Monday, 15 August 2011

Sanitation and developement

                                                                                                                 Bikram Rana
October 2009
Sanitation and development
            In the monsoon of 2009, hilly districts of mid west and far west development region of Nepal suffered from the out break of diarrhea. The death toll due to diarrhea in the mid and far west was a staple for the news and the television comedies unless the outbreak abated. This out break in the mid and far west is a kind of phenomenon which occurs every year and picks it crescendo in the news politics and so on unless it subsides for the season. The crisis outbreak is due to the lack of adequate water and it’s complimentarily parts of health awareness and the practices of not caring personal hygiene. The out break was mainly prevalent in the areas where there are no systematic water systems.
            Diseases due to lack of water tend to be a serious health hazard. When people use very little water, either because there is very little available or because it is too far away to be carried home in quantity, it may be quite impossible to maintain reasonable personal hygiene. Remote people where there is no water system have simply too little water for washing oneself properly or for cleaning food utensils and clothes. In these conditions intestinal infections can much more easily spread from one person to another. Clearly, the prevention of this water washed diseases depends on the availability of and access to adequate supplies of water. The scourge of disease is not only the production of unhealthy mass but is also the means of loss of money and ladder for hardship to the poor people.  
Water supplies alone developed without complementary improvements in personal hygiene, food handling and preparation, and its general health care, are unlikely to produce the expected health benefits. The provision of and use of safe water alone will not be enough to achieve a health impact. Usually, improvements in disposal of waste, nutrition, animal hygiene, housing, and insect and food hygiene is needed as well.
Keeping in mind the importance of sanitation and hygiene, the support of Water Resource Management Programme (WARM-P) Helvetas in drinking water and sanitation, advocates for better sanitation practices supporting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It has strategically in built the sanitation component in its each gravity and rain water harvest drinking water systems.  Sanitation component comprises of awareness and motivation about the need of latrines and the engender of open defecation, latrine construction at house hold level in project area is mandatory for the management of human excreta, garbage pit for the disposal of house hold waste and erection of wooden deck (chaang) for the placement of house hold utensils avoiding the contact from dirt and soil. Helvetas is not the healer of diseases but its endeavor is to prevent people from pandemic diseases through advocacy and implementation of Drinking Water Schemes (DWS) with house hold level latrines.  The death toll in Helvetas drinking water and sanitation project area during the 2009 diarrhea out break was near to nil. For the promotion of sanitation, Helvetas has adopted demand responsive service providers approach in sanitation sector to make it sustainable and self reliance and scale up the sanitation practices. It provides local latrine builders (LLB) training who are involved in the latrine construction in drinking water projects. LLB also play the role of demand responsive service providers in the absence of development agencies.


                                        Bikram Rana
September 2008

                   Nepal is considered one of the poorest countries of the world.  When the World Bank commenced ranking countries by the level of economic development in 1987, Nepal was placed seventh from the bottom out of 128 economies in basic indicators. According to the highlights of UNDP report 2007 / 2008 The HDI for Nepal is 0.534, which gives the country a rank of 142nd out of 177 countries. The human development index (HDI) provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). The index is not in any sense a comprehensive measure of human development. It does not, for example, include important indicators such as gender or income inequality and more difficult to measure indicators like respect for human rights and political freedoms. What it does provide is a broadened prism for viewing human progress and the complex relationship between income and well-being.
           Constellation of development workers and government is focused for the amelioration of people of Nepal. Land, water, and forest are the items of natural resources which are abundance in Nepal. The potential that these resources have, if harnessed in a planned and proper manner, livelihood via economic prosperity of Nepalese people is guaranteed. In the exploitation of these natural resources the interests of various users groups and stakeholders are encountered. The various diverse interests of implementers and beneficiaries, if given a smooth sailing with the involvement of youths in planning and execution become motive force for development. The fulfillment of rudimentary seems to be a kind of abyss, endeavor of youths will definitely narrow the gaps through integrated Programme.
         Sustainability of development projects is just not the measure of the system function at a time and failure at others. It is rather the measure of the changing atmosphere e.g. in matters of increased confidence, competence, pride, ability to self diagnose, ability to take new initiative and so on. The truth is the concept of maintenance, a regular process for sustaining the operation of the production process did not get transferred with the imported artifact primarily because it is a culture that needs to be inculcated and capacity that needs to be built. Most of the rural communities are in constraints of lack of man power, gaps in skill level, deficiency in planning, non existent skill in construction management, budget handling and accounting. Illiteracy, and institutional weakness, social and economic stratification further add to the difficulty.   Accepting the truth but not hitting the problem will be just grumbling about public mismanagement. These grumblings may lead development to be ephemeral and to the best to enduring where as target is sustainability. Obviously, any single work can not solve societal problems but it can hopefully improve the squalid situation. To meet the target, thematic groups should be ready to share the cost of synergy and to sacrifice the creeds (that is give and take) to head for the true amelioration of the poor people through protagonist youths.
         The problems prevailing in the districts of Nepal are due to inadequate institutional capacity at village and district levels, inadequate human resource capacity, inadequate financial and physical resources and unorganized settlements
The inadequate institutional capacity comprises two types of shortcomings; institutional and individual inefficiency and constrained facilities and logistics. Firstly institutional and individual inefficiency involves a wide variety of issues, such as inadequately defined roles and responsibilities at various levels, tendency to create new or parallel institutions, weak participatory planning process, and lack of sect oral coordination in the districts. The second measure problem is related to human resource constraints. Human resource constraints are further elucidated by a number of issues such as inadequate involvement of women and inadequate skills. The human resource constraints are often made worse by inefficient use of existing resources due to lack of coordination and poor cooperation. The third fundamental problem, inadequate financial and physical resources and financial management issues is explained by two major factors: insufficiently mobilized resources at village level and inadequate resources at district levels. There is a variety of reasons for the problems at village level. The reason includes extreme poverty (of the poorest social group), reliance on government financing, partly unaffordable technologies and inadequate access to formal credit mechanism. The fourth problem of unorganized settlements is the dominant problem and unnoticed by development agencies and government. Though Nepal has received highest per capita inflow from the donors development in rural is still in crisis. The resource has also been scattered according to the scattered settlements. The settlements of hills needs to be reorganized so that cultivable land is equitable and access to water sources is reachable even by the deprived ones. Organized settlement will surely help to redistribute the resources in priority basis which will ease the task of planning and execution of Hydropower, road, Drinking water with sanitation and agricultural Programme. Though it seems hard in reorganizing the settlements of hills, it can be done and it has been depicted in Nepal, for example the resettlement of Kanchanpur people in the name of expansion and preservation of wild life. May be it was easy in Kanchanpur because the most people resettled with just or unjust were Tharus who were not the kins of ruling elite. The Ruling elite may hesitate to take step to reorganize the hill settlements because it’s the land of their kin.
         Inclusion of youths with opportunities in the development process and their involvement without biasness can play a crucial role in true development of the nation for the true amelioration of Nepalese.