Rapid progress in sanitation coverage slowed down after 2015. Households belonging to the last mile were proving difficult to reach. Sanitation triggering initiatives failed to inspire improvements in sanitation. Some families were still expecting subsidies to construct their own toilets. In 2015, the Salyan district was the only district out of five that had not achieved Open-Defecation-Free (ODF) status in the Rapti zone (Province 6).
Together with our implementing partner PASS Nepal, I approached the Water Supply and Sanitation Divisional Office in search of other means to take sanitation forward in Salyan. During a meeting with representatives from FM radio stations, the idea of the “Hello Charpi” (Hello Toilet) call-in radio campaign was born.
To prepare for the campaign, PASS Nepal collected the contact details of all households in the district who did not have a toilet. With the permission of households, their contact details were then shared to the programme host of the Hello Charpi call-in radio campaign.
During these call-ins, the programme host chatted with the household head. As a long-standing media personality, the host successfully created an engaging environment for lively discussions to take place. As chats progressed, he would then dive into the importance of toilets for the betterment of health and trigger the community's pride. The host also provided information about affordable toilet options, and where could these be purchased in the market. The conversation would then end with a commitment shared with a public audience. A commitment that the family would construct a toilet within a few weeks. Weeks after the interviews, PASS Nepal field staff would then visit households to follow-up on their commitment.
From December 2015 to April 2016, 'Hello Charpi' was a 45-minute radio segment aired three times a week. It hosted three to four interviews per segment. A total of 240 households were engaged over the phone. As a result of these live interviews, over a four-month period, an additional 1,200 households from eight VDCs (Village Development Committees) felt inspired to build their own latrines.
By mid-2016, the people of Salyan were proudly living in an ODF-certified district.
Photo by Barthy Bonhomme from Pexels