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

November 24, 2010

Highlights on sanitation and child rights by Commissioner and Spokesman, National Human Rights Commission in Nepal

Filed under: Human rights — Tags: — Anita Pradhan @ 11:12 am

Child rights issue has miles to go

The issue of child rights has seen progress and at the same setbacks over the past few years. There has been improvement in child education and health, but on sanitation, nutrition and security of sectors, the situation hasn’t changed much. (more…)

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

November 17, 2010

Engaging civil society in SACOSAN

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags: — Shikha Shrestha @ 7:37 am

The Third South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) Delhi Declaration has been an incredible milestone of recognizing access to sanitation and safe drinking water as a basic right and according national priority to sanitation is imperative. It has aspired civil society working on the sector as well as people affected by deprivation of WASH right to work harder in realization of these basic rights. On 30 September 2010, the UN passed a resolution affirming access to water and sanitation as human right.

SACOSAN IV planned for 4-8 April 2011 in Sri Lanka is awaited with more expectations to bring changes in sanitation access. It is not only government but civil society are also working together to make this event a huge success to bring an impacting change in the sector. Preparatory meeting among civil society representatives was organized to develop common understanding on different approaches of working together for amplifying peoples voices in the SACOSAN process.

Collaboration Terms of Reference has been endorsed for promoting collaboration spirit while engaging civil society for SACOSAN IV.   It is sometime natural for people to promote visibility of their organization/network while working even as a collaborative team incorporating different institutions. Time has come to think beyond individual institution and think more of a joint credibility. It is definitely unfair to sideline some organizations if they had been a part of team to work vigorously so let’s go for a joint credibility to ensure impacting results in sanitation sector.

Pre CSO consultation for SACOSAN has been recognized as a support for consolidating recommendations from peoples perspective. Therefore, it has been planned to organize the consultation on 1-2 April 2011 in Sri Lanka. The consultation will provide open space for civil society organizations to discuss and debate on the concerns of sanitation for providing opportunity to develop minimum understanding on the sanitation agenda. Equity, inclusion and sustainable services can be major theme of discussion where peoples perspective results can be shared through interviewed people. Story of people from their own voices can carry a strong message.

Peoples Perspective Research has been regarded as a tool for amplifying peoples concerns with regard to sanitation services. The research will scrutinize peoples feeling on successful and failure sanitation services together with grievances of people who were deprived from these basic services. It will ease process of identifying key challenges/issues faced in sustainable sanitation in South Asia that will be key inputs from people towards SACOSAN IV. Traffic light papers to review status of commitment of SACOSAN III Delhi declaration and CSO Delhi declaration will add more insights to the SACOSAN IV.

Civil society and government are key wheels of development. They should play complementary role to support each other as both agencies want to accelerate pace of development in their respective countries. Common goal of ensuring  sanitation and water for all can be reached only when there is a spirit of collaboration so that simple disease like dirrohoea cannot kill 10,500 children each year in Nepal.

Written by Shikha Shrestha, Advocacy and Research Officer, WaterAid in Nepal

November 11, 2010

Empowering children to claim their rights to WASH

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are basic human rights but what if you’re too young to recognise or voice these rights? WaterAid and Save the Children Finland are giving children a voice in addressing their rights to WASH facilities in a pilot project in Rauta VDC of Udayapur district, a first of its kind for WaterAid in Nepal.

The joint initiative combines WaterAid’s expertise in WASH projects with Save the Children Finland’s experience in working with children’s rights. Implementing partners Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) and Jalpa Yuwa Samuha (JYS) are also providing essential local knowledge to the project, which was launched in April 2009. By focusing on children’s rights to clean water and a healthy environment, the project aims to provide drinking water services and promote improved sanitation and hygiene practices to 3,600 people within 20 communities (listed below) within Rauta Village Development Committee by March 2012.

A focus on children’s rights means creating child friendly approaches to policy development, planning and implementation of WASH facilities. The children have a critical role and are key players in promoting sanitation and hygiene practices within their communities. They are empowered to participate in decisions made about WASH services such as where a water-point should be located for example.

