Project summary The Impact statement of SUSWA is:
Sustainable WASH for all, SUSWA, is a bi-lateral human rights progressive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project project funded by the Government of Nepal (GoN) and Government of Finland (GoF), as well as the European Union. The project is a continuation of financial and technical support that the GoF has been providing to the development of the WASH sector in Nepal since 1989.
SUSWA will be implemented through a period of five and half years, starting from Mid-November 2022. The project follows the fiscal calendar of Nepal.
The Project aim is to work in a total of 42 municipalities covering all ten districts of Karnali Province in western Nepal.
IMPACT & OUTCOME STATEMENT The Impact statement of SUSWA is:
“Improved well-being and inclusive communities with sustainable WASH services and behaviors through local governments’ improved capacity to achieve equal rights to WASH for all.”
The Outcome statement is:
“People supported by the Project Municipalities have improved and equitable access to safe and sustainable drinking water and adequate sanitation services, dignified menstruation and improved hygiene practices paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”.
The achievement of the expected outcome and impacts is built on four outcome areas:
OA1 Strengthened enabling environment and governance for sustainable WASH services and GEDSI in Project Municipalities
OA2 Climate resilient, safe and functional water supply in Project Municipalities
OA3 Sustainable S&H and dignified menstruation management
Outcome area 1 focuses on development of the capacity of the selected municipalities in the WASH sector towards the achievement of relevant SDGs and towards implementing gender friendly and inclusive policies and plans. Through its outputs, municipalities will be made able to manage the WASH sector and provide support to Water Users and Sanitation Committees (WUSC) in maintaining the functionality and sustainability potential: ensuring safe water quality, climate resilience and disaster risk reduction, proper O&M, adequate water tariff collection and inclusion. It is necessary to strengthen the overall enabling environment for sustainable WASH service delivery WASH by addressing different structural and institutional factors, and capacitating an linking different actors for effective WASH implementation towards the SDG targets and to ensure good communication, information sharing, and learning between these levels.
Outcome area 2 focuses on physical improvement of water supply in Project Municipalities—in terms of coverage on the one hand and functionality, safety, service quality and sustainability on the other. The Project aims to reach approximately 262,500 beneficiaries. Completely new drinking water schemes will reach 10,000 beneficiaries. Reinvestment of water schemes will be done, reaching 40,224 beneficiaries, whereas functionality of drinking water schemes will be improved for 212,276 beneficiaries.
Outcome area 3 aims to ensure the sustainability of the ODF status and upgrade sanitation and hygiene to achieve safely managed sanitation and total sanitation status as applicable. It covers households as well as institutional sanitation and expands the scope of sanitation to address faecal sludge management as well. The estimated amount of beneficiaries is 483,600 and 300 institutional toilets will be improved/constructed. In addition to general progress towards total sanitation, it pays particular attention to women’s right to dignified menstruation. It focuses on the underlying discriminatory social norms that affect menstruating women and girls and persons with disabilities. This result area will focus on analysing the gendered norms, identifying social barriers for persons with disabilities, finding alternative ways to ensure ritual purity during menstruation and child birth, and provide alternative ways to ensure good fortune for the community, as an example. This result area related to dignified menstruation will be implemented in close partnership with women groups, religious leaders, local decision-makers, as well as organisations of persons with disabilities.
What we do
Nepal has been experiencing a gradual shift in its administrative system after the Parliament passed the new Constitution in September 2015. 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.
SUSWA will work through and with the municipalities and follow the community-based approach of the previous WASH interventions supported by Finland. Earlier, the construction of new schemes has tended to receive higher priority than the rehabilitation of existing schemes. Rehabilitation is substantially faster, generally involves less technical and labour inputs, and is cost effective. Hence, SUSWA will continue to construct new schemes, but focus more on functionality of existing systems. The Project aims to support the establishment of an efficient and transparent WASH governance at a municipal level that would be capable to ensure safe, sustainable, inclusive WASH services and conditions for all. The municipal level must first internalise the concept of lifetime services (and costs) of schemes. The principles of lifetime management shall also be rooted at the community level. Attainment of this target is the main key to the long-term sustainability.
