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Project Document

SUSWA Project Document, Approved by Supervisory Board 29.9.2022.


Nepal has been experiencing gradual shift in its administrative system after the Parliament passed the new Constitution in September 2015. Local and general elections were held in 2017 in line with the new Constitution. The number of local administrative units was decreased from over 4,000 in the country to 753, comprising 460 rural municipalities, 276 municipalities, 11 sub-metropolitan, and 6 metropolitan local governments.

The Government of Nepal has prioritised water supply service level upgrading in National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy, and the 15th Development Plan is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the country. Nepal is committed to pursuing and achieving SDGs by 2030 including those relevant to water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH): 6.1 (achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all) and 6.2 (achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations).

The core goal of Finland’s development policy is to eradicate extreme poverty, to reduce poverty and inequality, and the realisation of human rights. Gender equality, non-discrimination, climate resilience and low emission development are crosscutting objectives in Finland’s development cooperation. The aim is also to strengthen the capacity of individuals and authorities to promote human rights as well as to assure that development cooperation is not discriminatory, and people have an opportunity to participate in decision-making.

Finland has been an active partner in the water sector in Nepal since 1989. The most recent projects in the WASH sector are Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project in Western Nepal (RWSSP-WN), phased out in July 2019, and Rural Village Water Resources Management Project (RVWRMP) implemented until 2022. As a continuation of Finnish long term support, the new Project called Sustainable WASH for All (SUSWA) is designed which can learn much from these projects, build on their experience, and make use of procedures, manuals, etc. developed by them.

Karnali Province is the working area of Sustainable WASH for All (SUSWA) project. It is the only province in the country, which is in the hilly and mountainous regions with no land area in Terai. Karnali is the largest province of Nepal with an area of 24,453 km2 and the lowest population density. There are 25 urban municipalities and 54 rural municipalities (RMs) in the province. Karnali was one of the zones left out of the development mainstream of the country up to the first years of the 21st century. Hence, Karnali is the least developed province measured by the most common development indices.

There are around 200,000 rural people who are without water supply and about 250,000 people who have no technically acceptable water supply in Karnali. Water insufficiency is another issue realised by most of the people throughout the region. The situation is likely to get worse under the climate change scenario, which is expected to influence the water availability and vulnerability of people. Deeply rooted discriminatory cultures and practices (based on gender, caste, disability, economic status, etc.) are among the explaining factors for the issues with access. Functionality problems of water supply schemes in Karnali are higher than in other provinces: 41% of schemes in Karnali need major repair, rehabilitation, or reconstruction.

The Government of Nepal (GoN) declared Nepal an open defecation free (ODF) country in September 2019, meaning that all 753 local units in the country are ODF. ODF is achieved when whole communities shift to using toilets instead of open defecation. While ODF has been declared in Nepal, the situation on ground is less encouraging. Without water supply facilities in place, preventing the behaviour of shifting back to open defecation—even in minor scale or temporarily—is a serious behaviour change challenge.

Women in traditional Hindu society are considered ritually impure and are given strict rules to follow. During menstruation, many women are not allowed to enter the kitchen and temples, wear flowers, have sex, or touch other people. Women themselves are deemed impure and polluted, are often isolated as untouchables, and are unable to stay with their family for the length of their period. The situation in Karnali province is among the worst, ostracising, humiliating, and discriminating dignified life of menstruating women and girls during their periods.







1.1 Country Context

1.2 Karnali Province

1.2.1 Population and Geography.

1.2.3 Socio-economy.

1.3 Policy Framework.

1.4 Urbanisation.

1.5 Sector Development Needs and Challenges to be Addressed.

1.5.1 Water Supply Coverage and Functionality.

1.5.2 Water Sector Budget and Financing.

1.5.3 Climate Resilience and Disaster Risk Management

1.5.4 Sanitation and Hygiene.

1.5.5 Dignified Menstruation.

1.6 Project’s Previous Phases.

1.7 Relevant Other Projects and Donor Coordination Arrangement

1.8 Rationale vis-à-vis Finnish Policies, Strategies, Value-added and Complementarity.

1.9 EU Development Cooperation in Nepal


2.1 Governance and Institutions.

2.2 Financial Environment for Operations.

2.3 Overview of Gender, Disability and Human Rights in WASH Sector

2.3.1 Human rights-based approach and gender equality, disability and social inclusion in SUSWA.

2.4 Detailed Stakeholder Analysis.


3.1 Project Overview.

3.1.1 Project Rationale.

3.1.2 Geographical Scope and Duration.

3.1.3 Technical Scope.

3.2 Results and Key Strategies.

3.2.1 Project Impact, Outcome and Theory of Change.

3.2.2 Outcome Area 1: Strengthened enabling environment and governance for sustainable WASH services and GEDSI in Project Municipalities.

3.2.3 Outcome Area 2: Climate resilient, safe and functional water supply in Project Municipalities.

3.2.4 Outcome Area 3: Sustainable S&H and dignified menstruation management

3.3 Risk Assessment and Risk Response.


4.1 Implementing Agencies and Arrangements.

4.1.1 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Management Committee (WASH-MC)

4.1.2 Municipal WASH Unit (M-WASH unit)

4.2 Management and Decision-making.

4.3 Budgeting and Financial Management

4.4 Coordination and Cooperation with Other Actors and Interventions.

4.5 Communication and Dissemination.

4.6 Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.


6.1 Human Resources.

6.2 Office and Material Resources.

6.3 Financial Resources.


8.1 General

8.2 Financial Sustainability.

8.3 Institutional Sustainability.

8.4 Environmental Sustainability.

8.5 Technical Sustainability.

8.6 Social Sustainability.

8.7 Knowledge Management