Udayapur, situated in the Sagarmatha Zone in Eastern Nepal was selected for the pilot project as it has one of the poorest water and sanitation coverage levels in Nepal. Rauta’s geographical location certainly doesn’t help. A 25km stretch of rough and bumpy road separates Udayapur from Gaighat, the nearest large town. The difficult journey along the road to Merkucche, the closest road point to Rauta, must then be followed by a four hour trek on foot!

The programme still has over a year to go but there’s already been very encouraging progress. The project has been completed in eight communities, all of which have been declared ‘open defecation free’ (‘ODF’). A further three communities have already been declared ‘ODF’ while the project is ongoing in these, and the project has yet to be launched in the remaining nine communities, six of which are already ‘ODF’.

I’d be very interested in any of our readers’ views on this new approach, and on the Rauta VDC programme. Please feel free to comment below.

Project completed communities (All the communities listed are declared open defection free)
i) Chhintang  ii) Jhirudanda iii)  Khanitar (See photo of social map) iv)  Kopche v)  Namanta iv) Panbu vii)  Shikhardanda (See photo of social map) viii) Yamutar

Project ongoing communities (All the communities listed are declared open defection free though project to be completed yet)
i) Dillibar ii) Guranse iii) Tallo jarange

Project going to be launch communities (** communities declared open defecation free)
i) Dumrithumka Teltele**  ii) Hattitar and Ratmate** iii) Khyatung** iv) Mathillo jarange** v) Murkuchi bazaar vi) Pallo shikhar** vii) Puware dahar** viii ) Rajabas dangre 9) Ranibas

Written by Anita Pradhan, Documentation Manager, WaterAid in Nepal

November 4, 2010

Can we really say we’re reaching out to everyone?

Filed under: Advocacy,Equity and inclusion — Tags: , , , — Om Prasad Gautam @ 11:52 am

Since WaterAid’s mission is to reach marginalised and vulnerable people, equity and inclusion cuts across all of our work. However, a recent training session for WaterAid staff on equity and inclusion raised some important points for consideration.It became clear that if we are to make WASH facilities accessible to all members of society, including those with disabilities such as wheelchair users or visually impaired people, significant adaptations will need to be considered. Adaptations could include providing aids and equipment, modifying existing latrines and designing and constructing accessible, usable, safe, hygienic and affordable latrines which respect privacy and dignity, using inclusive, appropriate and low-cost design and technologies.

To give an example of equity and inclusion in action, an accessibility audit of sanitation facilities at a school was carried out as part of the training, revealing some shocking results. When auditing the boys latrines, it became evident that none of the 16 squatting pan latrines are inclusive. There was a lack of a clear path to reach the toilet block, no guide rail or landmark to help visually impaired people follow the path and uneven steps in between paths causing potential difficulties to wheelchair users. In addition, the toilet entrances were narrow, with all the doors opening inwards, insufficient light inside the toilets, and nothing to hold onto while squatting. There was also no water inside any of the latrines and no water points nearby. The hand washing stations that were installed earlier outside the toilets are also now fully damaged with none of them currently functional.

To make the facilities more inclusive, two key changes were suggested to the school, the first being the construction of an accessible new toilet close to the classroom blocks with one cubical for boys and one for girls. The second: to modify the existing toilets, making at least one of the cubicles accessible and ensuring all toilets are kept clean and hygienic with water and soap provided for hand washing. This will improve the situation at this school but this is obviously just one school.

To ensure we are working to target all marginalised and vulnerable people in our work, we clearly need to embed equity and inclusion indicators into all of our data collection tools and systems and into all of our programmes and plans. While our Nepal ‘country paper’ already includes several equity and inclusion related components, there is still great potential in terms of the impact we can make. We could, for example, work with the government to develop a technical standard for inclusive sanitation, or even run a job fair specifically targeting those with disabilities.

Shared learning and collaborative working in the area of equity and inclusion will also be key, to allow us to make a more powerful impact both at a practical and policy level. World Vision Ethiopia, who also attended the training, have been working on incorporating disability issues into their health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation programmes for the past three years. Since both organisations work within the WASH sector, there is potential for us to work collectively on accessibility issues within WASH, developing, for example, a minimum standard for inclusiveness within WASH projects.

I am optimistic about the impact that WaterAid can have in this area but would obviously be interested to hear any feedback and comments from our readers on these issues.

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

This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence