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