Author Archives: Maria-Theres Schuler

Maria-Theres Schuler is a PhD student in Social Anthropology at the University of Zurich. Her dissertation explores disability among refugees and focuses on people’s engagement with the aid system in a refugee settlement in Uganda. From 2014 to 2017 she was a PhD candidate in the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded project ‘Disability and Technology in Uganda from Local and Global Perspectives’. From 2017 to 2018 she was a visiting PhD fellow at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. She has recently contributed a piece titled ‘Discomfort, complaints, and claims. Conducting fieldwork with refugees with disabilities’ (2018) to the Medicine Anthropology Theory ‘Dissertating’ section.

‘Inclusive WASH’ – Contested assumptions about bodies and personhood in a Ugandan refugee settlement

As I skimmed through the first pages of the shiny brochure of the ‘Inclusive WASH’ project, I suddenly recognized some of the people that the leaflet depicted in its photograph-filled spread: Odongo, a Sudanese man with paralyzed legs who pumped water from a borehole; Claire, a Congolese woman with one arm and one leg who poured water into a basin with the help of an iron scaffold that held a jerry can, a plastic container for storing and transporting water; and Vitali, an elderly Burundian man with legs withered by polio, who was shown receiving instructions on how to use the iron scaffold with the jerry can. The ‘Inclusive WASH’ project was implemented by an international aid organization with the aim to enhance access to water, and to improve sanitation and hygiene for people with disabilities through inclusive technology design. As the project officially came to an end only shortly (read more...)