NFDN in partnership with CBM and in collaboration with Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) conducted its first access audit in Ratnapark (Kathmandu) and Siddha Pokhari (Bhaktapur). The access audit was undertaken in the park area, public toilet within the Ratnapark periphery, public toilet outside the park, Shantibatika and Siddha Pokhari area with the help of technical persons and user community.
The objectives of the campaign is to create mass awareness for accessibility, which will enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. The audit has been undertaken to appraise defined areas of the premise to access the extent of accessibility and propose the extent of works required to improve the public infrastructure in accordance with approved accessibility standards and universal design principles.
Picture Caption: Technical person auditing pathways of Siddhapohari
The process was formally inaugurated by Chief of Social development division of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Mr. Badri Bahadur Khadka. He cited that KMC has done some minor correction in the park however measuring the indicators by himself he added that lot of input is required to make the park accessible. He further urged to send the recommendations to KMC to speed up the correction process coordinating with NFDN.
The audit process involved questionnaire fill up by technical person and disability specific concerns were put forward by user community which is intended to be of great help on improving accessibility. Square Unit Private Limited was sole responsible for conducting access audit with the help of their designed checklist. The checklist consisted of set of questionnaires to be filled up by them. It involved identification of physical barriers to access against pre-determined criteria which is the starting point of ongoing access plan. Whilst, the majority of the questionnaires were completed by technical persons, specific mobility concerns were shared by user community which involved wheelchair user, persons with visual impairment, person with hearing impairment , persons with physical disability (crutches user) and persons with intellectual disability.
Picture caption: Wheelchair user being helped on stariways
Various accessibility issues were highlighted that provided baseline assessment against which initial recommendations are made to compile in the access report to enhance accessibility for Persons with Disabilities. On the basis of such observations, recommendations were made which is to be compiled in access audit report and then will reflect it to the concerned stakeholders for further interventions. There were number of access related issues raised by the user community. Some of the key issues are limited signage, hurdles in the walking pathway, staircase, ramp standards, small pathways, inaccessible toilet and other facilities. The issues will be presented in detail in the upcoming report and proposed possible solutions to them will be addressed for correction.
The representatives of both Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Bhaktapur Metropolitan City has strongly committed to improve the accessibility in those public places based on the recommendations provided by the access audit report. In addition, both of these agencies’ representatives assured that they will fix the accessibility as this is being a fundamental human rights of every individual to access the public places.