Workshop concludes with Commitment: ‘Will formulate action plan for declaring First ODF Municipality’

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Kathmandu, 30 April: Aiming towards total sanitation Itahari Municipality planned to formulate an action plan on declaring Itahari Open Defecation Free (ODF) zone. The municipality, hence, organized a workshop with support of UN HABITAT Water for Asian Cities Programme Nepal, WaterAid Nepal and LUMANTI Support Group for Shelter to consult with different stakeholders and come up with a concrete action plan towards this goal. Around 100 participants representing 40 different WATSAN organizations including I/NGOs, local stakeholders, Tole Lead Organizations, Municipalities from Sunsari District, Community Based Organizations and journalists took part in the workshop. In order to achieve the desired goal, the workshop had been focused to identify the appropriate WATSAN strategies and potential donor agencies and organizations. Building new partnerships and to ensure commitment to develop effective mechanism for implementing campaign towards first ODF municipality was also the motive of the workshop. At the workshop, while speaking about the increasing slum and squatter areas in Itahari Municipality, Ram Prasad Thapalia, District Administrative Officer of Sunsari urged all organizations working in WATSAN sector to work together to achieve the target of declaring Itahari as ODF municipality. Executive Officer of Itahari Municipality Ganesh Prasad Dahal mentioned about some vital activities performed earlier in Itahari for ODF declaration, and opined that around 2000 toilets required to meet the target. Sudha Shrestha, Acting Chief Technical Advisor of UN-Habitat WAC Nepal informed the participants about the Urban Environment Improvement Project, Small Town Water & Sanitation Project, and Urban Development Programme- initiated by Government of Nepal in this municipality. She also introduced them to the partnership between the UN Habitat and GoN in the implementation of various other WATSAN projects in these municipalities and small towns and emphasized the need of coordination among all these initiatives. Urban Programme Manager of Water Aid Nepal Mr. Kabir Rajbhandari shared about the development of Water, Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene Implementation Plan. According to him, the plan had been prepared in coordination of Municipality and other stakeholders. A day long workshop was concluded with a commitment to design a coordinated plan by the end of Jestha 2067 for ODF declaration. The participant organizations also expressed their commitment to mobilize available resources for the implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene focused activities as per the design planned. This is the first initiation towards ODF campaign at municipal level involving all the stakeholders in one forum