Handle With Care International are proud to announce a partnership with The Britain-Nepal Medical Trust, to deliver vital services to those affected in Nepal after the earthquake that hit Kathmandu on April 25th, 2015. BNMT’s history and experience in Nepal makes them an ideal partner, providing aid advice and local expertise, which are invaluable for providing sustainable solutions to those affected by the devastating earthquake.
The money raised by Handle With Care International will go directly to the building of ‘gender-friendly’ toilet blocks in the affected areas – providing sanitation and security where it is urgently needed.
BNMT provided the following information around these toilet blocks, and describes why there is such an important need for these facilities:
At the time of the massive earthquake on the 25th of April, there were an estimated 5 million people residing in the three towns in Kathmandu valley. The Kathmandu valley consists of three districts, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. As of 6 May, 2015, the earthquake had claimed 1202 lives in Kathmandu district with 4634 injured. In the old city of Bhaktapur, 313 deaths had been reported with more than 1800 injured. The death toll in Lalitpur has reached 173. The number of casualties is expected to rise by the end of search and rescue operations at the end of this week. In the aftermath of the earthquake, thousands of people have been forced to sleep in temporary shelters in clusters where proper sanitation facilities are not available. Most areas are crowded and the living situation for many families is awful. Having lost their houses, people are sleeping in makeshift shelters and are using the backyard and open spaces for defecation. Lack of toilets, water and disinfectants has made the situation even more difficult for those that have lost their family members, homes and belongings in the earthquake.
The lack of proper sanitation facilities means that there is a big threat of the spread of diarrhoeal and other infectious diseases. A rapid assessment conducted by BNMT following the earthquake shows massive practice of open defecation in these most affected areas. In addition to the issue of sanitation and hygiene, we know from earlier work we have undertaken that there is a real need to address gender in toilet/sanitary provision. The security, privacy and dignity of women, girls and children is a big challenge, particularly in the stressed environments that many are currently living in. The chances of sexual harassment are also quite high in this situation.
BNMT assessment shows that some relief agencies have set up temporary toilets in the earthquake affected clusters. However, they are insufficient or not sustainable in the long term since these will only be in operation in the short term (one to two months) while reconstruction of houses are expected to take a year or more. There is an urgent need for construction of adequate gender friendly community toilets in densely populated areas that have been hard hit by the earthquake to ensure proper sanitation.
The security, privacy and dignity of women, girls and children is a big challenge, particularly in the stressed environments that many are currently living in. The chances of sexual harassment are also quite high in this situation.
Assessing this situation, BNMT proposes to construct gender friendly toilets in 10 locations in Kathmandu valley. With the exception of one unit, all the other units will be built in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts.One of first areas for this intervention is planned in Bungamati Village Development Committee (VDC) in Lalitpur district, which is about 10 kilometres from the city centre. Bungamati is a densely populated rural town where almost 80% of the houses have been either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Fomerly a picturesque village known for its 16th century temple where old traditions are still followed. The community who are – in the most Newar, practice a mix of Buddhist and Hindu religions. Bungamati lies in ruins today.
There is one existing public toilet in the village centre, which had been constructed some years back. However, the scale of the devastation in the village has meant that additional toilet facilities are required. As per the latest census report, an estimated 5,966 individuals are residing in Bungamati village. Out of these, around 40 per cent (2,985) are women, who will be direct beneficiaries of the ‘gender friendly’ toilets.
The new toilet will have two sections; separate for males and female. Each gender section will have separate compartments – one for defecation and one for urinal purposes. Key members of the community will be oriented on the use and management of the community toilets. BNMT will work together with the village committee in setting up a toilet user committee, which will then take over the operationalisation and the upkeep of the toilet after it is handed over to the committee. The local community will be mobilised for the construction of the toilet so that there is a sense of ownership. This is really important to ensure that the facility remains clean, usable and acceptable for local people.
You can help us fund multiples of this prototype – community run, gender sensitive toilet facilities which will protect women from harassment and the community from outbreaks of disease.
Based on calculations on existing market prices, one toilet with two compartments for each gender (@ four toilet compartments) with a running water source and a toilet user committee (essential to ensure the facility is kept clean and functional) is expected to cost approximately 2000 each.
– Shobhana Gurung Pradhan (Director, BNMT)