HOW WE WORK
The Competent Authorities of the Project are the Ministry of Finance of Nepal and Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Finland. The Competent Authorities, both separately have a veto right in the decision-making.
The Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management (DWSSM) under the Ministry of Water Supply (MoWS) is the main agency supporting the implementation of this project and acts as the Project Coordination Office (PCO). The PCO is entrusted for reporting to DWSSM and coordinates the project at the local, provincial and federal levels jointly with Project Support Unit (PSU). The PSU of SUSWA is located in Birendranagar, Surkhet..
The Supervisory Board (SvB) is the apex decision-making body of SUSWA. The SvB is chaired by the Secretary of MoWS and its voting members comprise the Director General of DWSSM as Member Secretary, a Joint Secretary of MoWS, and a representative of MFA (represented by Embassy of Finland to Nepal). One member from the EU will be included in the SvB.
The project municipalities are the main executing agencies of this project. Hence, selected Municipalities are responsible for the planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring of the WASH programmes in their area – both SUSWA supported as well as all other WASH activities. Within SUSWA, each Municipality has its own sub-project, jointly funded by GoN, GoF, EU, Municipality and users. The following steps will be taken for this purpose:
- an agreement/Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between each partner municipality, SUSWA and DWSSM/FWSSMP will be signed defining roles and responsibilities of each party;
- MWF will be established (a separate ledger of the municipality account) in each partner Municipality;
- a WASH Management Committee (WASH-MC) will be established in each partner Municipality for overall management, coordination and supervision of municipality-wide WASH activities in each partner Municipality;
- a Municipal WASH Unit (M-WASH Unit) will be established in each partner Municipality.
Our approach, values and cross-cutting issues
Human rights, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI), with a specific focus on Disability Inclusion (GEDSI), DRR and climate resilience are cross-cutting issues and mainstreamed in all result areas.
Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) is a conceptual framework for the process of human development normatively based on international human rights standards and principles and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights. It seeks to analyse inequalities and redress discriminatory practices and unjust distributions of power that impede development progress. It identifies right-holders and their entitlements, corresponding duty-bearers and their obligations, and works towards strengthening the capacities of rights-holders to make their claims and duty-bearers to meet their obligations. In HRBA, both the realisation of the rights and the process of implementation are equally important. The normative human rights standards give the minimum acceptable level of a desirable outcome. The human rights principles (such as non-discrimination, participation, empowerment and accountability), in turn, give the criteria for an acceptable process.
The HRBA principles like universality, non-discrimination and equality, participation, and empowerment create enabling environment for all to be involved in maintaining the WASH services. In addition, it is important to promote productive use of water and sanitation complementing family income for operation and maintenance, as well as synergy building with other on-going WASH sector projects for amplifying resources and ensuring new learning.
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, GESI can be seen as part of a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to programming in Nepal that recognizes the diversity of people and focuses on identifying harmful social norms, stigma and discrimination and addresses barriers in a way that ensures equal participation in decision-making and realization of human rights in the provision of WASH facilities and services.
The discussions on GESI have long roots in Nepal, with an emphasis on the importance of gender equality and social inclusion in the realisation of human rights. Nepal has voted in favour of various international human rights conventions and instruments. Human rights were given a high priority in the formulation of Nepal’s Constitution in 2015. The Constitution addresses human rights from all aspects of personal freedom and basic rights, e.g., right to equality, right against untouchability and discrimination, right to practice any religion, language, culture and juridical rights. Rights related to basic human needs such as food, education, housing, employment as well as WASH are acknowledged. It also distinguishes the rights to social justice for all disadvantaged and socially marginalized groups, including e.g. Dalits, women, senior citizens, children, indigenous people and nationalities, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
Nepal has also voted in favour of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the ‘Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW)’, which includes ‘right to freedom from discrimination against women in rural water especially in the context of rural WASH’.
