4.4 Accessibility and safety audit
Many existing institutional and household facilities are not inclusive but it may be possible to adapt them with relatively simple modifications. The first step is to assess the situation. An accessibility and safety audit is a tool used to evaluate water and sanitation facilities and identify possible adjustments and improvements. The audit includes both accessibility questions (how easy or difficult is it for people of all ages and abilities to get to and use the facility?) and safety questions (is there something about the facility or a place on the path to it that may not be safe for some users, such as people who use crutches, girls, women and small children?).
The audit may be initiated by the service provider (government and non-government), NGOs, Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) or other stakeholders. However, the auditing activity itself should be a participatory process involving the users of the facility as well as the providers. Accessibility and safety audits may be organised in a partnership arrangement between different organisations, for example a water bureau or NGO could partner with a local DPO (WaterAid/DDSP, n.d.). (You will learn more about participation and partnership in Study Session 5.)
The process described in the following sections may appear quite elaborate and require a lot of resources. It’s important to note that this may not be necessary. Auditing is a flexible process and can still be highly effective with a much lighter touch.