ACCESSIBLE MARKET PLACE
Developing a fully accessible marketplace by Enablement and TLMM
The approach for increasing access to market places is largely based on efforts and lessons learned in a previous TLMM-led DFID-funded project, “Reducing the physical and social barriers faced by 2,000 people with disabilities in seven States and Regions in Myanmar and improving their livelihood opportunities.” The previous project resulted in the removal of individual barriers, such as building bridges over small rivers, and ramps at a shallow gradient slope into marketplaces, and was well-received and made lives easier for people with disabilities.
From the previous project, we realised that greater funds should be invested in fewer locations. Then, those locations could be built to a high standard and used as an advocacy tool by bringing essential stakeholders, such as national, regional, and local government, NGO and community leaders, to see the model fully accessible marketplace. This can then influence policy, practice and developments elsewhere. TLMM and Enablement will work together to scale up implementing an additional fully inclusive market place, as well as intentionally and strategically using this market place as an advocacy tool to influence change.
The team recognises that piloting the development of a fully accessible market place is a big step forward in removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities who are interested in working in agriculture (and buying and selling products). However, developing a fully accessible market place and using it as an advocacy tool alone is not fully effective in the long-term, as communities will need guidance on how to make their own market places accessible. Therefore, we will also develop a market place inclusion handbook, to ensure the sustainability of these innovations and to ensure that these market places can influence widespread change across the country, and even internationally. These guidelines will incorporate the use of multi-modal communication to ensure accessibility for those with visual and hearing impairments, and those with low-literacy.
On top of all these developments, we are currently discussing the documentation (on film!) of the current barriers in accessibility to the market place and the transformation towards the model market place. We hope that in the future we can show this documentary and give insight in the obstacles that people with disabilities encounter in market places and what is needed to ensure inclusion for all.
Follow the progress on the construction work of the accessible market place below.
In January 2019 construction work started to make Hpa-do's new market building accessible for people with disabilities. The photos above show the progress of the barrier-free marketplace. So far, ramps have been constructed to make the building accessible to physically impaired persons like wheelchair users. Other adaptations that will be made are i.a. tactile markings for people with visual impairments. It is expected that all construction work will be finished by the end of March 2019. In addition, an opening ceremony will be held in April 2019. Photos from this event and further progress will follow.