A Gender Equality, Disability and Social Inclusion, GEDSI, approach supports the promise of inclusive state envisioned in the Constitution of Nepal and is essential in achieving the SDGs, where a central principle is “leave no-one behind”. GEDSI in WASH entails gender, caste/ethnic groups, poverty and remoteness as well as functional capacity/disability of the people. Social equality, child-gender-disability (CGD) friendly facilities, dignified menstruation management and financial feasibility are key issues in WASH regarding GEDSI. WASH services need to move beyond technical solutions towards a more GEDSI oriented approach that considers existing unequal power relations between men and women, including between persons with and without disabilities and between social groups. It is important to follow up on how these inequalities influence access to resources and participation in decision-making processes.
Mainstreaming GEDSI in SUSWA requires a systematic analysis of power relations between genders, persons with and without disabilities, and Dalit and other cast people as an example and the intersectionality of these different systems of oppression. It means a systematic commitment to promote equal participation, decision-making roles and access to services in all actions of SUSWA. It also requires, at minimum, a systematic collection and use of sex and disability disaggregated data (disability disaggregation shall be carried out by using the best available methodology – the Washington Group Short set of questions).
GESI is considered in various policies, strategies, and action plans at the national level, for instance in Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Operational Guidelines by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in 2013. The objective of these guidelines is “to ensure that a gender and social inclusion responsive approach is adopted in MoUD and monitored accordingly. It also wants to ensure that GESI issues are addressed and institutionalised throughout the whole project life cycle in all infrastructure-based project interventions. There are guidelines for mainstreaming GESI in different sectors: institutional level arrangements, project cycle steps, WASH and in the building, construction, housing and urban development (BCHUD) sector. The Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens has developed a Gender Equality Policy that will be applicable throughout the country. Due to the federal structure and the new Constitution, several policies on GEDSI/HRBA are being developed both at local and central levels and they are taken into account in SUSWA.
It is essential that SUSWA will integrate HRBA/GEDSI strategies and action plans in all plans and manuals as well as in the manual for step-by-step process for water supply schemes for ensuring systematic, inclusive planning and implementation processes at local levels. The integrated strategies, action plans, and manual(s) should be based besides on the existing materials and lessons learnt of the RWSSP-WN and RVWRMP, also on baseline study results on unreached population and marginalised groups in the project area (conducted in the inception period) as well as on the fact that SUSWA’s focus is slightly different compared to the previous projects. During the inception period SUSWA prepared a desk review covering gender, social inclusion and disability for developing a Nepal and Karnali specific strategy for addressing inequality and exclusion in project implementation. During the implementation of SUSWA, further studies analysing the norms and root causes of discriminatory practices will be conducted to monitor progress towards transformative change. Through implementation and adoption of the strategy, an environment, in which all community members including women, disadvantaged castes, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and other socially excluded have equitable opportunities to pursue their right to water and sanitation can be created. SUSWA must also integrate HRBA/GEDSI in the local government’s planning cycle by ensuring inclusive planning at all levels. Similarly, advocacy and all types of awareness raising to change attitudes and behaviour are continuously necessary.
SUSWA will focus on strengthening the human rights/social model of disability, which stresses the role of duty bearers and authorities to take measures to remove all barriers (physical, social communication related) to ensure that persons with disabilities, including from rural areas and indigenous or Dalit backgrounds have access to human rights and basic services as well as equal participation. For the purposes of SUSWA , the project adopts a functional capacity approach by which it can approach the concept of disability by identifying persons that have serious limitations in their physical and sensory or self-care related functioning capacity using the Washington Group questionnaire.
