Toilets give human dignity, especially for women
In such a big population, 50% of the beneficiaries are men and another 50% women, but it is obvious that the toilet is much more important for women, hence the title of this blog. As men spend less time at home, they are using much less the newly established sanitation services: it is also easy to notice men urinating in various places; at roadsides and on fields, which is perfectly OK as long as it is only urine. In many cases men also spend half of their time across the border in India where they work as temporal labor.
RVWRMP intends to make the best use of water for human development in the poorest and driest areas of Nepal: the Far Western hills, which in any other country would be called mountains. The water use for drinking, sanitation and hygiene purposes are prioritized, but whenever the resources allow, water is also used for irrigation, drinking water for livestock and for generation of energy.
The Project is has reached full coverage of household toilets (as the first region in Nepal), it is roughly at half way point of achieving full coverage of domestic water supply, electricity and clean (in-door smoke free) cooking facilities, all three are official development goals of Government of Nepal for 2017. The end of the year comes too early (and the targets have been also officially postponed) but in the remaining project period until 2022 the full coverage in the rural areas will be achieved, considering that in the remote Nepal full coverage is not exactly 100% as there are always small pockets of populations living in very remote and high mountains, where the provision of these services is not economically viable.
It is evident that the lives of people in these extreme conditions have changed drastically due to the Project: introduction of electricity in villages being perhaps the most concrete change, which allows for lighting, better communication, children to do their school chores at night and also to start new economic activities. However, the long term impact of clean drinking water, toilets and smokeless cooking stoves on peoples' health is still more important. Nevertheless, the news tell that people are still dying in the Project working area from malnutrition and due to traditional chhaupadi practices, that force menstruating and post-partum women (and their babies) to stay outside family houses in shabby huts or cattle shelters even in cold winter.
These news accelerate us to work to achieve change in attitudes simultaneously when achieving our physical targets. The goal for this attitudinal component of Project work is 'totally sanitized' communities.