Influencing for accessible Public toilet

February-June 2020

Surkhet, the headquarter of Karnali province has residents from different communities and districts migrated for settlement. The growth of the city has propelled migration and hence population growth from diverse background including people with disability is evidently observable. However, whether for work or any other purpose, the people who have migrated to the city had been facing difficulty due to non-existence of public toilet. UNDP In agreement with the Birendranagar municipality and Interdependent Society (IS) started construction of Public toilet at the bus stop of Birendranagar municipality to address the need for sanitation concern. The construction was planned keeping in mind the accessibility feature for people with disability.

On 3rd Februrary, 2020 NFDN office (Karnali province) received call for the monitoring of the toilet construction and to ensure the full accessibility feature of the public toilet. In response to the call, Mr. Jit Lal Dhakal, Programme Officer visited the site. After the inspection, he informed the Interdependent Society (IS), Birendranagar municipality and UNDP about the inconvenience of the structure with regard to the standard accessibility practice. He also appealed the technical person from Interdependent Society to construct the toilet in accordance to the guidance provided in the Accessible Physical Structure and Communication Directive (APSCD) 2012/2013.

In response to the NFDN suggestion, they agreed to discuss and develop a new design drawing. On 14 February, discussion on disability friendly toilet design was held at the NFDN office between NFDN staff and Mr. Newton Oli, technical officer of Interdependent Society, Surkhet. During the discussion, the flyer developed by NFDN and cbm Nepal regarding accessible toilets guidelines were provided and requested to adhere to while constructing 5 public toilets. Subsequently, regular phone calls and emails regarding study materials and posters were referred. On June, the public toilet construction at Birendranagar Municipality by UNDP in partnership with Birendranagar Municipality and Interdependent Society, Surkhet was completed. The toilet has become accessible to people with disabilities after continuous monitoring (visit to the site, information sharing through phone calls, emails) amidst the pandemic. The construction work started with designing the public toilet, but then they did not have any idea about disability-friendly toilets and how it was constructed. “Due to lack of awareness/knowledge on accessible infrastructure and also unconducive environment to build the structure, we were not able to build it” the Technician said. After the construction, he has informed his colleagues regarding disability-friendly structure. The representative of the Interdependent Society and UNDP showed appreciation to NFDN for the support in the construction of the disability-friendly public toilet during the handover.