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

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

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

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