World Vision's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Technical Programme (TP) in Zambia has won an award under the Zero Project for innovating a practice of using Geographical Information System (GIS) to assess disability access to water and Sanitation.
Our WASH TP conducts GIS-based mapping to assess the accessibility of toilet facilities in schools and health centres in the country, and it especially maps those areas where facilities are not accessible. This data is made available through a web portal called mWater – a free, open-source data platform for managing water, sanitation, and health projects.
This data is then used by World Vision and the ministries of Education and Health to prioritise work to make the toilets accessible. As of 2021, the programme has analysed 630 schools and 198 health facilities in Zambia.
“This work also involves WASH and community task groups that are comprised of people with disabilities. They ensure that facilities that have been adapted with jerrycan tippers, toilet seats, and bathing seats are accessible to all", says Doreen Chizyuka, World Vision's Zambia WASH Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Coordinator, who was in Austria to receive the award.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 15% of the world population experiences some form of disability and 80 percent of them are in developing countries; with higher levels of disability among women, the poor, and the elderly. Research further shows that due to lack of access to WASH, persons with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse outcomes, such as limited access to sanitation in homes, health facilities, schools, and public buildings.
“This is an exciting moment for World Vision, as an organisation whose core business is to serve vulnerable populations,” says Maybin Ng'ambi, from World Vision's WASH TP in Zambia. “This award will help to continue to raise awareness on disability inclusion because for us, it is part of our overall GESI approach as an organisation.”
The Zero Project is an initiative by Essl Foundation MGE, a non-profit organisation based in Austria. Each year, the Zero Project selects, communicates and shares innovative solutions that support the rights and lives of persons with disabilities. This year's Zero Project conference had over 76 Innovative Solutions from 35 countries who were recognised for their proven and impactful commitment to remove barriers for all.
World Vision has been implementing holistic WASH programmes aimed at increasing access to clean drinking water, improved sanitation, and safe hygiene practices in rural parts of Zambia since 2008. From 2010 to 2020, World Vision built and rehabilitated nearly 8,500 water points and created more than 200 piped-water systems that serve more than 1.5 million people. In total, World Vision reached 1.7 million people with improved sanitation facilities and educated 1.4 million people in healthy hygiene practices in the same period.
To date, World Vision is now the second-largest provider of clean water in Zambia, after the Government.