2.3.3 Institutional barriers
In Study Session 1 you learned that inclusion of marginalised groups has not been a priority in government policy until relatively recently. Institutional barriers refer to policies, programmes and directives that do not include clear statements about inclusion and how it should be achieved. It can also mean a lack of enforcing mechanisms where these statements do exist but are not implemented, for example, there are many public buildings without ramp access even though this is required by legislation.
Institutional barriers also include limited knowledge and skills among the policy makers and designers. (You may recall this was one aspect of lack of resources identified as a reason for exclusion in Study Session 1.) The relevant ministries/bureaus responsible for water and sanitation are rarely aware of the issues of exclusion and inclusion. Many WASH sector actors are unaware of the barriers that prevent participation and access to WASH facilities, and they lack training in inclusive WASH. The COWASH Disability Inclusion Guideline (COWASH, 2017) also suggests that more could be done if the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and the Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) strengthened their presence and activity at woreda level and their links with the WASH sector to address issues of inclusive WASH.