Accessible infrastructures for people with disabilities: finding consistent ways for inclusive implementation of policies

By Aurel Clyde Rabehanta and Lovy Rasolofomanana, WaterAid Madagascar

5 Jun 2014WASH Matters

WaterAid's Equity and inclusion framework defines and describes accessible water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure for people with disabilities. After receiving technical training from Handicap International on accessible infrastructure, WaterAid Madagascar and our partners have applied the new designs to our programme work.

Testing accessible school latrines
Credit: WaterAid

While significant improvements have been made, an audit carried out by WaterAid, people with disabilities and Handicap International experts identified some areas of improvement to comply with international standards.

Since then, more work to mainstream equity and inclusion has taken place. The rights to water and sanitation have been promoted and WaterAid Madagascar has set up a partnership with the Platform of People with Disabilities, whose mission is to promote their rights.

Participatory workshops held with people with disabilities and local government have helped to collect data on contexts, problems and  approaches for scaling up solutions.

As a result, all of WaterAid Madagascar’s work in schools and health centres is accessible to people with disabilities. Communities have been involved to ensure that public tap stands were accessible and paths to household latrines were improved.

Challenges that remain include implementing accessible facilities in urban and peri-urban areas where lack of space and available land are a common reality. In addition, the national Urban Master Plan, developed over 30 years ago, does not take into consideration the needs of people with disabilities. Budgets are also a constraint with the cost of rehabilitating existing WASH facilities to make them accessible around 25% of the original cost, and not commonly budgeted for.

These challenges are the focus for WaterAid Madagascar going forward, so that everyone has access to WASH.

This article is part of our WASH Matters series, regular insights into our programme and project work in Africa and South Asia. Discover more here >