Improving health…and more

July 7th, 2014

The latest round of the Nepal Sanitation Program ended with some important feedback from many of those involved.

Some of the participants had just received one of the 20 toilets handed over to the communities. Others involved in the day had been involved in delivering the program and better sanitation for 6 years. Their thoughts and comments on safety, health, environment and the general benefits of the Sanitation Program reveal the complexities that now infuse a program that was initially designed to simply remove human waste safely. 

Thanks to the work of our partners CHDS, the local Village Committees and Rotary, we are able to present feedback from the villagers discussed during the Sanitation Program handover visit in May, 2014.   SEE THE FULL HANDOVER REPORT AND MEET THE FAMILIES BY CLICKING HERE.

On safety

• People no longer have to fear the jungle animals (tiger) when they go to the toilet in the middle of the night, as they no longer have to go into the field
• Now the toilet is near the house, there is less chance of falling at night when needing the toilet.
• Women have greater personal security when toileting.
• Less carrying of water has meant improved safety for women and children.

On health

• Less coughing and sore eyes from less smoke when we use the bio-gas.
• Now many people are more ‘full of energy’ than before the toilets were built.
• Less stomach / abdominal problems.
• Less foot infections (as the toilets are closer to the house and require less walking across fields and less human waste on the ground)

On the environment 

• The jungle has grown back near our houses as we need to cut less timber for cooking fires.
• Less tree cutting around our area of the village will mean less landslides in the wet season.

On income generation

• The fertiliser from the bio-gas unit has greatly increased crop yield and profit; don’t have to spend money on chemical fertiliser.
• We now spend less money on health treatment costs as our family has less sickness.
• When we use bio-gas to cook one person does not have spend all their time to tend the fire, so we use the same time doing chores around the house area and only check the pressure cooker when the cooking is finished.

On the general benefits of the toilet, wastewater treatment and water supply

• A toilet and water supply near the house is safe, private and convenient.
• Improved environmental conditions in the village.
• A secure water supply near the house has been a major improvement.
• Better way to store water now, and easier to wash the kids.
• Women and young girls now have privacy when toileting.
• The hand-washing tap outside the toilet has improved children’s health, enabled tooth brushing and provided a convenient source of water for meal preparation.
• The toilets have benefited the elderly and young children the most.
• Bio-gas cooking means less pot scouring and cleaning (to clean off the timber smoke residue and ash) and therefore less rough hands and longer life for pots.

On program management

• The sanitation project has shown how the village can work together with a local Nepali NGO and achieve a good result.
• Look for quality of materials as well as the price.
• Learning about materials procurement, distribution and the recording of quantities.
• Developed knowledge about program management issues.
• I learnt how to take minutes at meetings.
• Working together to discuss and solve problems.

From the Village Chairs and Sanitation Committee members 

• A much greater understanding about how the waste system works.
• First hand experience of how the program benefits the community.
• We can now explain the benefits of sanitation to all the community.
• The sanitation project has shown the importance of building high quality facilities and now we understand why all the parts of the toilet system are needed.
• Construction team now understands the need for quality design.
• Seeing how local villagers could build the toilets has lead to others doing more building work around the village.
• Because we have seen the toilets built and know something about the materials and the systems, we understand why maintenance is so important. We will develop local maintenance teams and contributions for the work.