The shifting focus from building new schemes to repair/rehabilitation/reconstruction can bring different challenges when considering social inclusion. Attention should also be paid on climate change, gender, and marginalised groups nexus, e.g., how climate change will affect quality, functionality and sustainability of WASH and what implications it can have on women and marginalised groups. The intersectionality of gender, disability and caste must be considered by SUSWA throughout implementation, e.g., by providing clear guidelines for inclusion in project manuals. Continuous advocacy and all types of awareness raising to change attitudes and behaviour related to social inclusion issues are also necessary. The checklist in Annex 3 describes the incorporation of human rights in this Project Document.
Building on the Human Rights Based Approach, and in line with Finland’s development policy and international treaties ratified by Nepal, GESI with a focus on disability inclusion and climate resilience are important crosscutting considerations in SUSWA, governing the design and implementation of the project and thus ensuring sustainability and that those most marginalized are included and contribute throughout.
Nepal and Finland have both sanctioned and created national strategies and action plans in line with the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of “Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Gender equality, non-discrimination with a specific focus on persons with disabilities (PwDs), climate resilience, low-emission development and protection of the environment with emphasis on safeguarding biodiversity are crosscutting objectives in Finland’s development cooperation policy.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland (MFA) encourages integration of these objectives through two main strategies, also applied by the project:
- Mainstreaming, which means recognizing that cross‐cutting objectives have a central role in human rights‐based reduction of poverty and integrating them at all levels into planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities. In addition, this means seeking opportunities to promote positive change and policy dialogue and influencing, integrating the objectives into discussions and communications at all levels.
- Undertaking targeted actions, supplementing the above with separate activities if mainstreaming alone does not bring about sufficient impacts.
The cross-cutting objectives in SUSWA will be integrated and mainstreamed throughout the project: as part of all output areas and each stage of the project. The cross-cutting objectives, as well as the intersectionality of gender equality, disability inclusion and climate resilience require consideration at every level, from training and guidelines provided to the PSU, Municipalities and WUSCs, with policy dialogue being carried out at local government level but also at provincial, national and international level. The WUSCs will in particular be a gateway for mainstreaming SUSWA’s cross-cutting objectives at scheme and user level, with the WSP+++ also functioning as a specific tool for targeting both climate resilience and inclusion.
Further, it is recognized that ‘inclusive targeting’ is required if women, people with disabilities, poor and other groups in disadvantaged position are to gain equitable access to resources, services and opportunities, as well as to ensure climate resilience of water sources and communities’ water supply. Further, targeted activities are required for specific needs that prevent well-being and inclusivity of all, such as harmful practices related to menstrual taboos and disability. Therefore, there are outputs and indicators specifically targeting cross-cutting objectives, e.g., output 1.4 on gender and disability-responsive laws, plans and budgets, output 3.3 on DMM and Chhaupadi (see more in chapter 5.3). SUSWA’s cross-cutting objectives will be furthered especially through networks formed under outcome area 1, with Gender Equality (GE), disability, CCA and DRR to be covered by the strategic partnerships and initiatives between SUSWA supported WASH programme and other actors working in Karnali province.
FUNCTIONALITY & POST CONSTRUCTION SUSWA's sustainable approach
After successful completion of the water scheme implementation, the full life-cycle sustainability of the facilities, during the post-construction phase is based on the following pillars:
- the capacity of WUSCs for sustaining O&M of the infrastructures (ref. part 3.3 above),
- a support and back-up mechanism, which municipalities will carry out when necessary to help communities overcome major breakdowns and restore the functionality of water systems.
Key components for the post-construction phase are as follows;
- Water Safety Plan +++ Formulation, Implementation and Monitoring (with CCA/DRR component, O&M and water tariff collection, and inclusion),
- Use of mobile App and other self-reporting digital tools by WUSCs
- WUSC leadership in the development of O&M plan and its execution for scheme sustainability
- Continuous monitoring of functionality standards from municipality and support to WUSCs; that includes:
- Capacity enhancement in O&M,
- Dedicated human resource, monitoring breakdowns and facilitating solutions (Post-construction focal person)
- Data management system, linked to the N-WASH platform, that collects and tracks functionality status in communities,
- Available budget resources for O&M and clearly defined rules/mechanism to timely fund WUSCs in need
- Result-based incentives for good performances that comply with standards.
