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

June 29, 2011

Reaching out to the unreached through VDC WASH coverage in Nepal

Filed under: Advocacy,Anita Pradhan's Post,Rural — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

In 2008/09 WaterAid in Nepal worked together with Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) to initiate a WASH intervention in the Ghyachok VDC of Gorkha district to develop its Water Use Master Plan (WUMP). Based on the WUMP’s recommendations, eight schemes were identified to address Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) requirements in the Ghyachok VDC and a three year implementation plan was developed.

Ghyachok is the most remote VDC in the area, located in the northern part of Gorkha district in the western development region. Agriculture is the principle livelihood of people in the area, the majority of who are from the Gurung and Tamang ethnic groups, along with Dalit living in very scattered settlements. Before WaterAid’s support, only 8% of people had access to clean water and 7% to improved sanitation services. Others had to fetch water from distant springs and rivers – approximately a one hour round trip. Open defecation was common.

In the first year (2008/09) WaterAid in Nepal and NEWAH implemented their first WASH project and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Fund Board (a World Bank funded government programme) also initiated a three year project cycle scheme. The next year, WaterAid introduced a VDC coverage approach in its rural programme and implemented another three schemes. A further three schemes were implemented in 2010/11 and all the WASH projects were completed by the end of March 2011.

Of the 412 households in Ghyachok VDC, 2,349 people in 316 households were supported by WaterAid to gain access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation through seven schemes. The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Fund Board also supported 96 households through its WASH project. As a result, Ghyachok VDC in Gorkha district is the first VDC in the area to achieve 100% WASH coverage. Furthermore, 493 students and teachers at three schools also benefited from a safe water supply and the construction of inclusive toilet blocks.

A lack of safe drinking water was the main problem in the village until 2009. Now, three years later, everyone has access to safe water and improved sanitation, and hygiene awareness has been introduced into schools and households. These results are reflected in the fact that so far this year there have been no villagers visiting the VDC office to ask for drinking water support.

A meeting to discuss this achievement was held in April 2011, chaired by the Acting-Vice Chair of the National Planning Commission and attended by members of the district development committee, the Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, and the water supply and sanitation divisional office, as well as media representatives. “This is a great achievement”, said the Secretary of Ghyachok VDC. At the meeting he added that he would establish a VDC level operation and maintenance fund and allocate a significant amount of this fund to the sustainability of WASH schemes in the VDC.

WaterAid and NEWAH did, however, face some challenges during the implementation of the project in the Ghyachok VDC. Because of the short project cycle and quality of work required, the community and local authorities were unwilling to allow other WASH agencies to collaborate on the project. As a result, the entire scheme had to be implemented by WaterAid and NEWAH. The NEWAH field team supported a Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) triggering process to motivate the fund board supported community to build improved toilets. As a result of the training required, the VDC ODF declaration ceremony was delayed.

Despite these issues, staff mobilisation, field work monitoring, quality assurance, management of the programme and storage of construction materials were all carried out effectively as a result of the VDC coverage programme approach. It was easy to motivate people to promote sanitation and hygiene behaviour in the VDC due to the ripple effect of progress among the communities. While working in one VDC over three years, a post-project follow up of the previously completed work could be carried out easily, leading to increased sustainability of the scheme.

The Integrated Rural Development Centre, a Gorkha-based local NGO, mobilised the rural community during this process. WaterAid spent a total of NPR 12,856,817 in Ghyachok VDC to achieve its objectives. With the financial support of WaterAid and the technical support of NEWAH, 82 water points, 297 improved household toilets and three school toilet blocks have been constructed.

The post is written by Ms Anita Pradhan, Communications and Gender Officer at WaterAid in Nepal.

Declaring Ghyachock VDC as first ever WASH coverage VDC of Nepal

Children and locals of Ghyachock campaigning for WASH

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