Friday, 19 February 2010

Together we can make a difference

Shikha Shrestha
WaterAid Nepal

Shikha is helping to coordinate the World’s Longest Toilet Queue across Nepal. Here she shares why and how Nepal will be joining the Queue in March.

Despite an abundance of water resources in Nepal, a quarter of the population does not have access to safe drinking water. Worse still is the sanitation situation: nearly half of the total population is forced to defecate openly. This reality has a devastating consequence for health: last summer, there was disastrous diarrhoeal outbreak in Jajarkot and remote districts of the country that killed 315 people and affected a further 47,000. We cannot allow this to happen again, so we are supporting the global campaign The World Longest Toilet Queue. We will show solidarity with the people who are still waiting for a toilet, and use the opportunity to pressure policy influencers to increase their commitment in addressing the sanitation crisis.

We see the campaign as a way to mobilize the masses to influence political leaders. In Nepal, the End Water Poverty campaign Nepal, Freshwater Action Network Nepal and WASH Chapter in Nepal have joined forces. We’ve held joint communication and planning meetings for a central event in Kathmandu. Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari who has recently joined WaterAid Nepal as Country Representative, has been instrumental in extending partnerships and bringing more innovations.

In rural areas of the country, the campaign will focus on spreading the message of sanitation in culturally suitable ways. A local version of the main toolkit has been provided to support planning and The Federation of Water and Sanitation Users Group Nepal will also be involved here, as well as the Freshwater Action Network.

The big event in Kathmandu will be focused on making political impact. Political leaders will attend to share their commitment for combating the crisis. We’re building momentum for a whole month before – a new tactic. A series of articles will be printed in reputable national papers raising awareness of the crisis. Youth groups are involved and will bring their creativity to the campaign, including web 2.0 applications and online campaigning.

We’ve been brainstorming several fun events including a concert and drama productions – we’re being ambitious! As well as making a political impact, we want to make the campaign fun, so that people will remember it.

So plans will be finalized this week but it would be great if we can have your comments and suggestions to make our event even more influential. And wherever you are in the world, from rural Nepal to a city in Europe, we request you to join the queue because we are confident that together we can make a difference!


Uchenna Obiakor said...

thanks for all the efforts.
End water poverty Nigeria and Water Aid Nigeria and Municipal youth Vangaurd Nigeria is working on same. cheers

Maral Mirzai said...

Hi Serena!

We are two girls which are running a school project about water and sanitations.

We will organize a queue here in our Country Sweden in our city Borås (Boras).

We just have some questions about how we could make a good poster as possible, or if there is any template to follow?

Cheers Maral and Sima