Small Steps Towards Sustainability

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Can you imagine a school without a toilet or drinking water?

Many schools in Nepal do not have the most basic WASH[1] facilities despite being a very important aspect in ensuring a healthy and safe learning environment for children.

Surkhet, Nepal - A school[2] located in Awalparajul, a remote area of Ward 3 in Bheriganga Municipality, has no drinking water or sanitation facility for the students, and the nearest water source is a river (approx. 500m away). The unavailability of toilets means open defecation near school premises is the only option. This threatens the education of the students as they are at risk of getting sick due to hygiene-related diseases.

One of the main challenges for schools in Nepal is that resources, technicians, and finances are difficult and sometimes even impossible to access. Government funding for maintenance is even more complicated. These challenges lead to broken water taps, dysfunctional water storage tanks, toilets without functioning latch or light and the lack of proper disposal facilities for menstrual hygiene products. Therefore, our focus is to ensure existing facilities in the schools are sustainable.

 

A simple solution that can have a long-term impact

ENPHO, our local implementing partner for the WASH SDG sub-programme, works with 10 schools in Surkhet to develop school improvement plans. While the plan encompasses the overall improvement of the school, a WASH coordination committee is also formed to ensure WASH facility improvement is prioritized.  To ensure long-term useability and sustainability of existing school building and Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) infrastructures, the first step is to establish an effective Operation and Maintenance (O&M) fund. This fund can be used to purchase hygiene materials and other equipment’s required for the maintenance and repair of existing WASH facilities in the school.

Steps Towards Sustainability_2

”Having a WASH Improvement Plan is a positive start towards creating a healthy and safe learning environment. More specifically, the generation of an operation and maintenance fund has served as a complement to the plan, which is one of the key outputs of the workshop led by ENPHO. The fund will help to strengthen the school's capacity to implement the plan. The generation of funds for operation and maintenance is just the beginning. We will try very hard to raise more funds for the operation and maintenance as well as to implement other improvement plans. The raised funds will be deposited in a bank to ensure accountability, and we appreciate ENPHO's efforts to educate and assist us in the implementation of a WASH Improvement Plan.”

-Chitra Bahadur Dangi
Principal of Nepal Rashtriya Aadharbhut School

Ensuring clean, gender-friendly and inclusive WASH facilities in schools is one of our key theories of change within the WASH SDG Programme. This ultimately leads to achieving our overall objective of ensuring access to sustainable WASH services for all.

[1] Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

[2] Shree Nepal Rastriya Adharbhut Vidhyala

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