Starting a toilet campaign in southern Nepal

Date: 15th May 2017

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Our latest report, Connecting the Dots, features the work of our national coordinators and introduces our very active member, Hari Devkota.

WSSCC member Hari Devkota launched a `Two Dollar Toilet Campaign’ to encourage community members to build their own toilets and put an end to open defecation, improving the lives of dozens of families in Rangapur village in southern Nepal, home to the indigenous Tharu community.

WSSCC member Hari Devkota

Hari Devkota

In 2010, Hari’s desire to see the benefits of sanitation and hygiene spread across all communities in Nepal led to the launch of a sanitation campaign that would transform the village.

The $2 campaign was motivated by a desire to increase the safety and dignity of community members – often compromised in their search for a private place to relieve themselves.

For girls and women in particular, the absence of pit latrines meant routinely walking alone at night to remote locations, with a torch in hand.

Hari found a strong ally in a volunteer from outside the village who was sympathetic to the risky situation girls faced each and every night.

She introduced the idea of the pit latrine to the community by establishing one in her home and encouraging children to learn about it. This relatively simple initiative generated enthusiasm in the community, particularly among children who were eager to have a toilet of their own.

$2 dollar campaign led by WSSCC member and partners including local volunteer

Hari encouraged volunteers to help promote toilet use

Hari , working with two partners, spurred the movement by supporting community children with the equivalent of the $2 needed to buy wooden planks that could be used by families to build basic pit latrines.

Where toilet use was once a privilege enjoyed by one or two wealthy families in the community, pit latrines soon became a standard fixture in each family’s home.

Hari says that all families who took part in the campaign have since gone on to build permanent toilets, complete with septic tanks.

Since the launch of this successful campaign that ignited what Hari refers to as a “toilet revolution”, he has helped to keep the momentum going by providing the community with resources and information about the importance of continued toilet access and use.

$2 dollar campaign led by WSSCC member and partners including local volunteer

Together with his allies and team of volunteers, Hari continues to raise awareness about sanitation and hygiene and encourage families to build and use toilets – one child at a time.

In Connecting the Dots, you can learn more about WSSCC members like Hari and the national coordinators they are teaming up with in-country to advance sanitation and hygiene.

Are you a WSSCC member with an inspirational story or message to share with other members and partners? Write to us at members@wsscc.org and tell us all about it!

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