One of my key objectives during the course of my six month fellowship with the Advocacy Project and Gulu Disabled Persons Union is to interview persons with disabilities (PWDs) on the bus park toilet as part of the monitoring and evaluation process. For new readers to this blog the bus park toilet was project undertaken by GDPU and AP to provide an accessible toilet at a central location within Gulu Municipality. The interview was formulated to ask PWDs questions such as the use of facility, impact toilet had on PWDs life, and feedback on design among many.
To complete the survey we’ve been using what’s known as snowball sampling, which essentially means that we are using both GDPU contacts and the contacts of those we’ve interviewed to identify PWDs who could complete the new survey. Many of the interviewees we’ve been able to interview at their place of work, for example a large number of PWDs mend shoes under umbrellas near the bus park. I need to thank Stephen, GDPU Program Assistant, for venturing into town with me on this mission and translating for me. While I have not yet completed the official report on the survey we have interviewed about fifteen PWDs and I would like to share a small sample of results.
– More than 80% of the interviewees were aware of accessible bus park toilet
– Majority heard from GDPU chairman about toilet
– Although hand washing facilities, soap was not there (soap should be provided by vendor)
How did accessible toilet impact your life:
– “I was safe when I was there”
– “It reduces distance we were moving”
– “Makes our life easier. We will not contract disease”
What challenges do you face using public toilets?
– “Water is flooding everywhere. People leave their droppings anyhow”
– “If you don’t have glove it could lead to infection [for PWDs who crawl]”
– “There’s nowhere [to go to the toilet], if I want to go to latrine I will go to GDPU because at least it is designed for people with disabilities. Other toilets the challenge is crawling because some are very dirty and I can get some very bad things. The toilets which is mixed is always dirty.”
– “At market is should be accessible because there are latrines for ables should also have for all disabilities.”
Constructive feedback on design:
– Floors should be rougher. With tile floors if they get wet those using crutches can slip.
– Crossbars (railings) should be painted red
Personally, some of the results of the survey are surprising, hearing that people just leave their “droppings” on the floor. The majority of the people we interviewed were using a tri-cycle device, which were made to handle the Ugandan terrain and the long distances people move; however, the problem becomes fitting this large device in any room, let alone a toilet. Cleanliness and a sitting provision then become clear priorities for development in this area.
Through the interviews we found there was in fact a strong need for an accessible toilet. It’s a right PWDs have under the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, so that they may have the highest attainable standard of health.
I want to thank all those who have donated to the accessible water and sanitation program. We are continuing to raise funds to advocate and build accessible latrines in schools within Gulu Distract.
Posted By Kathryn Dutile (Uganda)
Posted Sep 8th, 2014