Habitat Observatory

    Creating Healthy Households in West Nepal
    Realizing the importance of clean drinking water and safe sanitation practices, community members of Tikapur municipality in Nepal have installed silver colloidal (CS) water filters, improved cook stoves and ecological sanitation (ECOSAN) toilets in their homes. Training has been given under the SWASHTHA (Strengthening Water, Air, Sanitation and Hygiene Treasuring Health) project that is being implemented in Tikapur area in partnership with the Municipality, ENPHO, MuAN and Practical Action and financed by EU and UN-Habitat‘s Water for Asian Cities Programme.

Smoke free kitchens along with drinking filtered water have improved health of the community members. Training about hygiene and health has motivated the families from defecating in the open which has resulted in cleanliness levels improving in the area. This habitat project has used a cost sharing financial model which is part grant and part beneficiary’s own contribution.

Hari Krishna Chaudhari, a local school teacher recalled memories of earlier days saying, “I had to go far for defecation in order to hide from people and during rainy season and night time, it was very difficult”. He learnt about various types of toilet under the SWASHTHA project. Chaudhary was initially not convinced but after seeing an ECOSAN toilet during an exposure visit in Kathmandu, he made up his mind to build this environment friendly toilet. The project supported material subsidy of NRs. 3500 and he put in an additional sum of NRs. 8000 to build an ECOSAN toilet in his house.

The Eco San technology has the potential to revolutionize sanitation practices in rural and peri – urban areas. It is water saving as there is no flushing required. The faeces and the urine are stored in separate tanks. After appropriate dilution, the urine from these eco toilets can be taken to nearby farms for use as liquid manure. Human urine is a rich source of nitrogen and potassium and thus is a very good soil conditioner. The faeces too turns into good quality compost after being kept in a closed chamber for 6 – 9 months.

Mrs. Chaudhary is very happy with the installation of the improved cook stove (ICS). “My kitchen is now clean, previously it used to be full of noxious smoke”, she said. With the support from the project, the family now has a CS water filter installed in their kitchen which filters turbidity and disinfects micro-organisms. Decomposable waste from the kitchen is converted into compost to be used in the farm.

The house of the Chaudhari family is an example of integrated approach to WASH (water, air, sanitation and hygiene). They are inspiring others in the community to transform their homes into eco - friendly dwelling units.

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    Cleanliness Drive spearheaded by a Rural Children’s Cabinet
  Children living in Kakaria a remote village in Jharkhand have brought about a cleanliness and sanitation revolution in their school and surrounding areas. Encouraged by the government’s SWASTHH (School Water and Sanitation towards Health and Hygiene) programme aimed at achieving ‘education for all’ in rural India, local village children decided to take matters in their own hands. They elected a cabinet comprising of middle level school students to improve health and hygiene conditions in their school.

Along with the Prime Minister, all the different Ministers in the Children’s Cabinet go to school wearing neat uniforms and tidy shoes. None of them are over the age of 17. If they see any student who has come to school without shoes or with dirty finger-nails or uncombed, messy hair, the Cabinet Members inform the parents immediately.

The Minister of Health in the Children’s Cabinet comes a little early to school everyday to check the condition of the com¬pound. It is mandatory for all the students in the school to contribute towards keeping the premises neat and tidy. This includes regular washing and scrubbing of toilets to ensure that they are kept clean throughout the day. The Finance Minister is responsible for collecting cash contributions from all the school students. These funds are used to replenish stock of soaps, brushes and cleaning materials required for maintaining the health and hygiene programme in the school.

The Minister of Water dispenses water from a special water vessel, which no fingers or hands are allowed to touch. Hygiene messages are painted all over the walls of the compound. The Garden¬ing Minister is responsible for maintaining greenery in the school. Vegetables grown in the kitchen garden are used for cooking healthy mid day meals for the students. Emphasis on drinking clean water and eating healthy food has improved the overall health of the children. This has acted as a high motivating factor for parents to send their children to school regularly.

Transformation in the school environment under the SWASTHH programme has been inspiring. There has been a remarkable improvement in the décor inside and outside the classrooms, sanitation facilities and general cleanliness standards. All this has resulted in inculcating a sense of ownership, pride and high morale amongst the children, thereby leading to improved attendance in school.

Considering that a majority of vil¬lage schools in India fail to provide basic necessities of clean drinking water, safe sanitation and a clean, hygienic environment to the students; drop-out rate especially amongst girls is very high. Successful models such as the one tried in Kakaria village should be publicized and promoted widely to inspire students and local communities to work towards transforming their own lives.

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