Every household did not have family latrine in Rayal VDC of Bahang, Far Western Nepal, two years back. People used to use open space and the woods for defecation. But, now the situation is changed. Each family has a latrine for regular use. This is possible after implementing the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water Management (SHWM) project by Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), focusing on personal and environmental sanitation.
"My villagers compelled me to construct toilet in the residence. But I didn't have capacity on my own." Biju Bhandari of Rayal VDC-1 recalled her past. Though Biju's husband didn't care her much and lived in India for earnings those days, he immediately came back to Rayal when she called over telephone and asked to construct toilet in the house where she is living. Actually, she did not have her own home and she was residing in her relative's house for many years. "My husband remembered me and the house after I described about the need of construction of a toilet to meet villagers' decision," she added. "I, with my kids, carried stones and my husband bore other expenses." The toilet became milestone to rebuild their relationship. "My husband now-a-days calls me regularly and doesn't forget to talk about condition of toilet," she expressed and smiled.
Biju's neighbor Ganga Bhandari constructed two toilets. Before asking the reason for constructing two toilets, he said," One for my own family and another for those who may need toilet while passing through the village."
People in the village are still waiting Government's plan for enough piped water. Gomgi Bhandari from Rayal, 66, says," Kopila (Red Cross Motivator) used to visit my home every day and persuaded to construct toilet in my house. And, now I have a toilet. My grand children helped me to construct it. We do not have sufficient water, so we bring it in small jerry cans and use."
The Sanitation Campaign is not limited to the households but focused on the local institutions including schools.
Sunita Kumari Bhandari, a eighth grader student of Shree Garjepani Higher Secondary School, enjoys going school now-a-days. She speaks, "We have separate toilets for boys and girls. We have enough water. We also learned about menstrual hygiene in the school. I feel safe and easy to go to school now."
Many people from Rayal go to India as labor migration. They used toilets in India. And when they came back to their home, they felt uneasy to use open space. But, now they feel easy. "We had latrines in India and now we have latrines even in our home, it makes easy and makes me happy when I come back home" says Jaya Bahadur Bhandari. He continues, "Our kids also use toilet. We help them in cleaning. They do not get sick now a days."
Hand washing and use of toilet
NRCS convinced locals about the necessity of washing hands in different critical times. The villagers have realized the importance of Hygiene and Sanitation. Gomgi says, "We buy soaps from the nearby shop. We wash our hands after cleaning our babies, after using toilets, before eating and after working. Big kids wash their hands themselves."
From households to the community
Villagers organize different programs of cleaning the roads and water source on special days. "Villagers participate in each Sanitation and Hygiene events. They talk about trimming their nails, washing their clothes, taking a bath regularly" says RC Motivator Kopila.
About the project
The NRCS WASH Division at National Headquarters is implementing Sanitation, Hygiene and Water Management (SHWM) project, funded by Australian Red Cross and DFAT, from July 2014 for four years in order to support more than 26 thousand beneficiaries, directly and indirectly, in Bahang.
The project, guided and aligned with the Government of Nepal’s Sanitation Master Plan 2011, is using both School Led Total Sanitation (SLTS) and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approaches and providing support to construct institutional toilets by mobilizing local funding mechanisms and self-help groups. The project also focus on building Red Cross institutional capacity at NHQ, district and sub-chapter levels, and works with change agents including, schools, child clubs, community influencers and specially-selected community triggers.
The intended impact of the project is for communities and households to be motivated and empowered to address their sanitation, hygiene and water related challenges, leading to improved health, gender and social inclusion outcomes. Specific intended impacts include:
Five VDCs including 3,900 households have been declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF) by
Communities accessing safe water from sustainable points
Inclusion of people with disabilities and socially marginalized groups in WASH decision-making
Women empowered through targeted trainings and participation in WASH committees and
School children having universally accessible
Story by Pushpa Khanal
Thanks to Samista Manandhar-Reporting Officer-Wash Division, Kopila (motivator of program)
Special thanks to Dibya Raj Poudel, Head of HV & Communcation Department and Sakun Joshi (Volunteer).