Beyond taps and toilets

Empowering people doesn’t stop at a safe tap and toilet. In Nepal and Zambia, we’ve been working to empower disabled people to feel their voices are heard.


Empowering disabled job seekers

Our work to empower disabled people doesn’t end with providing taps and toilets. We work to ensure they are able to actively influence society to take make more provision for disabled people.

WaterAid Nepal has been working to change the culture of disempowerment that disabled people face, not just in terms of access to water and sanitation. A chance conversation highlighted to the team that some disabled people felt unable to apply for mainstream jobs as they didn’t have the skills to search or compete for these roles.

The team in Nepal realised that they needed not only to recruit people with disabilities themselves but also help create an environment which empowered disabled people to apply for mainstream jobs in other sectors.

WaterAid Nepal joined forces with other international non-governmental organisations and the Government to host Nepal’s first ever job fair for disabled people in December 2012. More than 200 disabled people participated.

‘Nothing about us, without us’

WaterAid Nepal also appointed a consultant on disability rights, Sagar Prasai, who is also a wheelchair user, to focus on improving things in the water and sanitation sector.

Over seven months, the partnership put the issues of water and disability on the national agenda for the attention of policy-makers.

You can read Sagar’s blog about how disabled people cope with limited access to water and sanitation on the Huffington Post >

Undoing inequity

The ‘Undoing inequity’ project aims to identify some of the barriers that prevent disabled and older people from accessing safe water and sanitation. In the Monze district of Zambia we were introduced to Loingnois Hachalambwela. Loingnois is a wheelchair user and also suffers from a neurological disorder which causes him to shake. Through our project, Loingnois was built an accessible latrine with a raised seat and handrail. He can now go to the toilet with dignity and privacy.

Through our partners, DAPP, we also enabled him to attend a community meeting about the project. However, Loingnois still felt excluded by his community. His experience shows that simply providing accessible taps and toilets is only one step on the journey to being inclusive and that disabled people must also be given a voice in planning processes.

We’ve also been tackling social exclusion in the tea gardens of Bangladesh, read more here >