As part of the Australian Government’s Water for Women Fund, SNV has entered a new phase of collaboration with the governments of Nepal, Bhutan and Lao PDR, and the Institute of Sustainable Futures (ISF). Our partnership seeks to achieve equitable and universal access to safely-managed sanitation and hygiene in seven districts in Bhutan and Lao PDR, and to sustain rural water supply services in a further two districts in Nepal; setting in place the mechanisms needed to look “Beyond the Finish Line.” Excitingly, the Fund seeks to “raise the bar in terms of gender and socially inclusive analysis, design and program delivery in WASH”.
Beyond the Finish Line
Taking districts “Beyond the Finish Line” means celebrating the increasing number of open defecation free (ODF) areas, but also planning for the next steps to sustain and build on new hygienic behaviours and sustainable service models, with a focus on ensuring that no one is left behind — regardless of identity and capability. Read more about how we understand Beyond the Finish Line, and how we plan to achieve this.
In Bhutan, we’ve been supporting the Ministry of Health’s national Rural Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene Programme (RSAHP) since 2008. The RSAHP has already reached half the country’s 20 districts. To date, RSAHP has resulted to a 99% improvement in access and usage in an increasing number of districts. To double outreach across four underserved districts, we are strengthening government and our partners’ focus on quality and attention to disadvantaged groups in leveraging political commitments, and introducing decentralised and cost-sharing mechanisms. Responding to emerging issues, RSAHP looks beyond the finish line by safely managing sanitation services and universal access for all, strengthening emerging civil society organisations’ (CSOs) capacity in the WASH sector, and investing in women’s leadership and institutional change. Learn more about our SSH4A programme in Bhutan.
In Lao PDR
With the Savannakhet Province in Lao PDR, and in partnership with the Ministry of Health, CARE, Gender Development Association, and the technical assistance of IRC and ISF, we will capitalise on our earlier progress as part of the SSH4A programme. Our work in Lao PDR includes facilitating the meaningful participation of disadvantaged groups – including women who belong to ethnic minorities and people living with disabilities – in the full spectrum of safe management of sanitation services at home and in public spaces (e.g., schools and health care facilities): planning, implementation and quality monitoring. Learn more about our SSH4A programme in Lao PDR.
With the country moving towards ODF and further to total sanitation, water supply has started lagging behind. Although Nepal has a high coverage of water supply (87%), only 25% of those systems is fully functional; as per national monitoring indicators. The burden of poor hygiene and water lies disproportionately with women/ girls, poor, low-caste and ethnic minority groups.
In the context of Nepal’s federal system of government, we will make use of the opportunities offered by decentralisation to develop inclusive, sustainable and resilient rural water supply services and hygiene behaviour change communication for households, schools, and health facilities. SNV will engage with newly-formed local bodies in the country to address gender and social inclusion within WASH governance, water supply service systems, and hygiene promotion in both gravity-fed and groundwater areas. Learn more about the Water for Women-supported "Inclusive and sustainable rural water supply services in Nepal project."
 In banner photo: Sanitation planning in Bhutan's Lhuntse district [photo by Aidan Dockery].
 Bhutan, Lao PDR and Nepal are three of the nineteen countries that have adopted elements of SNV's Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) approach. During this year -- 2018 -- and with our partners in government, civil society, the academe, and the private sector, we are celebrating TEN years of making a difference in sanitation and hygiene. Watch this SSH4A space for more updates on what we have achieved as a collective, and what steps we could all take for an SSH4A-guaranteed future.