Thursday, June 1, 2023

Banjarmasin Strives to Become an Inclusive City

Jayanty Nada Shofa
September 29, 2021 | 1:31 am
Non-profit organization Kota Kita Foundation alongside Difabike are working on disabled-friendly three-wheeler prototypes for people with disabilities in Banjarmasin. (Photo Courtesy of Kota Kita)
Non-profit organization Kota Kita Foundation alongside Difabike are working on disabled-friendly three-wheeler prototypes for people with disabilities in Banjarmasin. (Photo Courtesy of Kota Kita)

Jakarta. South Kalimantan's capital Banjarmasin strives to become an inclusive city, making progress in providing access for people with disabilities in the city's public places with help from global donors and a local non-governmental organization, Kota Kita. 

Since 2019, Kota Kita —a non-profit advocating for inclusive urban development— has become the local implementer of the transformative urban mobility initiative (TUMI) in Banjarmasin. And one of its focuses is to ensure accessible personal mobility for people with disabilities.

In 2018, Kota Kita and Unesco surveyed 3,897 people with disabilities in Banjarmasin. About 45 percent of the respondents expressed they never left their homes for activities other than school or work. The study attributed the low mobility to the lack of transportation modes that met their needs.

To this end, Kota Kita —along with disabled-friendly ride-hailing service Difabike and several universities— are working on a prototype, retrofitted three-wheelers for people with disabilities.


The development process includes eight people with disabilities in Banjarmasin, who will receive the disabled-friendly rides once they are completed.

"We are trying to empower people with disabilities who face limited options for mobility to become more independent. And hopefully, this program will open up access to job opportunities," Nina Asterina, the project manager for urban inclusivity initiatives at Kota Kita, told a presser on Tuesday. 

Kota Kita is working on similar prototypes for the people with disabilities in Yogyakarta as well, according to Nina.

Under TUMI, Kota Kita aims to keep children safe as they walk to and from their schools. Kota Kita already came up with concept designs that ensure schools have accessible sidewalks, crosswalks, guiding blocks, among others. 

Banjarmasin Strives to Become an Inclusive City
Murals fill the school gates of SDN Gadang 2 in Banjarmasin. The murals portray inclusivity at schools. (Photo Courtesy of Kota Kita)

Thus far, Kota Kita has launched the pilot at the city's inclusive schools SDN Gadang 2 public elementary school and SMPN 10 Banjarmasin public junior high school.

"Our study [with the Unesco] shows that SDN Gadang 2 has one of the highest concentrations of children with special needs or disabilities [in Banjarmasin]," Nina said.

"We also adjust the concept designs with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic by including hand washing stations as well," she said.

Kota Kita enables the students to exchange ideas on how to make their schools safer and more inclusive. Interestingly, they can share their aspirations in the form of wall paintings.

Another initiative under the TUMI program is the establishment of community-led waste management at Kampong Gadang.

"We are partnering with [fellow non-profit] LK3 to improve the community-led waste management in the safe school zone pilot areas. We have directly involved 70-100 residents by, among others, raising their awareness on waste management," Nina said.

The TUMI project is supported by Germany's GIZ and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In its implementations, Kota Kita is also teaming up with the Banjarmasin city government. 

"Hopefully, we can replicate the program in other urban wards in the city," Banjarmasin Mayor Ibnu Sina told the same conference.

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