Dipayal, February 22
As the ‘one house one toilet’ campaign, which envisions equipping every household with a latrine, picks up pace in western Nepal, it’s facing a few hitches along the way.
Touted a success, the campaign faces a persistent challenger in the centuries-old tradition of chhaupadi, in which menstruating women are kept outside the house.
According to data, more than 39 per cent women in Achham are not allowed to use latrines during menstruation. A similar situation was reported from other parts of the region as well.
Engineer Prakash Rawal at the Far-west Regional Monitoring and Supervision Office, Dipayal, sees chhaupadi as a roadblock to the ambitious sanitation campaign. “We had big hopes that the villages would be clean after the campaign. But as menstruating women are not allowed to use toilets, they have to defecate in the open,” he said.
Of the total nine districts in the region, five have already been declared open defecation free zones.
Kanchanpur and Kailali is reported to still have a sanitation problem but government data show that 99 per cent and 88 per cent of the population respectively have access to sanitation and drinking water.
Pradip Kumar Mudhabhari, regional monitoring and supervision office director, stressed the need for awareness programmes. “Even districts that were earlier declared ODF zones are in danger of slipping back into their previous condition. So we need more awareness in all the areas for the campaign to be a success,” he commented.
A version of this article appears in print on February 23, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.