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

July 9, 2014

Nepal campaigners lobby for the human right to water and sanitation’s inclusion in SDGs

Filed under: Advocacy,Campaigns,SDG — nepalwash @ 3:28 pm

Secretary Kishore Thapa (center, in national dress) committed to push for the right to water and sanitation

Campaigners in Nepal met with the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to push for their support of the right to water and sanitation in ongoing negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Members of the National Campaign Coordination Team (NCCT) for the South Asian Right to Sanitation campaign joined with End Water Poverty to appeal for the right’s inclusion and naming in the SDG proposal report currently being prepared by a selection of UN member states – the UN Open Working Group (OWG).

The NCCT advocates – made up of WASH and non-WASH campaigners – called on the government secretaries to specifically reference the right to water and sanitation alongside other rights, and joined other EWP members around the world in submitting the coalition’s proposed targets and indicators for a water and sanitation SDG.

The suggested changes:

Indicator 6.1

Current text: by 2030, provide universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene for all

Amend to: by 2030, to achieve universal access to safe, affordable and adequate drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all, paying special attention to the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized, and for households, schools health facilities and refugee camps.

Indicator 6.2

Current text: by 2030 provide universal access to safe and affordable sanitation and hygiene including at home, schools, health centres and refugee camps, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls

Amend to: By 2030, provide universal access to safe, affordable sanitation eliminating open defecation and hygiene including at home, schools, health centres and refugee camps, paying special attention to the needs of the most marginalized, including women and girls.

However, while the secretary of the MoUD was supportive of campaigners’ requests, the joint secretary of the MoFA claimed it was not necessary to treat the right to water and sanitation separately – even though Nepal is one of few countries where the human right to water and sanitation is recognized in an interim constitution, and several Constituent Assembly members committed during the World Walks campaign to lobby for the right’s inclusion in the country’s new constitution.

Secretary Kishore Thapa of the MoUD was convinced by the dialogue with campaigners. He said he would convey their messages to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for needful action. He also committed to lobby strongly for WASH in the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit in November 2014, in Nepal. He also said it was possible that a meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership could be held in Nepal this year.

However, Joint Secretary of MoFA, Deepak Dhital, said that while he agreed that WASH is an integral element of development, it was not necessary to separately reference the human right to water and sanitation. He said it would be considered as part and parcel of the right to food, education, development and an adequate standard of living, adding that there must be a focus on marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities – ironically, such a focus on achieving equality and eliminating discrimination is a key focus of human rights principles.

Joint Secretary Deepak Dhital is not committed to pushing for the right to water and sanitation

Mr Dhital went on to explain that his priorities lie in issues such as water resource management, mountain resource management and climate change, which he believes are the determinants of WASH rights, before praising civil society groups for their interest in the global development agenda.

The campaigners hope to have a follow-up meeting with the UN agency working on the post-2015 agenda in Nepal.

In total, 12 representatives from 18 different organisations lobbied on behalf of the NCCT. These included: Freshwater Action Network-Nepal (FAN), Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO), Federation of Water and Sanitation Users Network (FEDWASUN), Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, National Federation of Disabled, Nepal (NFDN), Manushi (women’s WASH network), People’s SAARC, Plan International, Practical Action, WaterAid Nepal, Urban Environment Management Society (UEMS) and End Water Poverty. Backward Society for Education (BASE), Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD), Enviroment for Public Health Organization (ENPHO), Lumanti, Maitri, Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) and OXFAM joined NCCT and End Water Poverty to reinforce the appeal.

This post is written by Ms. Samira Shakya — Advocacy and Campaigns Officer

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

March 25, 2014

Photo of the Week

Filed under: Advocacy,Campaigns,Walk for Water — Tags: — nepalwash @ 10:49 am

World Walks for Water on World Water Day (22nd March 2014)

Deputy Speaker of the Constituent Assembly Onsari Gharti Magar and five other CA members of major political parties participating in the “Walk for Water” event organised by WaterAid Nepal and 22 other organisations to mark the ‘World Water Day 2014’ on 22nd March 2014

Photo Credit: WaterAid/Mani Karmacharya

I demand my money’s worth

Filed under: Advocacy,Amrita Gyawali's Post,Equity and inclusion,Human rights — nepalwash @ 9:55 am

Just recently I went to QFX Civil Mall (8th floor) to watch a movie with my friends I chose QFX Civil Mall because I found out that they had a wheelchair accessible toilet there. I was happy that I would get to watch a movie with my friends. However, when I entered the hall, I thought that there would also be accessible seating areas for a wheelchair but no attention was paid to this aspect. However, I managed to sit on a seat so that I could sit next to my friends. It wasn’t so comfortable, but I enjoyed the movie without any worries because I could use the toilet easily with privacy if had a sudden emergency.

Throughout my life; simple things such as going to a movie became a difficult task for me. As there were no disabled-friendly seats, I was always placed in the walking passage; this was very humiliating; I felt alienated. Moreover, instead of watching the movie I had to constantly wish that I did not have to use the toilet, as almost all movie theatres lacked disabled-friendly toilets.
QFX has certainly taken a good initiative by constructing disabled-friendly toilets, however if it had disabled-friendly seats that would have been even better.

The obstacles are not only limited to theatres, there are a number of big public buildings, (super markets, shopping malls, libraries, cafeterias etc) in the urban areas of Nepal but it is still hard for me to find a single wheelchair accessible toilet that I can use to relieve myself. At the end of the day, I have to return home with a sad face and heavy heart. Just try to imagine how you would feel if you had a sudden emergency to use the toilet but you couldn’t find a single toilet to urinate or defecate and had to hold it for long time; it is so distressing.

I have never enjoyed the same facilities as the other. I always have to receive second-class services. Why do I have to struggle to have enjoyable outings with friends? Sometimes I feel like being in a wheelchair is limiting my personal happiness, choices for recreation and get-together with friends and relatives. However , I know that being in a wheelchair is not the real problem, it is the way our environmental and attitudinal barriers, regards a person with disability ; people think that disability represents destitute and poor people who cannot afford to go out to cinema halls, shopping malls, restaurants and other public places. This is a misconception; just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you are destined to a poor quality of life. Such incorrect assumptions about disability are actually the most difficult barriers to overcome. As a paying customer I demand equal rights as any other customer who pays full to get services.

Why don’t people realize that making public buildings accessible for everyone will help make the lives of many people easier and happier; In addition, it will also help increase customers and gain profits. It is understandable that change cannot happen overnight but it should not be ignored. Accessibility is important for everyone -it should be everybody’s business.

This post is written by Ms. Amrita Gyawali, E & I consultant for WaterAid Nepal

December 31, 2013

Photo of the week – 31 December 2013

WASH and HSBC Water Programme Orientation to media

WaterAid Nepal organised two-days orientation on WASH and HSBC Water Programme (HWP) to the journalists working in HWP implementing districts and mainstream media on 26 to 27 December to update on latest WASH status in Nepal.

December 30, 2013

Second career expo for persons with disabilities

Third December is celebrated worldwide as an International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This celebration helps promote awareness on disability issues and rights. This year the global theme for the day was “Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society and development for all”.

As a part of the celebrations, Nepal’s Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN), UNICEF, Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN), and Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) in association with www.merojob.com came together to organise the second Career Expo for People with Disabilities on the 13 December. The aim was to promote employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in Nepal. (more…)

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