The last of three Regional Joint Sector Reviews was concluded on March 10 in Pokhara, Kaski.
The meeting welcomed some 50 participants representing VDCs, DWSS and DTO district offices, projects from the Region, chairpersons from town water supply systems and several NGOs. UNICEF and WHO staff attended, while logistics and facilitation was provided by RWSSP-WN.
The Regional Director, Pratap Sharma Paudel, hosted the meeting and with his staff ensured the smooth organization of the meeting.
Feedback at the JSR was good, with most participants engaging in discussions and observations.
Most concerns were expressed with respect to functionality: the growing lack of technically trained people these days in the community, a need to train wateruser committees to deal with current challenges, post construction support to community and small town water supply schemes, potential role of the National WSS Training Centre (earlier CHRDU), guidance on tariff setting, source protection, and the challenges of upgrading existing systems. Sustainability of the ODF achievement and the challenges posed by urban sanitation, either equipped with septic tanks or with sewers, in terms of fecal sludge management and safe disposal, and ofcourse, the cost of treatment were highlighted.
Challenges for the near future indeed, with the rapid urbanization.
On the whole the meeting was an intensive effort of ensuring good feedback from the field into the national planning and the overarching WASH Act and Policy which is under review.
Photos and text by Han Heijnen