The common Nepali saying “Action speaks louder than thousand words“ has been demonstrated in different wards in Bahrabise Municipality and Balepi Rural Municipality. With the support of Johanniter and the Nepalese partner organisation Gramin Mahila Srijansil Pariwar (GMSP) along with the local government, a sanitation campaign was successfully conducted in the project area of Sindhupalchowk district.
The purpose of the long term campaigning with strong community engagement and mobilization was to declare the project areas as open defecation free zones in line with the Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan 2011 endorsed by the government of Nepal. That plan with the objective to build one toilet per household was not effectively implemented due to weak social mobilizations of the communities by the government and the consequences of the earthquake 2015.
Community leaders of both municipalities requested GMSP for the support to mobilize communities under an Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and WASH Project. Chairpersons of the involved wards of the local government including all community leaders had consulted the community people and started the campaigns on a regular basis. “Cleaning the environment at the community by social leaders was shameful to us, because primarily it was our responsibility to keep the environment clean and make people aware. The campaign has opened everyone´s eyes to be more responsible for community led sanitation and hygiene”, said Sher Bahadur Tamang, inhabitant of Karthali and Chairperson of the local youth club.
A follow-up with home to home monitoring allowed to observe the improvement of sanitation and toilet construction: Approximately 80% of the community households have completed the toilet construction with effective use in the ward 6, 7 and 8 of Balepi Rural Municipality. Then stakeholders, government and community decided on 2 May 2018 to declare this area as open defecation free zone, a few days after finishing officially the project. The headmaster of Sundaradevi School, Mr. Krishna Prasad Timilsena, said that he will be committed to make students aware of sanitation and personal hygiene at school and keep doing good initiatives for post open defecation zone. Till date, community leaders and school teachers actively participate in post ODF campaigns.
Open Defecation Free Areas are an important part for WASH approach in many regions. Click here to know more about WASH.