Municipality’s role in post-implementation is detailed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between municipalities and DWSSM, together with the support to the spare-parts chain and result-based incentives that will be integrated into the O&M budget line that Palikas will open under the M-WASH Fund.
O&M and the role of municipalities in supporting the functionality of the water systems include:
- during applications and planning, an MoU is signed comprising obligations to set up O&M budget line in the municipal budget;
- O&M technician is hired/trained in charge of:
- NWASH inventory update,
- registering licenses,
- monitor functionality through calls and sensors,
- provide help as needed,
- survey and prepare technical and cost estimations for repairs as needed,
- request to mobilize municipal funds and support repairs.;
- NWASH system is updated and sensors are monitored;
- the routine functionality status of water systems is checked.
In particular municipalities will monitor the post-construction functionality by looking at the following indicators:
|Continuity (Number of interruption events)||Not more than 1 interruption event in one month||Not more than 1 interruption event in three months||Water tank sensor data analyzed by post-construction focal person in the M-WASH unit|
|Resiliency (service restoration period)||
Service restored in
|Service restored in 1 day|
Breakdowns longer than the restoring expected time will be followed up by the post-construction focal person who will call WUSC and facilitate solutions.
The following capacity building and governance-related activities will also be carried out to improve the post-implementation phase:
- Public Audit and Post Construction seminar at scheme level;
- WSP+++ monitoring and yearly update;
- Scheme Sustainability Workshop at Municipality/Rural Municipality Level;
- WASH Governance Workshop at Municipality/Rural Municipality Level;
- Functionality and Sustainability Workshop at Province Level (to design the O&M support system and to discuss the role of the province government).
- Yearly update of the N-WASH system.
For larger sized schemes and yard connection type of the schemes, utility management training will be conducted to the WUSC officials and key staff of the WUSC. A detailed description of the activities and implementation procedure is presented in the Post Construction Manual of the Project
Where we work
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.
Taking into account that the financial and human resources are limited and there are some other actors developing WASH in Karnali, SUSWA has defined its working area (i.e., partner municipalities) in collaboration with other stakeholders. The selection of municipalities has been based on the main criteria of non-overlapping with other major WASH interventions in the province (USAID, WB, FCDO, FWSSMP, Helvetas), to avoid duplication of planning and workload in Municipalities. Based on this criterion, 37 Palikas in Karnali have been excluded from baseline data collection. The SUSWA project intends to collaborate with all Urban and Rural Municipalities in Karnali Region that are currently not receiving WASH support from any major development partners. 42 Municipalities will be the main implementer of the projects together with the communities in these municipalities.
The list of the Palikas eligible to become partner of the SUSWA project area is showed below.
Who we are
Chief Technical Advisor
Chief Administrative and Finance Officer
Monitoring and Evaluation & Coordination specialist
Sanitation & Hygiene Specialist
Non-discrimination & Behaviour Change Specialist
Climate Change Specialist
Account Monitoring Officer
Account Monitoring Officer 2
SUSWA WASH ADVISORS & current municipalities
Who we work with
iDE, International Development Enterprises, and NEWAH, Nepal Water for Health, have been added as sub-contractor of the TA and will support the PSU in the following fields:
At the national level, SUSWA needs to closely coordinate with other WASH sector actors and be active in sector dialogue, exchanging experiences and, when possible, participating in the formulation of different WASH sector policies and guidelines. There is a Donor Coordination Group in WASH sector, which is the platform to ensure smooth information flows and timely exchange of information, experiences, and plans. The Embassy of Finland participates in the Donor Coordination Group and is the link between the projects and the forum. SUSWA is also a member of the National Menstrual Hygiene Management Partnership Alliance.