The number of people living below the poverty line in Nepal has decreased from 42% in 1996 to 31% in 2004. However, the caste system means that these figures do not reflect reality for many Nepalis; poverty has reduced by 46% for the highest castes but by just 5% for Muslims. Women and girls often fare even worse.
In the rural areas of the Baglung District in Western Nepal, poverty is extreme. This means that sanitation is very poor and as a result infant death rates are high, children frequently have to miss school and adults often cannot work. In early 2010, a project was launched to improve sanitation in the district by the construction of individual toilets for 200 families.
In order to make the project sustainable families were provided with materials and training in toilet construction and then built the toilets themselves under supervision. 1,000 people were also provided with training in hygiene and how to maintain the toilets. Funding became very tight during completion because of the economic crisis. Changes in exchange rates coupled with drastic increases in the cost of cement in Nepal meant that only 185 toilets could be completed. However, Bhimapokhara Yuva Club who were carrying out the project in Nepal contributed enough to finish the remaining 15 toilets.
The people of Baglung District are extremely grateful for the toilets that are built to a good standard and will last for at least 10 years. One father said, “we no longer have to be embarrassed when we go to the toilet. What’s more, the general health of the people in the area is greatly improved and children can now spend more time at school and adults at work”.
Date of Project: January 2011 / Beneficiaries: 1,000