In the presence of Mr. Krishna Raj BC, Secretary of the Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation, WASH development stakeholders gathered in Kathmandu to celebrate World Toilet Day on November 19th. The outcomes of the event were a commitment towards achieving an Open Defecation Free nation in the near future, ensuring safe management of waste water and addressing the sanitation needs of People Living with Disabilities.
This year’s World Toilet Day theme, focused on wastewater streams which are produced after toilet use. Hence, the first objective of the event was to explore the transition from the ODF movement towards sustainable wastewater management. Here, the leaders of the Environmental Sanitation Section, Mr. Prem Krishna Shrestha, and Wastewater Development and Management Section, Mr. Tika Chaudhary, presented the status of sanitation and wastewater in the country, including current management initiatives in small and large towns.
The second objective of the event, was to further examine SDG. 6’s objective of ensuring the availability of sanitation and sanitation management for all. The session also discussed sanitation access for people living with disabilities (PLWDs). The honourable Secretary launched a handbook on “Options on Household Toilet Facilities for People with Disabilities and Difficulties” which was produced with support from SNV. The audience was furthermore inspired by an “inclusive e-toilet” that contains an automatic flushing and cleaning system developed by Mr. Rabindra Shahi and his team which was first piloted in the remote district of Dolpa.
Mr. Shudarson Subedi, the Chairperson of the National Federation of Disabled Nepal (NFDN) gave an overview of the national commitments for people living with disabilities. Testimonies from three people living with different types of disabilities were welcomed by the Secretary who pledged to work on inclusive WASH.
The event closed with a short film highlighting the notable efforts made to create disable friendly toilets, schools, health facilities and private home settings.
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated World Toilet Day to inspire action in order to tackle the global sanitation crisis. In Nepal, the crisis was addressed several years ago with the launch of the National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan (2011). Since then, the country has become famous for its successful sanitation movement, a joint partnership consisting of government agencies, NGOs, civil society and the private sector, which has resulted in improved access to toilets.
The event was supported by SNV and linked to its Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) programme funded by UKAID (SSH4A-Results Programme) and DFAT (Civil Society WASH Fund, Australia) and the USAID-funded Swachchhata project.