hygiene services have a key role to play in combating discrimination and overcoming attitudinal, institutional and environmental barriers to access.

Using appropriate, context-specific words that respect the dignity of people with disabilities is an essential part of equity and inclusion. If we refer to a disabled person as if there is a problem with them, we are more likely to focus on the person as a problem. This is in line with the ‘individual model’ of disability. The remedy, this model suggests, is to segregate the disabled person from society or cure them. However, if this is the case, the barriers to access will go unnoticed and continue to be an issue. (more…)

April 29, 2013

Targeting attitudinal and institutional barriers

Not too long ago, high steps, narrow doors and other physical obstacles were considered to be the only barriers for people with disabilities to access water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. Service providers set about creating accessible WASH facilities focused on removing these barriers. They began to build toilets and water taps that were easy to reach, installed ramps for wheelchair users and widened toilet doors. These actions have certainly helped to make facilities more accessible for people with disabilities, but alone they have not proved to be sustainable solutions for inclusion.

Many people with disabilities are denied their right to WASH due to a different kind of barrier – attitudes. Attitudinal barriers relate to people’s perspectives towards disability; for example, people with disabilities are often viewed as ‘sick’ or ‘needy’, and providing WASH facilities for them is seen as an act of charity rather than an essential part of every programme. These barriers are due to cultural and social beliefs or taboos that have been present in society for many years. (more…)

April 26, 2013

Taps and toilets help girls stay in school

Taps and toilets help girls stay in school

We all know how important pens and books are in schools. But less well known is how important water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities are too. Schoolgirls in particular find it difficult to stay in school if there is a lack of clean, safe toilets. Without these basic facilities, the gender ratio of school-going children will never be balanced.

In Nepal, girls are treated differently to boys from early childhood, due to social and cultural beliefs. As a result, they tend to be shy, and find it hard to use mixed toilets. Mixed toilets often lack the necessary facilities for menstural hygiene management, leaving them nowhere to clean or dispose of their sanitary pads. As a result, many girls miss school or drop out completely, affecting their academic performance and limiting their options as adults. (more…)

April 24, 2013

South Asia Regional Campaign on Sanitation

Recently, I got the opportunity to take part in a rally to put pressure on the Government to take the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) more seriously. The rally was part of the South Asia Regional campaign on Sanitation. held on 19 March in Kathmandu.

The campaign was joined by school students, teachers, journalists, representatives from different non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Members of Parliament from countries in the South Asia region and high level government authorities from Nepal. The rally urged the South Asian governments to keep their promises on sanitation. Two members of the UK House of the Lords were also present and walked together with more than thousand other participants to show support for the cause.

I was amazed and encouraged to see a significant number of people with disabilities present at the campaign as people with disabilities are often not represented by issue-based organisations. But WaterAid in Nepal, who co-hosted the campaign, are committed to including people with disabilities in campaign activities. They invited the National Federation for the Disabled, Nepal (NFDN) and the umbrella organisation of all disability public organisations (DPOs) to the events.


April 22, 2013

Access for all

Progress  towards universal access to water and sanitation is being made. The Government of Nepal recently passed a directive to ensure that all public spaces – from schools and colleges to hotels and banks – must be accessible to disabled people.

Public bathrooms and toilets are included in the plans and the announcement means that all new facilities must be built with ramps and accessible paths. Inside, grab rails, accessible shelves and commodes should be available, ensuring that users will not have to strain or squat to use the facilities, which is painful or impossible for many people with disabilites.

Access to water has also been included in the directive, which states that public taps must be installed at heights that allow people who use a wheelchair to reach them. Water should also not be allowed to spill on the floor, which could be dangerous for people with physical disabilies. Ramps and rails must be installed to allow wheelchair users to access facilities and doors must open with space for people with physical disabilities to move safely and with dignity.

The changes will mean that facilities must be constructed with disabled people in mind and will encourage equal access to safe water and sanitation for everyone.

The post is written by Mr Sagar Prasai – sagarDOTprasain@gmailDOTcom

March 11, 2013

Disabled Amrita

Amrita Gyawali is 23 years old. Amrita was brought up in a special centre for disabled children. This was because she has been a wheel-chair user since the age of three when her legswere paralysed after a bus accident. The centre has all therelevant facilities, including a school with disabled-friendly toilets. Growing up in the centre and attending its school, Amrita did not have difficulty going to and using toilets.

Amrita Gyawali

Things changed after she finished school and started making her way out of it to a government-run college. Her college does not have a disabled-friendly toilet. This poses a severe problem for her. She has no option but to seek help fromothers, and this creates an awkward situation for her and for others — not to mention uncomfortable feelings for all parties.At college, she avoids drinking water; and, after college, she hurries home. “When I am at college, I can’t go to the toilet. Ihave to hold it back for a long time, which, I know, is unhealthy, for it could cause urinary and kidney complications in a few years’ time,” says Amrita.

Living in a big metropolitan city like Kathmandu has not helped either. Knowing that there’s a lack of accessible sanitation facilities around the city makes her tense whenever she has to go outside, meet people and take part in activities. “Talking openly about toilet may seem odd, and even odder for a girl,but having access to a private, hygienic and comfortable toiletis a part of everyone’s fundamental need,” she added. In her spare time, she is actively involved in campaigns that push for the creation of more disabled-friendly infrastructure in Kathmandu.

A lack of disabled-friendly toilets at Kathmandu’s public institutions has adversely affected both male and female wheel-chair users. But for reasons of privacy and dignity,disabled women suffer all the more. As such, their discomfort  is a genuine development problem that needs to be solved if we are all to enjoy our human rights to exercise choices that expand our capabilities to live happy and fulfilling lives.

The post is written by Mr Sagar Prasai – sagarDOTprasain@gmailDOTcom

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence