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Workshop report: Delivering WASH services to disabled groups

With support from WaterAid in Nigeria, a three day equity and inclusion awareness creation workshop held from 3 – 5 August 2011 in Akwanga, Nasarawa State for Civil Society Organisations and the WASH Media Network.

Workshop participants in a group picture

 

The workshop provided participants with a better understanding of the principles of equity and inclusion, specifically as an approach in ensuring the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for all. Participants recognised the need to create more awareness around the issue of equity and inclusion as well as mainstream and advocate for equity and inclusion in WASH service delivery.

 

Observations

At the end of the workshop, the WASH Media Network unanimously observed as follows:

1.    Over the years, the needs of people with disabilities and other

vulnerable groups such as people living with

HIV/AIDS and the elderly have not been mainstreamed into policies and programmes on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

2.    The opinions and input of persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups are not sought in the design and

implementation process of WASH facilities and the provision of WASH facilities.

3.   It is the responsibility of all to ensure we adopt the principles of equity and inclusion into our lives, our outlook

and the way we operate.

Recommendations

At the end of the workshop, the WASH Media Network unanimously agreed on and made the following recommendations:

1.    The needs and rights of persons living with disabilities and other

vulnerable groups should be properly considered

and addressed by government at all levels in Nigeria.

2.    In order to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets

for water and sanitation and as a measure of the principles of equity and

inclusion in our society, everybody, including persons with disabilities and other

vulnerable groups, should have equal access to water and sanitation facilities and services.

3.    The needs of people living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups should be mainstreamed into programmes

and policies on WASH.

4.    Architectural designs of water points and sanitation facilities should be done in a way that gives people with

disabilities easy and direct access.

5.    People living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups need to be involved in policies and in the decision

making process; in conceptualisation of programmes, as well as in the design and implementation procedures of

WASH facilities and service delivery.

6.    There needs to be social change in order to alter the negative perception of society towards people with disabilities

and other vulnerable groups.

7.    Equity and inclusion in WASH should be mainstreamed into school curriculum from the primary level.

8.    Civil society organisations and the media should embark on a massive campaign to create awareness and promote

equity and inclusion in WASH.

9.    People with disabilities should be empowered and given access to services that will enable them access their needs

and rights and live a life of dignity.

10.  All barriers to life affecting people with disabilities are removed.

11.  Government should recognise our diversity as a people and all forms of discrimination against people because of

age, sex, gender, disabilities must be stopped through proper government legislation and implementation of

government policies.

The WASH Media Network also resolved as follows:

1.    The WASH Media Network will strategically network with Civil Society Organisations nationally and at the regional

levels to jointly advocate for equity and inclusion in the water, hygiene and sanitation sector.

2.   Conscious of our role as media practitioners to uphold the responsibility of the government to the people, the

WASH Media Network will educate, disseminate information; carry out investigative reporting and monitor and

track WASH programmes of our national and local governments to ensure accountability and inclusive services

Members of the WASH Media Network in a group photograph with Miss Wheelchair Nigeria, Grace Alache Jerry

delivery.

3.  The WASH Media Network will make the voices of people living with disabilities and other marginalised groups

heard in relation to WASH issues.

Regina Eche-Fali

Secretary, WASH Media Network, Nigeria

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