I feel honoured to have been part of a unique era : Nadira

Nepal ODF Declaration is at the last stage. PM KP Oli will declare Nepal as the first ODF nation of South Asia this Monday. SNV Nepal has played a huge role in the sanitation campaign of Nepal. Chetan Rai from WASH Khabar has taken an interview with SNV’s WASH Sector Leader Nadira Khawaja on the contributions made by SNV in the ODF campaign and its commitment towards total sanitation.

Nepal is going to be declared ODF. How do you recall SNV’s contribution for this movement?

SNV has been part of this campaign from the beginning since 2008 through its Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) program that was funded by the Governments of Netherlands, Australia, and United Kingdom across 17 districts in the mountains, hills, and terai.  SNV has been working in over 300 VDCs and, in partnership with 15 local NGOs, SNV has supported 240 VDCs to achieve ODF.  Importantly, from the very beginning, SNV supported the government to lead and implement district-wide approaches for achieving ODF.


What were the key challenges SNV faced during the movement?

Nepal has been an inspiration for me.  I feel honored to have been part of a unique era and this has been a very special time in my life. 

  • Getting all stakeholders to be active in DWASHCC and work together in coordination and aligned approach (government stakeholders, political parties, local government, NGOs etc)
  • Lack of access to supplies and materials to remote areas and less skills of masons to make quality toilets
  • Awareness about sanitation and hygiene and how to make facilities that all people in a family can use (including elderly, pregnant women, member with a disability)


After ODF declaration (Sep 30) no extra effort is needed to construct toilets, how can SNV contribute for total sanitation? What is the plan for total sanitation?

SNV has been supporting the move towards Total Sanitation at the community (cluster level) since 2014, first in Kalikot and Jumla, followed by Rukum and Salyan, and later in Surkhet, Dailekh, Rolpa, Saptari, and Siraha.  As part of ODF work, we already focused on sustaining behavior of toilet use and adopting behavior of handwashing with soap after defecation.  Therefore, for total sanitation, we expanded our behavior change communication (BCC) work to include all other behaviours of Total Sanitation.  We are currently supporting selected rural municipalities in Siraha, Saptari, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Dhanusha and Bara to understand and plan for Total Sanitation.


There was a master plan for ODF declaration. Is there a similar master plan for total sanitation?

The indicators for total sanitation are clearly given in the master plan (2011).  A national guideline for Total Sanitation was developed and endorsed in 2015/16 and shared with all stakeholders.  We have used that guideline and made simple formats to help orient local governments on Total Sanitation.


At last, the country is going to be declared ODF, what messages you want to give to all stakeholders who contributed for ODF.

Nepal has been an inspiration for me.  I feel honored to have been part of a unique era and this has been a very special time in my life.  I have learnt so much from so many people (government officials, community people, NGO staff, SNV staff, local champions)!  I would like to congratulate each and every one on the incredible work they have done and wish them to continue in the same way!

You can get more details on this via the link: http://www.snv.org/update/how-no-subsidy-approach-spurred-countrys-sanitation-coverage)


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