In rural Bhutan, 33-year-old Ugyen Zangmo from Langzor village in Pemagatshel district is a female mason trained as part of SNV's Sustainable Sanitation & Hygiene for All programme and the national Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Programme.
The programme integrates sanitation demand creation, supply chain development, behaviour change communication and governance with a focus on gender and social inclusion. Using a range of strategies it aims to ensure that the needs of women and men from a range of social groups are taken into account and that effective participation and opportunities are promoted at all levels, including in promoting roles for women in sanitation supply chain activites in partnership with womens groups.
Ugyen Zangmo has not only built her own improved toilet, but has also so far provided support in toilet construction to four neighbouring households. As is generally the practice in rural Bhutan, she did not receive any cash payment from neighbours for her services, but received in-kind compensation through labour (equivalent USD 250). Ms Zangmo said she felt satisfied with the skills she had gained and would encourage other women to follow her example, as well as providing her own services in neighbouring villages. “Women can also do what men can, given the opportunity,” she said. “It is indeed very empowering”.