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

May 24, 2013

Nothing about us, without us

People with disabilities often face barriers to accessing water, sanitation and hygiene services. A major reason for this is that they are typically not consulted during the planning and installation of facilities.

Disabled people are often the poorest people in a community. Disability and poverty are interlinked – both a cause and effect of one another. As a result, disabled people are often excluded from community decision-making and their voice is left unheard.

Sometimes this exclusion happens unknowlingly, even if a service provider has planned to engage with every member of the community. Meetings may be organised at places that aren’t accessible to people with disabilities – for example, on the second or third floor. Consideration may not be given to severely disabled people who can’t leave home to participate in community meetings.To address these issues, people with disabilities have begun to use the slogan   ‘Nothing about us, without us’ in their campaigning and advocacy activities. This idea that no policy or programme that affects disabled people should be decided by any representative without their full participation is vital.

People with disabilities know exactly what special arrangements need to be made to make water, sanitation and hygiene facilities accessible to them. They should be consulted from the starting phase of any projects that are supposed to benefit them, and also during the development of any plans or policies, governmental laws or bylaws, programme work or training, etc. Only then can water, santitation and hygiene facilities be truly inclusive.

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

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