Some sanitation and hygiene behaviors in Terai are hard as iron – almost impossible to change despite the attempts of so many WASH stakeholders for many years. It has sometimes felt that our efforts are waste of time. However, our role is to support ‘making impossible possible’. Now Terai is changing in terms of using sanitation facilities and improving hygiene conditions as well. Gugauli and Patariya VDCs are conducting sanitation campaigns in order to change community behavior.
Neulaganj village of Gugauli VDC is one the most remote communities of Kapilvastu district, and in the village most of the people go to open places for defecation, hand washing with soap is not practiced, and people have poor personal hygiene. But things are now changing. The change became possible because of a sanitation campaign led by the community.
The community has increased awareness on personal hygiene and household sanitation, and they thought it was an indigenous idea to protect a child from dust and other harms. Promoting local knowledge and using local materials help to prepare the hygiene-related products in a cost effective manner as well as make them affordable for the poor. Parents are starting to think about their children´s hygiene and protection. They clean their children, whether they are inside or outside of their home and also prepare a ping – a kind of cradle.
Photo: Young mother prepared this indigenous ping for her child. The child is happy to sleep on the ping without fear in Neulaganj Village of Gugauli VDC in Kapilvastu district.
Community awareness is not limited to personal hygiene, use of toilet and safe drinking water, but the community is also aware of safe livestock management and livelihood.
Community is slowly increasing their knowledge regarding adverse impact of the waste of animals and have started to separate the area for domestic animals and to manage animal waste properly. They constructed a separate shed (Gotha) for cows and buffalos, with a safe eating and drinking place for the animals as well. As a result, the cattle is getting appropriate food and there is less chance to contaminate the children´s playing area and surrounding areas of the house. Owners of the cattle are earning more after systematic animal management. Other households are also inspired to manage a separate place for animals now that they have seen its benefits.
Photo: Local farmer is managing cows and buffalos in a systematic manner in a separated place nearby the house.
District WASH Coordination Committee (D-WASH-CC) with its many stakeholders are working together to promote sanitation in Kapilvastu district. V-WASH-CC, including RWSSP-WN, VDC and community are also participating and supporting the sanitation campaign regularly. Thanks to the effective sanitation campaign, the remote village is improving its sanitation and hygiene status and has realized the benefit of good sanitation and hygiene behavior. The project has been able to create an environment to change the perception of the stakeholders. Finally, the campaign is making behavior easy to change - everything is possible by hard work.