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Plan Indonesia Disability Inclusion in WASH

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Since the beginning of 2012 Plan Indonesia has been explicitly trying to implement disability inclusion approaches within its existing sanitation and hygiene projects. Even though the results achieved at the community level vary, it is becoming clear that disability inclusion approaches are making a difference in terms of enabling people with disabilities (PWD) to have full access to basic sanitation and hygiene facilities. Plan Indonesia considers the year of 2012 as the initial step of disability inclusion achievement within its WASH program, which will be built on in the following years.

Plan Indonesia is currently implementing two CLTS (including hygiene) projects in three districts, namely Grobogan, Timor Tengah Selatan (TTS) and Timor Tengah Utara (TTU). The total population in these three districts is approximately 2.1 million people. The projects aim to reach open defecation free (ODF) status in 569 villages and to set government-led sanitation development by encouraging local governments to allocate their funding for improving sanitation and hygiene conditions through CLTS implementation in Grobogan District and ODF sustainability monitoring in TTS and TTU Districts. During their implementation it was found that, due to several physical / infrastructural barriers, a number of PWD were unable to access latrines built by community members. These PWD need special attention in term of enabling them to have full access to the latrines, hence different approaches are often needed to be carried out.

Awareness Raising on Disability Inclusion

Upon reflecting on the two WASH projects, Plan Indonesia determined that the projects needed to be more explicit regarding its disability inclusion strategies. Currently some results on disability inclusion aspect are there to be scaled-up with some aspects need to be improved.

The first step taken was conducting disability inclusion awareness raising session / training to all project staff members. This was mainly to introduce the concept of disability inclusion within WASH programs to all project staff members. The training that adapted the WaterAID’s and WEDC inclusive awareness raising materials was seen as the opportunity to spread the message of disability inclusion to the field staff members who will later implement the activities at the community levels. Some tools such as disability barriers mapping, squatting simulation and latrines inspection exercise were carried out to raise the awareness on the importance of addressing the sanitation necessity for PWD. The most important output of this training was the fundamental understanding of all project staff members on the steps needed to be done in implementing disability inclusion approach within the current WASH projects. The understanding was then translated into a work plan.

A good thing was that some sub-district officials who participated in the training were ‘triggered’ to adopt a disability inclusion approach to be implemented in their sub-district. They were confident to set their sub-districts as the pilot project for disability inclusion approach. They picked up the plan to go through the process from conducting assessment to find the PWD who crucially need the access to basic sanitation, committed to consult with them, committed to work with disabled people’s organization (DPO), and designing the most appropriate sanitation facilities for them. With close support from Plan Indonesia, we are going to see some concrete results on this sub-district by the end of 2013.

After the training all of participants went back to their working location and started making an attempt to action their work plans. Given that disability specific activities were not planned since the beginning of the project, this represented some “additional works” that were needed on top of their business as usual.

It seemed not a big deal for the staff members since the spirit shared to everyone from the training was that PWD are part of community members who work toward achieving ODF status of which all of persons within the village boundary ought to have access to improved latrines. Failure to enable the PWD to have access to latrines will lead to the failure of ODF status achievement. Most importantly all the project staffs now understand that basic sanitation is a human right therefore all people without exception need to have safe and sustainable access to latrines, including those with disability.

What Has Been Achieved?

It is encouraging to see the results in the ground brought by the project staff members and government counterparts. In the last seven months they have been working with community, especially with PWD, to achieve universal access to latrines at the village level –the scale of which ODF is declared. Survey and assessment were conducted by the project staff members in order to have a list of information in regards to PWD in each village. Since PWD can be easily overlooked during the usual CLTS process implemented in all villages, the staff members need to revisit the villages and find out any issues in regard to the inability of PWD in accessing improved latrines. At the end of the assessment staff members had the information about the number of PWD in each village and what kind of disability they have. These information were used to decide with whom (and how) they will work with to enable PWD in accessing improve latrines.

The most promising result for 2012 was the effort to link between sanitation marketing and disability inclusion. The current CLTS projects have encouraged local entrepreneurs to involve in sanitation business. With the assistance of Plan Indonesia some of them managed to form an association at district level called PAPSIGRO. The members of PAPSIGRO come from sanitation entrepreneurs at several sub-districts. To date, nearly 1,750 toilets have been sold by PAPSIGRO to the Grobogan District community. Training had been done to the members of PAPSIGRO included how to make special latrines for PWD. They were been introduced to the different options of latrines for PWD, including additional physical features that may be needed by PWD to get in to latrines such as hand-holder, railing, ramp, etc. Currently PAPSIGRO is providing services to build cheap latrines that will be designed based on the specific needs of PWD. With the assistance of Plan Indonesia staff members, PAPSIGRO are also developing the design of universal latrine that can be used by children and PWD. Further, to get more advances in reaching consumers who need specifically-designed latrines, PAPSIGRO has established a partnership with a local DPO.

The other recent results are in term of enabling PWD to have proper access to improved latrines, thus some different types of latrines have been built to fit their needs. It has also been found that significant social barrier in term of society rejection to the PWD was not encountered by the project staff members. This has brought easier task for the staff members to work with PWD and their society to make special latrines are accessible for PWD. Some good examples of the results from working with PWD and their family can be found in Mrs. Tri and Mr. Kiran’s house in Grobogan District, also in Mrs. Theresia and Mr. Matheous’ house in TTS District.

Mr. Matheous and Mrs. Theresia are married couple in their late eighties. They live in Loli Village that has reached ODF status in the beginning of 2012. Both of them have low vision impairment. Plan Indonesia project staff members and Loli Village community helped them to build light-coloured stone paths that can guide them from home toward the latrine and a hand washing facility. Now the facility is completed and both of them can go to latrine without help from others.

The 82 year old Mr. Kiran has weak legs that make him unable to squat for a long time. He had been practicing open defecation for many years before finally he was able to build his own latrine. Once CLTS has been introduced to his village, he built a pit latrine in his backyard. His wife and children relentlessly helped him to squat whenever he went to defecate, which at times made him think how unpleasant that must be for them. As a consequence Mr. Kiran thought to go back to the river where he could defecate on his own without any help. Fortunately before this happened, his children went to a consultation session with a PAPSIGRO member on how to customize their family latrine so that Mr Kiran can use it independently. Very soon after the consultation, a PAPSIGRO and Plan Indonesia staff member worked with Mr. Kiran to design a special latrine with hand-holder to help him squat. He now can access the latrine without additional help from his family members. Mr. Kiran’s case is similar to the 76 year old Mrs. Tri who suffered a stroke. In her case a wooden-chair had been holed to help her sitting comfortably whenever she defecates.

What’s Next?

Some lists of what to do in 2013 are now on the table. The implementation of disability inclusion within Plan Indonesia’s WASH program is spreading at the community level and needs to be vertically scaled-up. Local governments need to integrate this aspect within on-going CLTS projects. The results we have are good proof that disability inclusion approach does work to reach all people in accessing improved latrines; and use these best practice examples to encourage local government to adopt such approach.

Awareness raising needs to be conducted to the government officials who are directly involved in CLTS projects, including sanitarian from local health center and sub-district officials. Lastly, the local entrepreneurs who involve in sanitation marketing need also to provide affordable latrine products that meet PWD needs, including with the installation services. For water supply facilities Plan Indonesia will require each facility construction needs to be accessible for PWD when they live in the project location. By doing all of this, we may expect to see wider scale of disability inclusion implementation that can help more PWD in having full access to WASH facilities. 

This briefing paper has been prepared by Wahyu Triwahyudi, Plan Indonesia.


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