Improving Physical Accessibility: A Dissemination Workshop for Engineering and Architecture Students

Improving Physical Accessibility: A Dissemination Workshop for Engineering and Architecture Students

On 1 July 2022, the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Service (ACCESS) Program supported a dissemination workshop on Technical Standards and Design on Physical Infrastructure Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities that was targeted at engineering and architecture students. It aimed to disseminate and promote the implementation of the technical standards on physical accessibility and encourage engineering and architecture students to participate in design competitions that focus on physical accessibility standards.

With the support of the Australian Government through the ACCESS Program, the Disability Action Council Secretariat General (DAC-SG), in close partnership with Humanity & Inclusion (HI) has witnessed significant positive milestones in its work to improve physical accessibility for persons with disabilities.

These milestones include the national launch of the Technical Standards on Physical Accessibility; rollout of training of trainers at the national and sub-national levels; production of five animation clips to raise public awareness of the importance of physical accessibility standards; construction of 25 accessible ramps across 25 communes of the five provinces of Siem Reap, Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Battambong, and Kratie as a physical accessibility engineering model; and most recently, the issuing of a letter by the Ministry of Interior to all 25 Provincial Governors instructing them to implement the Technical Standards on Physical Accessibility.

Mr Connor Floyd, Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy to Cambodia, stated in his address to the workshop that he appreciated seeing a number of students in the faculty of engineering and architecture that are future leaders of change, improving technical standards linked to accessible pathways, transport and parking, and public buildings such as schools, workplace, commune councils, and health facilities. These best-practice standards will support children with disabilities in ensuring equitable access to education; it will support women and men with disabilities to access equitable job opportunities, and more broadly will support persons with disabilities to participate equally in everyday life.

“Australia is proud of its partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia, local and international organisations, the Organisation of Persons with Disabilities, universities, and private companies to contribute to the implementation of the National Disability Strategic Plan, which is geared toward improving equitable standards and quality of life for persons with disabilities thereby enabling their full and equal participation in society.” Mr Connor added.

His Excellency Ung Sambath, Deputy Secretary-General of DAC-SG stated: “Engineers have an imperative role to play in ensuring high quality and well-designed infrastructure that improves its usefulness and visual appeal. Ensuring optimal quality and design must also include accessibility for all, including persons with disabilities, elderly people, pregnant women, and children.“ He expressed gratitude to the Australian Government for its support to persons with disabilities in Cambodia, as well as to HI for its provision of technical support to DAC-SG on improving physical accessibility in Cambodia.

According to HI, one of ACCESS’ Implementing Partners, further activities to contribute to improving Physical Accessibility, training to Provincial-DACs will be held, as well as an assessment of the city bus in Phnom Penh for access to public transportation.