Posted by Barbara Lovegrove
WASH for Six schools in Nepal
The Rotary Club of Kirriemuir, UK and the Rotary Club of the Himalayan Gurkhas have teamed up to bring washrooms, handwashing stations, and most importantly hygiene education to six schools in rural Nepal.
WASH for Six Schools in Rural Nepal
By Barbara Lovegrove
When the request for help to repair/replace toilets came from Nepal, it was of great benefit to have visited previously the country and to have observed the lack of sanitation and its deleterious effect on children in rural communities.

The Rotary Club of Kirriemuir, the UK working with the Rotary Club of the Himalayan Gurkhas, Nepal have planned a new project which is due to start after the monsoon in September 2019. Six rural schools will have new toilet blocks constructed and this will be combined with a health education programme. The schools chosen for this project are in some of those rural hill villages where our partners still have close connections.

A thorough community assessment was carried out in each village. All schools had an adequate water supply on-site.  However, the existing toilets were woefully inadequate and health education was minimal. Children, particularly girls, frequently missed school. This offered an ideal opportunity to make a real difference for the 2500 children and 150 staff who made up these six schools. 

Professional plans were prepared and presented to the school staff, school boards, local communities and the local government authorities. A toilet for every 50 boys and one for every 50 girls, a disabled toilet and a separate male and female staff toilet will be provided in each school together with handwashing facilities, an incinerator and a new septic tank. It was important at this early stage to have the backing and cooperation of everyone involved. Sustainability is being treated as paramount and those involved now know this is their project and they have a role in maintaining any improvements that are made.

The schools all agreed that a professionally qualified health assistant needed to be employed to ensure all staff and pupils are trained in handwashing, toilet hygiene and menstrual hygiene management. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by our colleagues and the school boards ensuring that toilets will be maintained in good working order, kept clean and that an allowance will be made in the school budget each year for soap. The health assistant will monitor the effectiveness of the training, the cleanliness of the toilets and school attendance. Age-appropriate health education will form an ongoing part of the curriculum.

In the course of our fundraising, the Rotary Club of Lochaber, UK offered support. They, supported the district grant, are providing reusable sanitary packs for the girls in each of the schools. Girls are particularly disadvantaged as they can miss one week of schooling every month during menstruation. Providing privacy and dignity for the female students is part of our objective.

The cost of the entire project is $149,071 with the Kirriemuir club contributing $24,000, Rotary district $9,756, a grant of $65,580 and The Rotary Foundation Global Grant of $49,735.