29 August 2009

Zimbabwe: Association Builds User-Friendly Toilets for Members

THE Disablement Association of Zimbabwe (DAZ) has started building user-friendly Blair Toilets for people with disabilities.

It also plans to improve access to ablution facilities in Bulawayo after a realisation that the authorities were taking too long to act.

Insiza and Matobo districts in Matabeleland South have been chosen for the programme which is supported by World Vision.

Speaking at the recent launch of the association, DAZ executive director David Zulu said the programme was part of efforts to address health concerns of people with disabilities.

He said they tended to be left out of national programmes yet they were equally affected by challenges such as outbreaks of diseases emanating from poor sanitation.

"We are working hand in hand with World Vision Zimbabwe (WVZ) to build latrines that are accessible to people with disabilities in the rural districts if Insiza and Matobo," Zulu said.

"In the urban centre of Bulawayo we are involved in assessing the accessibility if public ablution facilities on how the current structures can be modified so that people with disabilities have better access to them."

However, WVZ humanitarian emergency affairs director, Daniel Muchena said the programme had been affected by the negative attitude towards people with disabilities inherent in society.

"In every system, there are challenges and most of them are related to attitude problems against people living with disabilities," he said.

"For example under Protracted Relief Programme 1, in Matobo district some community members are not willing to assist people with disabilities in constructing user friendly Blair toilets and engage in other productive activities.

"This is retarding development since people with disabilities are being excluded in key issues."

DAZ was registered as a trust in 2006 after it was formed by trustees Ronald Ncube, Edmore Hute and Davis Mazodze to represent people with disabilities at grassroots level.

Hute said some of their major concerns were that there was no conclusive statistics on how HIV/AIDS affected people with disabilities among many issues.

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