Nepal - When water samples were taken from many households and public institutions (schools and health care centers) in Banke and Surkhet district, the results showed that 76% of the samples had a high level of E. Coli contamination. This is a strong indicator of fecal contaminants present in the water system and is a lead cause for illnesses such as diarrhea. Based on these findings, water quality improvement was identified as one of our main priorities. We believe that it is not only important to ensure that water is accessible, but also safe for drinking. And the only way to ensure the safety, is to test periodically.
Unfortunately, the four municipalities (two in Banke and two in Surkhet) we work in did not have a water quality testing lab. Without testing, one could not know if the water which looks and tastes good may not necessarily be safe to drink. We started off by organizing a hands-on training on Water Quality Testing to build the capacity of the future lab owners. The training provided participants with essential information on how samples are collected, handled, and tested for an accurate representation of its water quality status. After the training, we identified 4 potential entrepreneurs and supported them with necessary testing equipment’s to set up the lab.
Arjun Bishwokarma (32) is one of the entrepreneurs who received training on Water Quality Testing through the WASH SDG programme in Nepal. He is a young, ambitious individual who runs his own bio-sand filter business. He has been in the industry for the past 7 years and moved to Banke only 3 years ago in search of a better market for his product. Since taking the training led by our WASH Alliance partner ENPHO, Arjun has now expanded his business to provide water quality testing services too. A certificate of training completion proudly hangs inside the lab.
“I am now selling bio-sand filters as well as providing them with the service of testing their water quality. These two really complement each other. My future plan is to create a WASH-Mart that has all services and equipment’s related to water, sanitation and hygiene available as a one-stop shop.”
- Arjun Bishwokarma
A unique aspect about the WASH SDG Programme in Nepal is our focus on long-term sustainability and functionality of water and sanitation services. We not only focus on the availability of the services but also focus on creating a demand for these services through our advocacy activities. We also support WASH entrepreneurs like Arjun with business development training, pricing strategy and product marketing advice, so that they can independently function and expand their services to meet the demands of the community. If you are interested in knowing more about the work we do to ensure access to safe water, read more on our website.
Written by : Pragati Bajracharya - Simavi