Monday, August 15, 2011

Women Leading In Toilet Construction Work & Support To Family

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.”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Study On "The Importance of Tudhikhel" BY CIUD, Urban Dabali
At Kathmandu, with rapid urbanization and rapid settlement growth open spaces are declining. This results in a dense urban area with less or no open space, narrow roads and lack of adequate greeneries. This makes courtyards, shaded all the time with little or no ventilation, creating an unhygienic environment as well as it shows the less awareness towards disaster vulnerability. The study done by CIUD on December 2010 shows the importance of Tudhikhel in various ways.
Tundhikhel is an area that provides a large open space to the citizens where they can pursue various forms of activities. It is used for various parades, national celebrations and festivals i.e Fulpati, Ghodejatra, Sarswati pooja etc.  Similarly for the sports and general exercise as well. Some historical area of Tudhikhel has been taken away by the government to set up the Ratna Park, and then the Open Air Theatre in the northern side, the Army Officers Club, in the southern side.
The main objectives behind this study is to find out the importance and awareness of Tudhikhel to the valley residenters. Similarly, other specific objectives are to find out the number of people floating and the activities performed by them inside Tudhikhel and to find out the access for quick rehabilitation viability in case of earthquake.

Historically, Tudikhel covered area, from Rani Pokhari in the north to the Dasarath Stadium in the south. The political significance of Tudhikhel started declining after the Rana regime in 1951. With the help of the US government in 1961 Tudhikhel was divided into three separate parts. The fencing work done by the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC).
The survey shows that people of around 26 – 30 years old are the major group of Tudikhel visitors where as people around 66 – 70 are the one with less visits. People visits inside Tudikhel for performing various kind of activities  such as jogging, physical and mental exercise, pet walks, etc. likewise, Tudikhel is also used mainly for performing and practicing different outdoor games activities such as badminton, football, volleyball, cricket,etc. The place is also used as program venue. The observation data by the surveyor of CIUD showed that in a day around 800 people visits inside Tudikhel in non holiday's day among which nearly 300 of them visits in the morning time from 6am - 11am mostly for jogging and exercise purpose.
Tudhikhel is not only the breathing spaces of the city but is the place for interplay between people, activities, movement and urban forms. Tudikhel plays a vital important role in different aspects of the society which includes games, health and environment activities, socio-cultural and political activities. Besides these aspects, one major is the earthquake issue, which cannot be avoided as a part of Kathmandu valley future in the coming days. Diminishing open spaces in the Valley due to haphazard urbanization and failure to work on earthquake preparedness poses a serious threat to the lives of people here. According to our survey at Tudhikhel, 73% peoople know that Kathmandu is in the vulnerable condition in aspect of earthquake disaster where as the rest 23% are not aware about this serious problem. Among them 99% agree that in case of such a disastrous situation Tudhikhel can play a vital role in providing shelters to the citizens inside the valley.
The international standard for open space for temporary settlement is 45 sq. m. In regard to this data, the present Tudhikhel covers 127142.66 sq.m among which 61164.42 sq. m. is covered by public for various activities. It is suggested that in case of an earthquake 2825.392 numbers of people can be rehabitated at Tudhikhel.
At present, Kathmandu is praiseworthy for their initiative against the illegal parking but, they are too reluctant to look at the real problems. It is evident that such illegal parking lots in many cases are a trouble for the smooth running of traffic and is the root cause for the traffic jam in the street.

According to the survey, it was found that 70% people are still hopeful towards Tudhikhel and its authorities that in future it will be well managed with greenery and will remain open space for public as now where as 30% people think that it will be encroached and will be used for business and political purpose, not only that they think condition of Tudhikhel will be worst later than it is now.

There are many reasons why it is so important to protect open spaces in urban areas. Some environmental reasons behind this can be is,  to recharge groundwater, preserve microclimate, and minimize the air pollution. From a social perspective, areas like Tundikhel are responsible for reducing urban stress, creating opportunities for sports and recreation, improving the landscape of the city, and helping to promote tourism. A public place with a positive image actually helps to impart the civic sense, wisdom and responsibility in an individual. So it is very important to preserve and protect such open spaces like Tudikhel by designing different guidelines for regeneration and maintenance, design and management of public open spaces.