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Youth Volunteers Revive Over 100 toilets in four days

Posted 15 June, 08:51 pm

June 15th 2015, Youth volunteers with the support of 120 local community volunteers assisted residents in rebuilding more than 100 toilets that were destroyed by the April 25 earthquake in Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha and Bhaktapur districts. In addition, they also raised awareness on safe drinking water, sanitation and hygienic practices to more than 3000 earthquake affected families and students. The volunteer teams were mobilized by UN-Habitat in association with Pachim Paila, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), Hamro Sahayog, SOYA and We Inspire Nepal (WIN), and in close collaboration with District WASH Coordination Committees and local NGOs from 8th to 12th June, 2015 in Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha district and from 5th to 11th June, 2015 in Bhaktapur district as part of the 16th National Sanitation Action Week.

In total, 52 volunteers from Kathmandu visited Boch and Suspachhemawati VDCs in Dolakha district, Irkhu and Sipapokhari VDCs in Sindhupalchowk district, and Manjushree, Suryabinayak, Changunarayan, Aanantalingeswor, Bhaktapur and Madhya Thimi Municipalities in Bhaktapur district.

The volunteers were able to revive 55 toilets in Sindhupalchowk, 16 in Dolakha and 30 toilets Bhaktapur district. Before the earthquake, UN-Habitat had been supporting sanitation campaigns in all these three districts. While Bhaktapur had already been declared as open defecation free, Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha were very close being declared as ODF with more than 99 percent of the houses having toilets. However, as all three districts were among the 14 most affected districts, the earthquake damaged many toilets in these districts and brought the sanitation campaigns in these districts to a screeching halt. The youth campaign has not only revived over 100 toilets in these districts but has also revived the sanitation campaign in these toilets. It has shown that although the earthquake has damaged many toilets, they can be revived with local participation.

According to Supriya Basnet, a volunteer mobilized at Irkhu, Sindhupalchowk, most of locals were already aware about safe drinking water, proper sanitation and hygiene practices implanted by UN-Habitat before the earthquakes. No open defecation was found in the VDC and the people were either using partially damaged toilets or sharing neighbours’ toilets. This clearly indicates that although the earthquake may have destroyed many of the toilets in the districts, it was not able to destroy the toilet made in the minds of the people