The Global Sanitation Fund programme in Nepal is reprogramming funds to contribute to restoration efforts in districts affected by the massive earthquake that struck northwest of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, early on 25 April, and the tremors which followed in May 2015.
The GSF’s Executing Agency in Nepal, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has appealed to GSF for funding to cope with the crisis on behalf of the Government of Nepal as part of a coordinated response.
The earthquake has caused widespread destruction in the country. Nearly one third of the current 17 Global Sanitation Fund-supported districts are affected. Detailed assessments on the scope of the damage have been hampered by the difficulty of accessing rural communities.
WSSCC has approved the reprogramming of up to $1 million of GSF funds, to be utilized by GSF programme managers and implementers for WASH related activities in five of the most affected GSF districts – Bhaktapur, Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha, Rasuwa and Nuwakot. The funds will be used to support people-centred approaches to restore the status of sanitation and hygiene to pre-earthquake levels.
The Executing Agency and Sub-grantees can use their existing coordination networks, local partners, and programme staff familiar with affected communities. UN-Habitat supports the Cluster System of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, working closely with UNICEF to support WASH activities.
Much of the progress to improve sanitation in rural communities over the past five years has been destroyed by the earthquake. Bhaktapur, near the capital Kathmandu, was declared open-defecation free at the regional sanitation conference, SACOSAN in 2013. Reprogrammed funds will help those areas which were close to open-defecation free status before the earthquake get back on track.
In October 2014, Nepal’s Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, made a public pledge to end open-defecation in Nepal by 2017 as part of the National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan. The scale of devastation resulting from the earthquake will require a detailed assessment of the damage in order to adjust sanitation programming.
Prior to the earthquake, the GSF-funded programme in Nepal had reported year-end 2014 cumulative results of 817,000 people with improved toilets, 900,000 people living in ODF environments, and 900,000 people with handwashing facilities. In addition, more than 1,250 communities were declared open defecation-free.
When WASH practitioners understand the patterns and causes of slippage, they can devise innovative strategies to avoid it.
Global Sanitation Fund programmes are designed to incorporate gender considerations and equity dimensions.
Monitoring slippage should go beyond the numbers to truly understand behaviour change and community dynamics.