The Kamalamai Integrated Water Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) improvement project in Kamalamain Municipality in Sindhuli District, in the Janakpur zone of central south Nepal has envisaged adhering equity and inclusion prospective in project activities. The Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD) has been working there in partnership with WaterAid in Nepal (WAN) since 2005 to provide safe and adequate water and sanitation including improvement in hygiene. One of the components is to facilitate and support in household sanitation improvement primarily focusing poor and marginalized communities in peri urban areas.
Bathanchoudi is one of the communities where toiletfacilities are being constructed. A local user committee “Bathanchoudi Batawara Tatha Tole Sudhar Samiti” has been formed to run the construction works smoothly and to make the community people accountable towards the development works and maintain the transparency. The majority of the committee members are women and from marginalized group i.e. Danuwar community. The leadership of the committee is run by Sarita Danuwar as a president of the committee.
Sarita shares how she has been through the hurdles during the project implementation at her community, where most of the people are illiterate and extremely poor.
“The community people tried to find a local mason in the community for construction of toilet rings and slabs, but they were unable to find one. There was a mason in the community who has been involved in the civil construction works earlier, but his work was not satisfactory. Besides, I also visualized that by involving another mason, the community could not afford it. There is no other alternative except to motivate the community. But the challenge is that local people have to go for collection and loading boulders from a nearby river for their daily earnings and no one showed confidence to build the rings.”
To overcome these hurdles in the community, Sarita visited the project sites where the construction work is going and collected the information and knowledge from there. With the proper knowledge and guidance from the CIUD site office staff and the neighbouring community she wanted to try producing rings by herself. She did get support from her family as well as from the community. Sarita’s husband Saroj Danuwar equally supported her to start this process. Her first attempt to construct rings was successful without any construction training. She is not only helping the community in constructing rings but is also producing rings at affordable cost. On average one ring cost Rs. 500.
The family earning source before was only the labour work on the river side i.e. loading boulders which is not sufficient even to run a small family. The skill developed by Sarita as well as the support from the family has helped to generate good income. Sarita earns Rs. 500 for her work , constructing 10 rings for a toilet. In the project period she did construct 10 rings a day.This case of Sarita shows that a woman can be a leader as well as good supporter for her family.
Sarita added that, “the toilet materials are being transported to the households by tractor so that it less work and for the people and they don’t have to spend extra time for collecting materials. The rings have been constructed timely and are of good quality. The community people are satisfied with the committee’s work. But still there is one obstacle as some people in this community have no space of their own for toilet construction, including myself. So, we requested formally to the Community Forest Committee to provide land for construction of a toilet. The committee accepted our request and granted land for constructing toilet, which has helped the community to make the place a better one.”