Working Together to Ensure the WASH Rights and Needs of Persons with Disabilities in Ethiopia
UNICEF and partners in Ethiopia are working together to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) information and services for persons with disabilities, one of the poorest and most marginalized groups of people in the country. Under the One WASH National Programme, the Government of Ethiopia, UNICEF and civil society partners are taking a coordinated approach to the provision of WASH services, with a focus on improving access for the most vulnerable households. To institutionalize disability accessible WASH, national policies, guidelines and construction manuals on WASH in schools and menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) have been developed or updated to include comprehensive considerations for persons with disabilities. When disability is visible and integrated into national construction manuals and checklists, it creates accountability for the construction of accessible WASH facilities. In addition, UNICEF and partners have been building the capacity of the WASH sector on equity, inclusion and disability accessibility in WASH and Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) through online training courses and ‘Train the Trainer’ approaches. COVID-19 programmes have adapted approaches to ensure that COVID-19 prevention and hand hygiene information reaches persons with disabilities. Recognizing that many girls with disabilities are not in school in Ethiopia, UNICEF has conducted disability-inclusive community outreach activities on MHH alongside school-based programmes. UNICEF and partners are meeting the WASH rights and needs of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia through coordination of WASH service provision to the most vulnerable; disability accessibility in national WASH standards; building capacity on inclusion and equity; and adapting approaches to meet the specific needs of persons with disabilities.