Ecuadorian Methodology for Developing Universal Accessibility Plans: Trophy 2015
Social inclusion requires a systematic approach in which universal design plays a key role. The Ecuadorian Government is deploying efforts on achieving inclusion, for which the Technical Secretariat of Disabilities, SETEDIS, is working on the topic of "Universal Accessibility" (UA) as a strategic and priority project, which while having a greater impact on persons with disabilities, children, pregnant women, and the elderly, also has a positive impact for all population.
During the second semester of 2013, SETEDIS started its activities on UA, and detected several issues about public policies, effectively planning projects, defining priorities and establishing realistic goals; all these mainly due to the lack of national information, indicators and methodologies.
This scenario promoted the creation of an innovative methodology to assess and measure UA, which facilitated developing accessibility plans and prioritizing their implementation.
The methodology includes an index and three core indicators: safety, autonomy, and comfort. During 2014 the methodology with its index was tested and validated in two studies, one in hundred forty nine (149) public schools and a diagnosis of accessibility in three (3) provinces of Ecuador. Both studies were carried out as participative process which took into account users' experiences and opinions.
This document summarizes the methodology and some results of the studies. The general results expose a worrying actual scenario in matters of inclusion; also, it is proved that the methodology could be applied on further studies of universal design with minimum adaptations.
As a result of the methodology and the studies we have: prioritizing resources to make accessibility adjustments in public schools by the Ministry of Education; the creation of a governmental free service for assessing public and private entities on developing and implementing their own “accessibility plans”, among others.