Margaret Among uses a tippy tap to wash her hands in Uganda.

Photo: WaterAid/Eliza Deacon

Disability inclusion matters: water and sanitation

30 November 2015
Author: Jane Wilbur

In the run up to International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, Bond is showcasing best practice examples of disability inclusion from member organisations that do not necessarily specialise in disability.

The need for convenient access to sanitation and hygiene is stark and acute for many disabled, older and chronically ill people.

Of the almost 2.4 billion people in the world who lack access to adequate sanitation, a large number are people with disabilities. People with disabilities often face particular barriers in accessing water and sanitation, which can pose dangers to their health, degrade their self-esteem and affect how others see and treat them.

Undoing inequity: water sanitation and hygiene programmes that deliver for all in Uganda and Zambia, is a WaterAid research project, in collaboration with the Water Engineering Development Centre (WEDC) and Leonard Cheshire Disability, which aims to understand the barriers and opportunities that disabled, chronically ill and older people face in relation to water, sanitation and hygiene services.

The cost of inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene

This video investigates the cost of having in place inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene services in Uganda. A team of WaterAid and partner staff carried out an accessibility audit on water and sanitation facilities built by the community in the districts of Amuria and Katakwi, north east Uganda, after being trained on making water, sanitation and hygiene services accessible to disabled, older and chronically ill people.

It is interesting to see how local communities use the knowledge acquired to come up with innovative ways of using locally available materials to put in place inclusive water and sanitation facilities. This is a clear indication that when local communities are given the right information, they can drive their own change and priorities.

Lessons from Uganda

In this video, Francis Ediau, staff member of local NGO, TEDDO, shares his experience of which innovative inclusive water and sanitation designs worked well, what did not go well, and how different excluded groups are using these inclusive low cost technologies.

When local communities are equipped with the right information they have the capacity to make their water and sanitation facilities accessible to all, including those living with disabilities, pregnant women and older people.

Information and guidance

Ways of working and infrastructure designs to deliver water and sanitation for all in Uganda.


If you think that disability inclusion is an important issue, join Bond's Twitter chat on 2 December at 15:00 GMT.

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About the author

Jane Wilbur

Jane specialises in reducing inequalities in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). She is currently the Equity, Inclusion and Rights Adviser at WaterAid, with over 13 years' experience of working in international development.