Sagar Prasai at the UN High Level Meeting on disability

Sagar Prasai, a disability rights activist, reflects on his visit to the UN High Level Meeting on disability.

WASH Matters

On 23 September 2013, I attended the UN High Level meeting on disability and development at the UN Headquarters in New York. I was representing WaterAid and also participating as a disability rights activist.

The UN general assembly consists of government delegates from all around the world. That a high-level discussion was even discussing issues of disability was an achievement in itself for people with disabilities.

There were many civil service organisation (CSO) representatives in the audience for the high level meeting, providing the opportunity to network. I met representatives from many other disability organisations, and had the opportunity to talk about the issues of water and sanitation for disabled people.

The representatives I spoke to agreed that disabled people are some of the poorest in the world and that they must be included in all development for it to be successful.

The next day I attended an event organised by UNICEF called the ‘Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities’. This event brought development organisations from around the world together.

This event encouraged discussion between representatives on how we can support all children’s development. I raised the issue of how we measure success when so much work has been done but disabled people are still unable to access safe water and sanitation.

For me, the issue is not just about policy gaps or developing different models. For disabled people, if you can’t get though the door, this is the biggest barrier for you. These issues need addressing alongside debates around policy.

These meetings were a great opportunity for WaterAid to be heard internationally and to meet representatives from other influential development organisations leading on disability.

Read more about work to reach marginalised people >

Our Equity and inclusion framework shows some of the ways we are working with disabled people >

This article is part of the November issue of WASH Matters, our quarterly service delivery magazine. Find out more about WASH Matters >