The latest Open Access Ambassador Spotlight Blog is here!

Our OA Ambassadors raise awareness in their local communities about global OA movements as well as related opportunities through IWA Publishing. They are representatives of both the International Water Association and IWA Publishing and our joint goals to empower the next generation of water leaders and to shape the future of the water sector. These blog posts highlight their specialty and research focus, as well as emphasising the importance of Open Access publishing. 

Kator is a civil engineer and MSc student from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, committed to environmental sustainability. Explore Kator's previous blog posts here, or connect with him on LinkedIn!

The implementation of disability-inclusive water policies and infrastructure in Africa emphasizes the crucial role of inclusive policies and practices in ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal access to water and sanitation services.

The Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KIWASH) project, funded by USAID and implemented in Kenya, has aimed to enhance access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services for individuals with disabilities. As part of this initiative, the project has carried out the construction of WASH facilities that are accessible to all, provided assistive devices, and promoted inclusive practices in the provision of WASH services. Additionally, the project has also focused on increasing awareness about the rights of individuals with disabilities.

The Water Policy in Tanzania was revised in the year 2002, with the explicit intention of incorporating the requirements of people with disabilities. This revision represented a significant stride towards guaranteeing that water and sanitation services were accessible to all. The policy mandates that water supply and sanitation services should be created and implemented in a manner that takes into consideration the needs of individuals with disabilities.

South Africa has initiated a policy referred to as the Free Basic Water Policy, where every citizen is entitled to a specified amount of water at no cost. This policy is of great significance to people with disabilities, as they frequently encounter additional obstacles in accessing water services. The policy is grounded in the principle of "equity," which advocates for the implementation of special measures to ensure that marginalized groups, including individuals with disabilities, have access to water services.

Several inclusive WASH projects have been implemented in Uganda. For example, the Amref Health Africa project focused on improving access to WASH services for all community members including those with disabilities. The project included the construction of disability-friendly latrines and the provision of assistive devices to help people with disabilities access water. The project also included training for community members on the needs of people with disabilities and how to assist them in accessing the WASH services. One of its objectives is to promote WASH advocacy through community engagement and decision-making in inclusive WASH needs and rights, especially for socially excluded groups.

The aforementioned cases serve to emphasize the feasibility of implementing disability-inclusive water policies and infrastructure in African countries. It is imperative that the needs of individuals with disabilities are considered when designing and implementing water and sanitation services. I implore governments, organizations, and all relevant parties to give due consideration to this special group and ensure that no one is left behind.

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