Accessible WASH and WATSAN

Pioneering effort of Samarthyam to provide accessible Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and development facilities and toilets for persons with disabilities, which are gender sensitive, age and disable friendly. Samarthyam celebrates 19th November “World Toilet Day” and create awareness on availability of accessible & functional WASH facilities in schools, public spaces and household toilets. With UNICEF, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, and schools are Samarthyam’s key partners in this initiative.

Advocacy with Civic Agencies and City Officers to:

  • Ensure Universal Access to Sanitation including in all households, schools, health centres, work places, public buildings and public spaces/places.
    Ensure access to sanitation in all situations including disasters, emergencies, conflicts and migration.
  • Ensure access to sanitation services to make them usable and accessible for the entire population, with a special emphasis on poor and marginalised areas and groups, and develop separate sanitation investment plans to bridge these service gaps in both rural and urban areas including slums.
  • Include specific measures to increase community participation, particularly of women and persons with disabilities, in planning, implementation and management of sanitation services, and for improving transparency and accountability.
  • Develop participatory multi-stakeholder monitoring mechanism for annual reporting against clear indications for poor, marginalised and excluded groups, including people with disabilities, women, children and older people.
  • Address the stigma of impurity and pollution ascribed to sanitation especially to menstruation and to those providing sanitation services, and ensure that services are provided in a gender, age, disability and culturally sensitive manner, consistent with human rights and dignity. » Read more

In India more than 620 million people defecate in the open; this represents half the population. The other half have become blind to the practice – it is a socially accepted norm.  A change is urgently needed. Everyone has to consider the practice of open defecation as totally unacceptable. Human excreta in the environment represent a risk to all of us, and, therefore, we have a duty to raise our voice, view our duty as citizens differently and support efforts to end this practice. The best way to start is to spread the word that this is not acceptable in the India we all want to live in.

Persons with disabilities, women, girls and socially excluded communities are the worst sufferers of this neglect too.  More specifically, the government of India data shows serious gaps with huge number of toilets not existing on the ground and/or massive gaps between what has been provisioned and actual numbers. This issue of ‘missing toilets’ in rural India and ‘toilet crisis’ in urban areas need immediate attention of one and all. And in Delhi, the situation is grim with a large population still does not have access to safe sanitation without access to functional toilets, inadequate sludge management system & drainage

Each year nearly 20 million people are starting to use a toilet – breaking the inter-generational habit that was taught to them as toddlers. But 20 million new users a year is not enough to ensure that all children are born into an environment that will not contribute to them being stunted; where they will no longer suffer from repeated episodes of diarrhea; and where girls will be free from harassment and embarrassment as they enter puberty.