Reaching the Unreached !

Sanitation and Water for All" by 2017! This is the line which you got to hear these days in any WASH programs in Nepal. This is the national target set by the Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan, 2011, the plan which literally changed almost everything in the Sanitation Movement of the country. Looking at the present scenario, Nepal is well forward from the target set by MDG and Master Plan, both in the case of water and sanitation. 

To be precise, the sanitation coverage of the country is around 70% and water coverage around 85%. But, the major challenge of the sector is reaching those unreached. Now the question arising is, "Will the WASH movement, which has been successful so far, continue with the present momentum?" These unreached are the most in need, yet most isolated ones. Needless to say to reach these unreached everybody in the sector need to exponentially multiply their effort physically and financially. The Learning and Sharing seminar organized by the Sector Efficiency Improvement Unit last Friday at Entrance café, Kupondole height tried to analyze the way to reach those unreached. Ms. Kalawati Pokhrel, national coordinator of Nepal WASH Alliance (NWA) in her presentation came up with some pointers to provide basic WASH facilities to the unreached, based on her  experience at Dunga village of Shankarapur VDC, Kanchanpur, People at this village ares still using the rainwater harvesting system made 18 years back. The first step of reaching these people who are unaware of their basic human rights and WASH rights is of course by recognizing them. They can be anywhere irrespective of ecological zone, and urban or rural area. There should be strong mechanism to reach to them. But, do we really have the capacity to reach them? Have we done enough effort to find them and recognize them is still unanswered.

The participants of the seminar also gave their views and ideas to address the needs of these basic facilities deprived people. A few suggestions include:

·         Making Geo reference data of National Management Information Project (NMIP).

·         Using Water Use Master Plan made by Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) and formulating separate plans and ways to reach them.

All the organizations working in the sector need to integrate their effort with the government endorsement. Budget planning is a must and all should feel social responsibility to find unreached, analyze their situation and collectively apply their effort to provide their basic need of WASH. Without this the dream of having "Sanitation and Water for All" by 2017 will be possible only on papers and will be the biggest mistake in history.

Regular exchange

Why this meeting? Teamleader SEIU Han Heijnen explained: “The WASH sector in Nepal is very vibrant. Many agencies are active in a wide variety of WASH related activities. In the process they gain experience both good and bad, and they manage to develop good practice for application of future projects. The experiences and good practice would be of interest to all in the sector. At the same time several Nepali professionals attend international meetings and undertake international assignments. A lot of learning is gained which they normally can only share with a few friends. In tah context we proposes to hold Learning and Sharing Seminars every four to six weeks, with invited speakers from the Sector. SEIU welcomes contributions from sector agencies and sector professionals to share highlights from their work. This would also include occasionally facilitating a seminar at the expense of the agency”.

Story by Karmath Subedi (WASH-RCNN), edited by Dick de Jong 

Communication on key issues in water, sanitation and hygiene need not only to inform, it also needs to inspire and influence decision makers. Communiation also needs to contribute to involvement by people fro all walks of life. This was the intent emerging from a consultation workshop on the draft WASH Sector Communication Strategy thatis being developed as part of the forthcoming Sector Development .

The consulation was organized by theSector Efficiency Improvement Unit (SEIU)  under the Ministry of Urban Development in Entrance Café, Kupondole Height on 14th November 2014. The program was attended by representatives from various organizations working in the communication, information and knowledge management of WASH. Joint Secretary of Ministry of Urban Development Mr. Ram Chandra Devkota spoke about the need of the Sector Development Plan and WASH sector Communication Strategy for improvement on efficiency of sector for better service delivery. He added that SDP and communication strategy are closely looking at sector vision which is improving public health and living standard by providing safe water and sustainable sanitation to achieve national target of "Sanitation and Water for All" by 2017.

Mr. Han Heijnen, Team leader of SEIU, spoke about the vision of SDP and Communication Strategy. He said, through the SDP we need to have a homogenous plan and in the process of SDP all the stakeholders need to be included. It will be critical for SEIU to start discussion between Sector Development Planners and Sector Development actors. What will be the role of each actor? For all this he added that Communication is very critical. The vision of the communication strategy is improving public health and living standard of people by providing safe, reliable and sustainable WASH services for all.

The program proceeded with the consultation on the update of formulation of Nepal WASH sector Communication Strategy. The main objectives of the consultation were to affirm the framework and brainstorming on operational issues. The presentation mainly focused on the process of formulating communication strategy with a brief introduction of the communication framework and theoretical framework.

After the brief update and process of formulating the communication strategy for the general discussion on the vision, messages, and priorities for the communication strategy three groups were formed. Each group after the discussion for 30-minute came up with the presentation of their findings. The groups were divided as:

i)                    Communication Stream: Universal access and right based approach

ii)                  Communication Stream: quality standards and operational excellence

iii)                Sector development/ coherence and linkages

The program was formally closed with final remarks about the next step and discussion by Han followed by the lunch.