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

June 24, 2014

Menstruation Matters!

Filed under: Advocacy,Amrita Gyawali's Post,MHM,Menstrual hygiene,Women — nepalwash @ 12:30 pm

Menstruation Matters!

Menstruation is a part of life and it matters to everyone. It is a natural process that all women have to go through but the societal and cultural stigmatization around menstruation often excludes women from services and opportunities. It is unfortunate that even today, this natural phenomenon is still considered as a taboo in our patriarchal Nepalese society— even in the capital city – Kathmandu where people are mostly educated, these superstitious practices prevail.

It has been documented that girls have lower literacy rate than boys because of not attending schools or dropping school altogether due to lack of clean and safe toilet to change their sanitary napkins or towels along with social and religious restrictions while they are menstruating. Due to fear of humiliation and discomfort, girls prefer staying at home the going to school.

To address these issues, this year for the first time Menstrual Hygiene Day was celebrated globally on May 28. This day was chosen as May is the 5th month of the year, representing 5 days, or the average number of days (2-7) a woman or girl spends menstruating each month. And, 28 represent the average number of days in a menstrual cycle. This day offered the opportunity to create awareness on the right of women and girls to hygienically manage their menstruation in privacy, safety and with dignity – where ever they are.

On 27th and 28th May, many programs were organized, coordinated by Nepal Fertility Care Center (NFCC) with the support from WaterAid Nepal, USAID and UNFPA in partnership with key government departments (FHD, DOE, NFEC, DWC and NHEICC) and other different stakeholders including INGOs, NGOs and civil societies with the theme “Let’s start the conversation about Menstruation”.

As part of the celebrations, different programs were organized such as menstruation hour program in schools and on local FM stations in 75 Districts; formal program at City Museum; a report launching on “WASH financing in community schools of Nepal” by DoE; a video screening ‘Monthlies’ and open forum discussion with different government stakeholders.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari, WaterAid’s Country Representative for Nepal, said “You might wonder why a water and sanitation INGO is talking about menstrual hygiene. It’s because we are trying to make the important point that for women’s empowerment we should start with something like menstrual hygiene. Reliable access to adequate safe water and sanitation is one critical element which gives women a sense of freedom, and keeps her healthy during menstruation”. He added “By talking about periods, we can help normalize this natural process and help girls and women live healthier and more dignified lives.”

I am thankful that I got an opportunity to deliver the closing remarks on the 27th of May where I raised the issue on hardship of women with disabilities during menstruation days due to lack of disabled friendly toilets in public places. There were around 60 participants and everybody kept talking about the importance of menstrual hygiene, however, not a single person spoke about the need to consider women living with disabilities while talking about menstrual hygiene management. Thus I urged everyone to raise issues on the needs of women living with disabilities while advocating about menstruation hygiene.

This post is written by Amrita Gyawali , E and I consultant

May 2, 2014

WaterAid Nepal office inaugurates its first disabled friendly toilet

Filed under: Amrita Gyawali's Post,Gender,Women — nepalwash @ 4:02 pm

WaterAid Nepal office inaugurates its first disabled friendly toilet

On 2nd May 2014; WaterAid’s Head of South Asia Region, Mr. Tom Palakudiyil together with Ms. Amrita Gyawali, E & I consultant for WaterAid Nepal inaugurated the disabled friendly toilet at WaterAid Nepal office. Construction began around 3 months ago and has finally been completed, the toilet is now ready to use.

Addressing the inaugural programme, Mr. Palakudiyil said “we need to walk the talk and this initiative of WaterAid Nepal (WAN) office is really a remarkable one.” In addition, he congratulated the WaterAid Nepal team for being the first WaterAid office in South Asia to construct a disabled friendly toilet.

Similarly, Ms. Gyawali remarked “I am very happy that our office has built this disabled friendly toilet. Now, I can use the toilet without any discomfort as easily as my colleagues.” She further added with a smile that “This is the first toilet where I can see myself in the mirror and use basin for hand-washing without any struggle.”

WaterAid Nepal is working in providing Water Sanitation and Hygiene services to the most marginalized and vulnerable groups since the past 27 years.  Equity and Inclusion (E and I) is central to all of WaterAid’s projects and activities.

This post is written by Ms. Kamala K.C , Consultant –  WaterAid 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).

(more…)

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

December 28, 2010

Photo of the week – 28 December 2010 to 3 January 2011

Filed under: Photo of the week,Water,Women — Anita Pradhan @ 7:31 pm

Scenes in Nigalopani village in Dhading District of Nepal: women carrying water up the hill. Photo: Financial Times/Charlie Bibby

This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence