4.5 Steps in implementation for inclusive WASH
Although there are government guidelines for the design of inclusive WASH facilities for schools and health institutions, these recommendations are frequently not followed. There is a widespread lack of awareness of inclusive designs and why these are needed among WASH sector actors responsible for planning and implementing new WASH services including government offices at all levels and many NGOs. Even if they are aware, these people frequently have a misplaced belief that design modifications to improve accessibility will be expensive. In fact, if the changes are incorporated into the design from the start, the costs are usually minimised and only a small addition to the total budget may be required. For example, the additional costs of making a school latrine accessible have been found to be less than 3% of total costs (Jones, 2011).
The recommended steps for implementing inclusive WASH are as follows.
Step 1 Planning
Generally, bottom-up approaches to planning will be more inclusive than top-down methods. Top-down means decisions are made at higher levels of governments and organisations, and are largely guided by the availability of resources. A bottomup approach to planning originates at community level and provides a chance for local demand or development needs to be recognised. Planning offices at all levels (federal, regional, zonal and woreda) should find ways to enable excluded people, or organisations representing them, to proactively participate in the planning process. For example, a district Finance and Economic Cooperation office may organise a planning team that includes representatives from WASH offices and DPOs.
One tool that can contribute to inclusive planning at community level is the accessibility and safety audit. Findings from these audits can be used to raise awareness among the planners, decision makers and the community at large.
Step 2 Design
At this stage, the WASH service provider should refer to the government guidelines and construction manuals for design specifications for water and sanitation facilities. They should also think of engaging persons with disabilities in their discussions about the design. Again the findings from an accessibility audit would be very helpful to initiate such discussion. With input from suitably trained and qualified designers and engineers, inclusive features like the ones described in Sections 4.2 and 4.3 should be considered at the earliest stage. As noted above, incorporating inclusive design features at this stage will keep costs to a minimum.
Step 3 Procurement and contract
When the design has been decided, the next step is the procurement (buying) of the equipment, materials and services required for construction of the WASH facility. For example, the service provider will identify items to be purchased such as pipes, taps, cement, and slabs and they may need to add handrails, seats and ramp materials to their list.
The procurement team will also prepare the contract to be signed with the construction company. It is important that the contract includes details of all the inclusive features that have been specified under Step 2. The procurement team should also check whether the contractor (staff of the construction company) is fully aware of these features and has previous experience in constructing WASH facilities with inclusive design.
Step 4 Contract management
This step involves overseeing the construction process to ensure compliance with the contract specifications signed under Step 3. Contract management involves frequent and regular checking of the construction process, and if anything compromises the quality or deviates from contract specifications, the procurement team should take prompt action.
Step 5 Monitoring and evaluation
When the facility has been built, its function and accessibility should be monitored so that its effectiveness and the success of any inclusive design features can be evaluated. Joint monitoring visits involving both the provider and users are recommended. Repeating the accessibility and safety audit of the newly constructed facilities is one of the tools that could be used. Sometimes details that nobody has noticed during the construction process may need to be changed to improve accessibility, for example door handles or gates opening in or out. If it is found that the facility does not meet the accessibility specifications of the contract it may be necessary to withhold final payment from the contractor.