Sanitation programme on the cards

Kathmandu, October 4:

UNICEF and government bodies are working together to develop an Annual National Sanitation Investment and Delivery Plan to mark the International Year of Sanitation 2008.

As the year 2008 is being celebrated worldwide as International Year of Sanitation with emphasis on water, health and sanitation, the government is going to design a series of activities for the year.

“Development of an Annual Deliver Plan will be a major achievement, if we could finally make it in time,” Namaste Lal Shrestha, a programme officer of the UNICEF Nepal, told this daily.

A National Sanitation Steering Committee is being formed under the leadership of director-general of Department of Water Supply and Sanitation, which will be served by UNICEF Nepal as secretary. The committee will take initiatives to develop programmes and implement them by joining hands with other agents.

UNICEF has developed a draft of programmes for the year and a meeting for the proposed programmes will be held next week.

“We will pile pressure on the government to develop a strong mechanism to prohibit open defecation and also to provide soap all over the country at uniform price,” he said.

Citing the draft, he said that co-ordination, communication and cooperation for the uniformity and information will be developed and the committee will also strengthen district sanitation sections to organise the district-level orientation.

“We will promote building of 5 to 50 latrines every day in each district. This will lead to the construction of 1,825 to 18,250 latrines in a day in a district,” he said.

In general, it will increase awareness and commitment from actors at all levels, both inside and outside the sector and help achieve the Millennium Development Goal on sanitation and Government Goals.

To attend the objectives, the committee will mobilise government bodies from the national to the local level, existing alliances and financial institutions.

The committee aims to encourage demand-driven sustainable and indigenous solutions, and informed choices by recognising the importance of working with practitioners and communities.

Nepal is planning to put special emphasis on sanitation as a recent report on sanitation in South Asia has pointed out that Nepal stands on the lowest among South Asian countries in terms of access to latrine. Despite the efforts and programmes of the government as well as other development agencies, the access to latrine of Nepali people is only 46 per cent, which is the lowest among the South Asian countries. The Maldives and Sri Lanka stand with over 90 per cent access to latrine, while Bhutan has 85 per cent access.