On tigers and smooth hands – what toilets mean to the villagers of Nepal
As the Sanitation Program reaches completion in two more villages, what better time to get the feedback from those that matter most – the villagers.
CHDS Nepal asked the two village Chairpersons to conduct casual interviews with each village family and their committee members to get their thoughts on the program and the results. The wide ranging thoughts were communicated to HH and are summarised below. The overwhelming response was positive with only one negative response. The negative comment described an increase in flies, at some times of the year in one house, when the bio-gas compost chamber was sited too close to the house.
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.
- A secure water supply near the house has been a major improvement.
- 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.
- People no longer have to fear the jungle animals (tiger) when they go to the makeshift toilet at the end of the field, in the middle of the night
- 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.
- The reduced need to carry of water (due to the water tank) has meant improved safety for women and children.
- Less coughing and sore eyes from less smoke when we use the bio-gas to cook inside the house.
- 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 is on the ground).
On the environment
- The jungle has grown back near our houses as we cut much less timber for cooking fires (due to the bio-gas).
- There is much less tree cutting around our area of the village now and this will mean less landslides in the wet season.
Animal waste + human waste combined to make smokeless biogas = less smoke, less cut timber and less landslip
On income, improved health and house efficiency
- The fertiliser from the bio-gas unit has greatly increased our crop yield and profit when we sell the crops at the market.
- 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 and can check the pressure cooker only when the cooking is finished. We can use that time for doing chores around the house.
Thoughts from the Village Chairpersons and Sanitation Committee members
- A much greater understanding about how the toilet and waste treatment system works.
- First hand experience of how the program benefits the community.
- We can now explain the benefits of sanitation to all the community and others visiting our villages from the region.
- Learning about materials distribution and the recording of quantities.
- The sanitation project has shown how the village can work together with a local Nepali NGO and achieve a good result.
- 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.
- I learnt how to take minutes at meetings.
- Because we have seen the toilets built and know something about the materials and the systems, we understand why maintenance is so important. We have developed local maintenance teams and family contributions for the maintenance work to continue.
The construction team