“Now I am aware! There is positive change in my hygiene and sanitation related attitude and behaviour”, says 45 years old Ram Bahadur Pun. According to him, this is the result of the health and sanitation training. Including him these changes are observable in the daily practices of the people from a total 81 households in Tallo Ghumne, Dashrathpur VDC, Ward No. 5, Surkhet district where a WASH project was implemented in FY 2011/12. Ram Bahadur adds, “After learning that washing hands with soap can prevent diseases, I am conscious about hand washing at critical times.”
Ram Bahadur currently works as a maintenance caretaker at the Tallo Ghumne WASH project implemented by NEWAH through the active participation of local Water and Sanitation Users Committee (WSUC).
Ram Bahadur shares, "I was unable to continue my studies after the sixth standard because I had to take over the household responsibilities, caring for the livestock, tilling the fields and other household chores." He informs that he always felt that the household work fell under women's domain. But since the GESI training his perception has changed, and of course changed for the better. Now, he feels that men and women are equal, thus should shoulder the responsibilities equally. This transformation can be attributed to the Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) training facilitated by NEWAH that comes as part and parcel of the project.
Ram Bahadur has also installed a Bio Gas plant at his place which runs on Gobar (cow dung). The installation was supported in 1993 by the Bio Gas Support Programme (BSP) and Agriculture Development Bank in Surkhet. A toilet has been linked to the plant from the beginning. Inspired by his initiation, other 20 families in the community followed him and fitted biogas structures linked to a toilet in their houses. The biogas and toilet has made people’s day to day life much easy.
The village that used to be so filthy and unhygienic is now a totally different place. The households and pathways are clean. Every household uses an improved sanitary toilet, garbage pit to throw wastes, dish-washing slab and dish-drying rack to wash and dry the utensils, bucket with sprouts for hand washing purpose and ropes to dry the clothes.
Dasharathpur VDC has already been declared an Open Defecation Free area in F.Y. 2011/12 through the active participation of the local users and the VDC and the AusAID / WaterAid funded WASH projects implemented by NEWAH. Tallo Ghumne is one of the communities that supported to achieve this status.
Written by: Harka Bahadur Shahi
Nepal water for Health (NEWAH), Nepalgunj
Tallo Ghumne WASH Project
Dashrathpur VDC, Ward No. 5, Surkhet district
Date: March 2012