In Cambodia, people with disabilities are often among the poorest of the poor, are less likely to attend school and are more likely to depend on others for their livelihood. These factors, along with experiences of stigma and discrimination, act as barriers to being included in community water, sanitation and hygiene services. Women with disabilities in Cambodia may experience a ‘triple burden’ of discrimination based on being a woman living with a disability and being among the poorest in the community.
Accessing safe water and sanitation can be a greater challenge for people with disabilities as they may have difficulty getting to or using a water point or latrine. They may also be left out of community processes because they do not hear about the event or are unable to get to and from community meetings, or because the promotion methods are not appropriate for people with vision or hearing impairments.
Inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene occurs when the entire community, including people with a disability, the elderly, pregnant women, ethnic minorities and other marginalised groups benefit and participate equally from water, sanitation and hygiene programs, services and processes. Inclusive approaches to water, sanitation and hygiene encourage awareness of and participation by all marginalised groups.
The Footprints funding will contribute to improving inclusion of people with disabilities and the elderly in community life and the delivery of accessible safe water, sanitation and hygiene in one community in Pursat Province.
Project objectives and outcomes
People with disabilities gain access to safe water and sanitation
- People with disabilities have access to a clean, sustainable water source.
- People with disabilities have access to and regularly use improved toilets rather than resorting to open defecation, resulting in a reduction of infected faecal material being present in the environment.
Improve participation of people with disabilities in community life
- People with disabilities actively participate in community decision making processes
- Communities recognise the rights of community members with disabilities
- Family members caring for people with disabilities are better supported
- Community members with disabilities form social support networks to have a stronger voice in the community and share and support each other
Support inclusive hygiene education and services
- People with disabilities and their families adopt improved hygiene practices and have access to materials to make hygiene practice accessible
- Local health and support services are connected and supporting with people with disabilities and their carers
Project partners and community involvement
WaterAid will work with implementing partners, people with disabilities, the community, service providers, and the local government to implement this project in line with four key principles:
1. Awareness of disability and its implications is the crucial first step in water, sanitation and hygiene programs becoming inclusive.
2. Participation of people with a disability is essential for meeting their needs and for genuine empowerment and community-led change.
3. Comprehensive accessibility ensures that physical, communication, policy and attitudinal barriers are all identified and addressed. This is more than physical access to infrastructure, but also to information and involving people with disabilities in community decision making.
4. Identify specific actions for people with a disability at the community level while establishing disability inclusion as common practice.
How this project fits into a larger strategy
The Cambodian government has committed to providing universal coverage of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene by 2025.
To help achieve this goal, WaterAid Cambodia is committed to improving the accessibility of safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all areas where people with disabilities, the elderly and pregnant women experience barriers to these essential services.
WaterAid is working at the national level to develop guidelines for accessible water, sanitation and hygiene services as well as at the local level to support communities, local government, and service providers to improve their practices to provide better outcomes for people with disabilities.