The WASH SDG Consortium – WASH Alliance International, Plan International, and SNV have been implementing the DGIS (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) funded WASH SDG programme since 2017. The programme aims to sustainably improve access to and use of water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour.
A joint collaboration
On 21st March 2022, WASH Alliance Nepal led by Simavi, together with consortium partners SNV and Plan organized a national level learning and sharing workshop reflecting on the experiences across different WASH themes. The objective of this workshop was to capture the learnings across various themes within water, sanitation and hygiene, the challenges, best practices, innovations and eventually take recommendations that can be replicated by development partners across different sectors. The workshop had more than 45 participants from 30 organizations ranging from the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management (DWSSM), INGOs (USAID, WaterAid, Akvo, CORDAID, Simavi), NGOs, WASH sector private consultancies and representatives of Federation of Water Supply and Sanitation Users in Nepal (FEDWASUN).
Learnings from WASH Planning Experiences in Nepal
Dr. Rajit Ojha, Senior Divisional Engineer of the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management (DWSSM) kicked-off the workshop with a presentation on the WASH Plan process, its outcomes so far, and the future ahead. A WASH plan is a comprehensive plan to ensure 100% coverage for potable water, in line with the national plan and SDG targets ensuring we leave no one behind. The Ministry of Water Supply (MoWs)/DWSSM has envisioned that all municipalities in Nepal will have a geo-referenced WASH Plan that will paint an accurate picture of WASH service status across the country. This will help to identify the unreached population for basic as well as safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene services. He also shared about the NWASH app and dashboard, a common platform that holds data on all the WASH plans developed throughout the country.
Following his presentation, Mr. Madan Bhandari from Plan International presented the gender transformative WASH Planning approach that is being piloted in Gadhi Municipality, Sunsari. This approach assesses the level of women’s leadership and participation of the community in WASH decision making, and aims to increase ownership of user’s (women and excluded people), improve WASH monitoring system, thus progress toward gender equality. The final presentation for this session was by Mr. Anil Maharjan from ENPHO, who shared the challenges and learnings faced by his team while developing WASH Plans in Barahataal and Bheriganga Municipality of Surkhet. These learnings were well received by Dr. Rajit Ojha – who is leading this process from DWSSM, as well as other practitioners who learned what challenges may lie ahead should they initiate the WASH Plan process.
Functionality of water supply systems: Efforts to build better, more sustainable services
A well-known fact about the water supply schemes in Nepal is that only 25% of them are functioning.
This is also the case in Baijanath and Kohalpur Municipality of Banke as presented by Mr. Uddhav Bhattarai. Here, of the 18 water supply systems, only 5 are functioning and the rest are either in a state of non-functionality or are still in the process of completing construction. Some of these projects have been under construction for over a decade. The key challenges seems to the lack of technical capacity, affordability and willingness to pay from the community, tariff collection, and operation and maintenance planning prior to construction. Adding to this, Mr. Sudarshan Rajbhandari shared why asset management plan is important to ensure the sustainability and functionality of water supply systems. This plan helps to optimize the service of the water supply systems, minimizing the possible risks and maintenance costs, and thereby extending the life span of the system. Details on the approach and process of developing the asset management plan was shared with the audience.
The final presentation of this session was by Mr. Serish Dhital from Smart-Tech Solution, who is working with WASH Alliance Nepal to develop asset management tools. Three different but integrated tools: a web dashboard, a mobile app and an e-learning module is being developed to support water users committees to manage the water system assets, check the incoming and outgoing expenses, plan for repairs and maintenance, etc. The tools are currently being validated in a select water schemes and soon will be available for scaling up to other water supply schemes.
WASH in Institutions: Schools and Health Care
Mr.Hari Subedi from Geruwa presented the lessons and achievements from implementing the WASH FIT tool. WASH FIT is the abbreviation for Water and Sanitation for Health Facility Improvement Tool. This tool is developed for health care facilities to prioritize and conduct WASH improvement, focusing on actions. Mr Hari, presented a case of Kohalpur Municipality, where the initial assessment showed only 23.35% of the health care facilities (HCFs) met the highest standard. After implementing the WASH FIT Tool, during the second assessment 50.88% of the HCFs had met the highest standard. The usability and scalability of this tool across all health care centers were highlighted through his presentation.
Next, we had Mr. Mahesh Nakarmi from HECAF360 who presented on health care waste management practices. Case studies from Teaching Hospital were presented that showed hazardous waste reduction, improvement of hygiene conditions, reduction in pollution and increase in recycling after their intervention.
“Let the waste of the “sick”, not contaminate the lives of the “healthy”
– K. Park
The final presentation of this session was from Mr Krishna Hari GC, SNV on school sanitation and hygiene promotion. He presented how 6 indicators were developed based on the learning from the 7FAT approach initiated by DWSSM and WHO.
Delivering WASH services
Mr. Sagar Chapagain from Biruwa Adviser started the WASH service delivery session by explaining how they approach private sector development. Biruwa is currently working in over 40 districts, coaching more than 750 entrepreneurs, providing business development and operation training, supporting the development of marketing strategy, training them on book-keeping, tax filing etc. Additionally, they are also working with water users committees to develop a tariff structure that will meet financial requirement for the operation and maintenance of the water supply system. Together with cooperatives, they have created linkages with community members and WASH institutions.
Mr Raju Shrestha from SNV presented on Fecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP) contributing on Sanitation Value Chain. Here, highlighted the journey of constructing the FSTP in Surkhet.
Dr. Mingma Sherpa, Country Coordinator of WASH Alliance Nepal concluded this workshop with his presentation on CSP (City Sanitation Plan) as an entry point to establish FSM services. He highlighted the need for integrated urban sanitation services and stages of planning process for CSP. Additionally, with Kohalpur Municipality as a case study, he highlighted the process of establishing the Fecal sludge treatment plant in Kohalpur. Though the construction of this plan is yet to begin, the WASH Alliance have been working together with the municipality to now secure funding.
The learning and sharing of important WASH related issues and solutions through this collaborative event proved to be a success. The workshop provided a forum to reflect and promote the exchange of WASH ideas and learnings amongst Government stakeholders, Development Partners, INGOs, NGOs, private sectors. The event participants appreciated and encouraged such workshops in the future as they are also able to bring out key advocacy agendas to meet 2030 SDG goal. By bringing together experts in the WASH sector who are working towards a common goal, we can apply the learnings within our own programmes as a way forward to meet our 2030 WASH SGD target.
Written By - Pragati Bajracharya (Simavi)