OBLIGATORY ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS
- Uganda makes accessibility standards mandatory
- Ugandan Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development
- Country of Implementation
- Subsaharan Africa
- Start Year
- First published
“We call upon all stakeholders in the construction industry to play their part in making Uganda a barrier-free society by implementing these standards.” Apollo Mukasa, Uganda National Action on Physical Disability, Uganda
Uganda’s Accessibility Standards are an important start in advocating and enforcing an accessible environment for all persons, including persons with disabilities. Their objective is to draw up a blueprint and be a tool for measurement, assessment and advising. The Ministry of Education and Sports adopted them for all school construction projects. As part of the Building Control Bill, the Standards will become a requirement for the approval of all construction projects, once the bill is signed into an Act.
In many countries in the Global South, accessibility standards do not exist. In the few countries where they exist, they are very often not legally binding, not enforced and not monitored. Uganda is among the first sub-Saharan countries to have developed their own accessibility standards. Uganda’s standards are mandatory for school construction projects.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
One guiding principle of the Standards is a fully accessible trip: persons with disabilities must be able to exit their home, access a sidewalk, enter a vehicle, alight from the vehicle onto a sidewalk near the workplace, reach the entrance of the building, manoeuvre within the building and reach their workstation. The Standards highlight the different access barriers faced by people who use wheelchairs and people with limited movements, blind persons and persons with visual impairments, deaf persons and persons with hearing impairments, people with learning or intellectual disabilities, and other groups (such as the elderly). Most importantly, the Standards are to be applied during the design, construction and alteration of buildings and facilities, and cover mainly the built environment (barrier-free entrance, parking space, pathways, corridors, urban roads, water and sanitation facilities). They provide a series of practical and detailed plans and maps that planners can use to construct accessible facilities such as toilets, boreholes, etc. They also include provisions on the accessibility of services, information and communication, e.g. public operated machines, and on the use of accessible formats such as sign language, tactile and Braille.