Reaching the disabled
For many of us it is hard to imagine life without running
water and nearby toilet facilities. But imagine being disabled and
living without these conveniences. Such was the everyday reality for
Savitr Jatav who is blind.
Savitr remembers, “I used to fall
very often trying to find somewhere to go; you can see the injury on my
legs and on my son’s hands.
"My son is also handicapped and he has to
walk on his hands, which was hard when he had to go to the toilet in
the needs of marginalized people in the planning, building and
management of water and sanitation projects is vital for ensuring that
new facilities are accessible to everyone in the community.
Very often, poor people with disabilities like Savitr and her son are
marginalized and overlooked in public life. WaterAid’s vision is of a
world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. In order
to reach people on the edges of society we ensure that equity and
inclusion are at the heart of our work.
Savitr was invited by WaterAid's partner, Sambhav, to join the local
self-help group in the slum where she and her son live, near Gwalior in
Madhya Pradesh state, India. With help from local engineers, she was
then able to build a suitable latrine close to her home.
Considering the needs of
marginalized people in the planning, building and management of water
and sanitation projects is vital for ensuring that new facilities are
accessible to everyone in the community.
latrines can be very challenging for disabled people who have to use
their hands to support themselves in the toilet and find it difficult
to stay clean once they have washed. This adds to the social stigma of
having a physical disability.
By making simple adjustments
such as adding raised seats and support bars to existing latrines,
disabled users were able to use facilities with dignity, and without
putting their health at risk.
These are the principles of equity
and inclusion in action. The success of projects such as those in India
and countless others, emphasize the need to involve entire communities
in the implementation of water and sanitation services so that
everyone’s need is considered from the outset and the benefits are felt
Savitr Jatav was able to gain
access to an appropriately-designed latrine close to her home.
Credit: WaterAid / Marco Betti
WaterAid's Citizens' Action initiatives are developing local accountability mechanisms that support citizens in engaging with service providers and local government to improve water and sanitation service provision. Find out how citizens are making their voices heard.
Read more on WaterAid's international website
Women in India are joining forces to improve local water and
sanitation facilities. Find out how by watching this video on the
WaterAid India website.
Watch video on WaterAid India website