Govinda Rokaya, SUSWA Sanitation & Hygiene Specialist, participated in World Water Week 2023, representing SUSWA in both a session on Sanitation innovation as well as at the Finnish Water Way booth. Please find Govinda’s reflections on the background of SUSWA’s participation in WWW and his experience by scrolling down.
You can watch the recording of the SUSWA session at World Water Week 20.8.2023 (without the breakout rooms) below. The presentations and videos showed during the session are also below.
This session showcased how the Sustainable WASH for All (SUSWA) project is overcoming sanitation challenges by supporting strengthening of the supply chain, innovative technology options, and promoting low-cost solutions that can be carried for days on mountain trails. Hear first-hand experiences from interventions based on the Sanitation in Complex Operational Environments (SCORE) methodology designed by iDE and the challenges of reaching SDG 6 in the Karnali province in western Nepal.
find the Www presentation in PDF format here
Written by Govinda Rokaya, Sanitation & Hygiene Specialist at SUSWA.
Background: SUSWA Sanitation initiative with iDE
Sustainable WASH for All (SUSWA) is a bilateral project from the government of Nepal and the government of Finland with co-funding from the European Union. The project is being implemented by the local governments in collaboration with the targeted communities in the Karnali province of Nepal.
SUSWA intends to have improved and equitable access to safe and sustainable drinking water and adequate sanitation services as well as dignified menstruation and improved hygiene practices.
Sanitation (and to some extent hygiene), is one of the most spoken of and intervened in sectors in the last decade in Nepal. Due to the coordinated and collaborating efforts from all sector agencies including the government of Nepal, development partners, the private sector, and communities, Nepal was able to declare as Open Defecation Free (ODF) in September 2019 as the first nation in South Asia. However, after the declaration of ODF, Nepal lost momentum due to several reasons, including but not limited to, the state restructuring and associated process, shifting focus to other infrastructure sectors, and not having proper policies and instrumental set-ups at different levels of government. The latest Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) has revealed that there has been widened slippage after ODF. The slippage of 5% has been reported by the National Population Census 2021 of Nepal as well. The baseline that was conducted by SUSWA in 2022 in 42 local governments of Karnali revealed that 11% of households in Karnali reported not having toilets and 17% have temporary toilets. As the sanitation situation from the ground was alarming, iDE Nepal was engaged with the aim of conducting a deeper study to research the barriers to sanitation and hygiene and to come up with recommendations from a market-based approach perspective. The deep dive report stated that some of the key barriers are the difficulty of transportation, low level of awareness, not having proper sanitation markets, unavailability of the products and not having skilled human resources.
Based on the findings and recommendations from the deep dive report, SUSWA together with iDE intervened in testing some of the user-friendly, portable, and scalable sanitation options followed by the identification of the sanitation markets, mason’s training, coordination meeting with the local suppliers and local governments, the establishment of the supply outlets and lastly the product introduction and interaction meeting with the producers, importers.
As SUSWA’s initiatives to address the issues have been uncovered by the sanitation deep dive report has been effective, the concept to share in the world water week 2023 was developed and it was approved.
SUSWA objectives for participating in World Water Week
SUSWA has framed its initiatives to address the key issues around sanitation through market-based solutions which will contribute to improving the access to sanitation. As a market-based approach to Sanitation has not been taken in Nepal before, this approach can be considered explorative and innovative. The theme of World Water Week 2023 is innovation, and SUSWA proposal to share and discuss the SUSWA, iDE, and local government pilot was accepted.
Apart from sharing about the initiative and inviting questions and comments from other WASH professionals, World Water Week provided the opportunity for me as SUSWA Sanitation & Hygiene Specialist to build relationships and networks with others working in sanitation to ensure SUSWA is incorporating all the latest practices and lessons learned from around the world as SUSWA enters the second year of implementation and refines its Total Sanitation approach.
Key takeaways from World Water Week
Participating inWorld Water Week 2023 itself was a great opportunity for me to share the initiatives that have been piloted which were based on the sanitation deep dive study and the recommendations by iDE. As World Water Week 2023 had participants from more than 150 countries from academia, development agencies, government agencies, and community groups it offers a unique and distinct opportunity to share, meet, and build relations as well. The key takeaways from my participation are:
• Working for market-based solutions in the context of Nepal is something new for many, and WWW participants shared they were interested in coordinating and collaborating further.
• There were some sessions that were very participatory and consultative which really helped to open up my mind to think beyond what agencies have been normally thinking. Some of the sessions I attended were framed around the themes that really need to have a proper constellation of the issues and actors. This is relevant as the deeper we think and ensure the analysis or constellation of the issues and the actors the better and lasting solutions can be generated. The agencies should put priority on analyzing the context and situation deeply rather than making quick fixes from an external mindset.
• There are many initiatives going on by different agencies around the world and it is always beneficial to work with the relevant agencies. For instance, LIXIL Japan is a private company dedicated to contributing to increased and improved access to sanitation to realize the SDG targets. It has come up with different solutions such as SaTo (Safe Toilet) range of products with scalable, portable, and cost-effective features, which proved to be popular in Karnali during the pilot. SaTo/LIXIL is dedicated and willing to work on the new contextualized designs with different foundations, development partners, and host countries. There is good scope to work with different relevant agencies in GEDSI, CCA, DRR, and youth engagement.
• There are no quick fixes and one type fixes for the diverse solutions. In fact, the solutions are contextualized. Efforts are always required to develop and build for proper database, with information as evidence and there is a need to develop and strengthen the government leadership to sustain the results.
• There is already a lot of knowledge repository in some of the sectors such as water quality, sanitation, hygiene, MHM, school WASH, GEDSI which can be referenced and used. However, there is a need to contextualize and localize the knowledge to fit with the local context. There are already good networks such as Susana.org, Toilet Board Coalition, and other networks that can be coordinated and collaborated for sharing and getting the knowledge.
World Water Week does not only promote the water theme but deals with and talks about the themes that intersect with the water such as people’s participation with special consideration for indigenous people’s participation, rights and practices, promoting accountability and responsiveness, working in the Himalayas for climate resilient WASH services, building future with the WASH and environment-friendly schools.
Govinda in one of the in-person session With Mikaela, SUSWA Home Office Coordinator from Niras Finland, and other Finnish team members at the Finnish booth at WWW.