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

September 29, 2011

Dropping in on development: an exhibition

Filed under: Advocacy,Anita Pradhan's Post,Campaigns,Gender,Menstrual hygiene,Women — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

In a major exhibition held by WaterAid in Nepal, ten Nepalese artists will examine the effect of menstruation and menstrual hygiene on women’s health, girl’s education and gender equality.

The installation and visual performance, Dropping in on development, will be held on Thursday 29 September, 6pm at Hotel Himalaya, Kupondole, Lalitpur, Nepal. A live stream of the exhibition will be available to watch via the website (see below), Facebook and Ustream (6pm NPT/12.15pm BST).


August 17, 2011

School sanitation campaign in Nepal

WaterAid in Nepal marked the launch of its school sanitation campaign, with the opening of a photo exhibition, School Sanitation: The Neglected Development Link. The exhibition features striking images by press photographers in Nepal, illustrating the effect of sanitation on the lives of school children across Kathmandu valley. It is inagurated by four years old Bunu Nepal at 3pm on 11 August at the Nepal Art Council, Babarmahal, Kathmandu.

According to Nepal government policy, schools must ensure one toilet for every 50 students. However WaterAid’s analysis shows that the average school toilet serves 127 students, nearly three times as many as the government recommends.  Of Nepal’s 28,000 community schools, only 18,000 have toilets – with only 5580 providing separate toilets for girls.

Every year in Nepal, 10,500 children under the age of five die due to sanitation and drinking water related diseases – more than half of which are girls. Every month teenage girls risk missing several days of class during their menstrual period or, worse, dropping out of school altogether because of a lack of toilet facilities, further entrenching the barriers caused by gender inequality.  It is estimated that nearly two million female students have no access to toilets in school.

WaterAid called on immediate action to be taken to provide separate toilets for girls and boys in schools which are also accessible for disabled students and include facilities to enable girls to hygienically manage their menstruation.

Related links:

News on WaterAid’s Nepal web site

Multimedia presentation on youtube

Media coverage
The Rising Nepal (TRN-7.pdf)
The Himalayan Times

Republica photo feature – 19 August 2011 (please view middle pages 8 – 9)

Republica – public comment on the photo feature – 20 August 2011 (please view page number 6)

August 11, 2011

A photo exhibition – school sanitation: the neglected development link

February 9, 2011

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)

Filed under: Advocacy,Gender,Menstrual hygiene — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

WaterAid with support from SHARE, a research consortium, brought together 16 practitioners and researchers with expertise in water, sanitation and health (WASH). The purpose of the roundtable was to assess the state MHM, address various policies and practice and lastly to build a community of practiced individuals and institutions passionate about MHM and who want to share, work, influence and respond to the practical challenges faced by women and girls.

On the first day participants reviewed their knowledge of MHM, understood the issues linked to MHM and learnt key policies in Asia region. They also learnt from experiences and initiatives from countries like Bangladesh, India and Tanzania. It was also concluded that MHM is a big issue for women, one which lacks awareness among both men and women. They also found out that patriarchal culture and tradition determine how MHM is addressed in different communities. While there are evidences of good MHM practice there are no user satisfaction surveys.  Sufficient research on the issue has not been done.

The second day, participants designed research methodology to assess the advantages-disadvantages of different methodological research approaches and developed it to combine quantitative and qualitative learning. They also discussed on the length of the study and if a longitudinal study would be helpful. It was discussed that a balance was needed among the qualitative and quantitative evidence. From this discussion it was suggested that the existing literature be synthesized and clear MHM related indicators be developed to monitor implementation and effectiveness. They also suggested that it would be important to understand the risks of current MHM practices and understand the impact of improved MHM.

Lastly they agreed on keeping in touch as   a group in order to articulate the issue and make it a priority among advocacy workers. They will also remain in contact in order to build a community that practices MHM and support research initiatives.

The post is written by Ms Therese Mahon, Regional Programme Officer - Asia, WaterAid in UK.

January 7, 2011

What if the ‘pillars of Nepal’s public health programmes’ became pillars for WaSH?

Filed under: Gender,Health,Hygiene,Open defecation free,Sanitation,Women — Om Prasad Gautam @ 2:33 pm

Since female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) are the ‘pillars of Nepal’s public health programmes’, would it not be feasible for them to also become advocates for WaSH? With a reported total of 48,604 FCHVs working across the country as change agents for health within their communities, adding WaSH to their remit could make a lot of sense.

Female Community Health Volunteers

With support from health institutions, FCHVs actively work to promote safe motherhood, child health, including immunisation, family planning and several other basic health services. Their role is also a practical one; distributing items such as condoms, ORS packets, vitamin A capsules and oral polio vaccines, as well as administering iron tablets to pregnant women. In addition, FCHVs are responsible for treating pneumonia cases, (referring complex cases on to health institutions).

While WaSH related diseases remain the biggest cause of morbidity and mortality in Nepal, hygiene promotion at a local level is vital. Might these FCHVs, fully trained by the health sector, also offer great potential in the promotion and changing of hygiene behaviour at a local level?

An excellent example of involving FCHVs in WaSH social mobilisation is a project in Sindhuli, Kamalamai; a WaterAid in Nepal project, implemented by our partner CIUD. Since extending their remit to WaSH, these FCHVs have successfully influenced numerous positive hygiene related behaviour changes within their communities.

The benefits of involving FCHVs in WaSH are plentiful. FCHVs are often already known within their communities as effective mobilisers; they are also familiar with local social norms and values and as such are more easily able to influence changes in hygiene behaviour. Living within the community themselves, FCHVs are then able to monitor these new hygiene practices. Enabling and empowering these FCHVs in WaSH related projects then, would surely be a sustainable way of retaining trained personnel at local level.

Given this potential, how do we move forward strategically? I propose that those in the health and WaSH sector in Nepal ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Do we recruit volunteers to promote hygiene at a local level or do we make use of existing FCHVs in a community?

2. Do we use existing FCHVs as change agents in society by engaging them in the promotion of WaSH?

3. Can we strengthen the capacity of the FCHVs by providing them with WaSH related training so that they can become advocates for sanitation and hygiene promotion within each ward of the village/municipality?

4. Do we mobilise FCHVs in making their communities open-defecation-free?

Your thoughts?

Written by Om Prasad Gautam, Social Development Adviser, WaterAid in Nepal

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