Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

January 14, 2011

Say it with a postage stamp

Filed under: Advocacy,Handwashing — Anita Pradhan @ 12:30 pm

Hand washing with soap is possibly the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrhoearal diseases. Yet tragically, 10,500 children under the age of five continue to die each year in Nepal. Despite its life saving potential, hand washing with soap is seldom practiced and not always easy to promote.

Could something as simple and small as a postage stamp help to promote this critical message?

Issued by the Department of Postal Service (DoPS), a new stamp carrying the slogan ‘let’s develop the habit of hand washing with soap’ was launched in Nepal two weeks ago.

Not only is this a first for Nepal; it’s the first stamp in the world to carry such a hygiene related message. It forms part of the ‘global hand-washing’ campaign, promoted in Nepal in November, and is designed to reinforce the call for improved hygiene practices across the country.

The level of recognition the hand washing message has achieved so far is evident by the support this new initiative has received from government ministers.

The stamp was approved by both the Minister of Tourism; Sharad Singh Bhandari, and the Minister for Information and Communications; Shankar Pokharel, who describes hand washing promotion as ‘part of the Government’s Commitment to improving the health of Nepal’.

The stamp was launched together with a second new stamp to promote Nepal Tourism Year 2011. Launching the two stamps side by side is somewhat strategic. Sharad Singh Bhandari, explains that the Year of Tourism has been launched to start an economic revolution in the country.

However, launching home-stay programmes without promoting the need for hygiene improvements would be a recipe for disaster. The idea is that launching the two messages simultaneously will help to ensure Nepal’s Year of Tourism is a success.

If the new stamp serves to reinforce the message about hand washing with soap in a way that spurs behavioural changes and contributes towards a reduction in child mortality, then, small as it is, it will prove itself to be a life saving intervention.

Written by Yvonne Struthers and Anita Pradhan, Documentation Manager, WaterAid in Nepal.

January 6, 2011

Link of the week – 6 to 12 January 2011

Filed under: Handwashing,Hygiene,Link of the week,Media — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

The humble soap

Just washing hands can significantly prevent pneumonia and diarrhoea

Click here for our link of the week – 6 to 12 January 2011

January 4, 2011

Photo of the week – 4 to 10 January 2011

Filed under: Handwashing,Hygiene,Photo of the week — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

Mr Sarad Singh Bhandari, Minister of Tourism and Mr Shankar Pokhrel, Minister of Communications in Nepal, approving the first ever stamp in the world to feature hand washing, on 30 December 2010. The stamp carries the message of hand washing with soap and it is believed that this initiative will contribute to the promotion of hygiene in Nepal. Photo: WaterAid/ Anita Pradhan

November 19, 2010

Nepal celebrating Global Handwashing Day more than a day

Filed under: Handwashing,Hygiene — Tags: , , — Anita Pradhan @ 7:47 pm

Appallingly, 10,500 under fives die each year in Nepal due to diarrhoeral diseases. It is estimated that the simple practice of washing hands with soap could actually prevent around 45% of these deaths. In order to have maximum impact in promoting handwashing, this year’s Global Handwashing campaign in Nepal was extended to a 10 day period, carrying the slogan ‘more than just a day’. Through the campaign, joint organisers WaterAid and UNICEF in Nepal hoped to encourage policy makers and politicians to commit to recognizing handwashing as a priority on the development agenda. The awareness raising campaign also targeted the public, particularly mothers and children, with the aim of making the simple, life-saving practice of washing hands a regular habit.

 The campaign was launched at a mega-event in Changunarayan, Bhaktapur, with an impressive turn-out – over 40 constituent assembly members attended, along with students, politicians, health professionals, water-sanitation sector stakeholders representing NGOs, youth groups, media, artists, and various community representatives. 

Tangible outcomes from the event were numerous: Mr Umakanta Chaudhary, Minister of Health and Population and Mr Khadga Bahadur Basyal, State Minister, committed to supporting the promotion of sanitation and hygiene as a fundamental right of every citizen in the country. Commitments were also signed by the constituent assembly members, and all event participants committed themselves to practicing regular hand-washing in their daily lives.

The impact of the 10 day campaign, which also included a programme of national, district and community activities, is still being measured. But the campaign constitutes yet another step in the on-going promotion of handwashing practices here in Nepal, which, in the long run may lead to a reduction in the rate of diarrhoea and may thereby also contribute to a reduction in our shocking rate of child mortality.

Watch the ‘Not just a day’ videos:

Showing commitments

Pro-active role of WAN in GHD 2010

Children flowing energy

Private sectors in sanitation campaign

Youth raising awareness

Written by Anita Pradhan, Documentation Manager, WaterAid in Nepal

This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence