A Community Effort Towards Better Health
A community was known as Hey Mizar Tole of Indrawati rural municipality ward no. 7 of Sindhupalchowk district, was known as one of the poor, unhygienic, and unhealthy communities in the area. Built together by the 19 households, the majority of them belonging to Janajati community were devastated by the earthquake destroying a maximum number of houses in the area. At present, the destroyed houses have been constructed as per the standards of the Government of Nepal. Agriculture and animal husbandry performed in a traditional way is one of the primary sources of income for this community which is unable to sustain the household expenses says the only source of income of this community is performed only through local residents of the area Bish Maya Tamang. As there is no other way of income in this community, many people have migrated to foreign employment.
There were many problems in this community, the major problem being clean and safe drinking water along with associated sanitation and hygiene issues. Waste management is another problem, Hey Mizar Tole had been bearing the consequences of poor sanitation in terms of not only infrastructure but behavior and practices as well that created a source of contaminated water, a risk factor for epidemic diseases, especially for children and poor people resulting in an unsafe environment for everyone residing in there.
In order to work towards declaring the community as a healthy community SEBAC-Nepal approached the community not only with a single message (build and use toilets/ construction of water supply scheme etc), but with comprehensive health and hygiene interventions. Community engagement started with the promotion of individual level, household level, and environmental sanitation which has placed automatically an emphasis on the participation of every household in the community. Doing this made the ASHA project one of its kind that talks to communities about their lifestyles, health, livelihoods, and dignity, rather than just about one or two interventions.
The community’s commitment to comply with indicators for being a healthy community has been fulfilled. The community now has clean and safe drinking water through a drinking water supply system at their home yard constructed by SEBAC-Nepal. Moreover, they have filters established in their house and are well acquainted with other methods of water purification before drinking. The members of this community now have well-constructed improvised and clean toilets which are connected to safe and well-covered septic tanks. Similarly, the households have maintained hand washing stations and hence have been washing their hands with soap and water. With different awareness programs through FCHVs, women's networks, mothers' groups etc. All the household has been keeping their kitchens neat and clean. Along with this, they have been keeping their home yards clean with proper disposal of their household waste (solid and liquid waste). Moreover, they have utilized the wastewater in a productive way by using it as a source of irrigation and growing vegetables out of it. All these efforts to keep each household clean have ultimately supported keeping the whole community clean.
‘I had a chance to learn about kitchen gardening through the ASHA project. Now, I have utilized the knowledge by starting kitchen gardening on my own. I am happy that I grow vegetables for my family and sometimes earn by selling surplus vegetables in the community only. This happened because SEBAC-Nepal not only provided training but constructed a drinking water scheme in my community. I have used the surplus and wastewater for irrigating my kitchen garden and that’s how I am able to improve productivity.
Hey Mizar Tole
"This is the village where my in-laws live. I didn't even want to come to the village earlier because of the environment here, which I must say was very disgusting. I don’t believe that the project ASHA implemented by SEBAC-Nepal has given this place a new identity again. Now, I can call this my in-laws' village in a very proud way. I would like to thank SEBAC-Nepal and all the staff associated with this program for all their support in bringing about not only the physical changes but the behavioral changes in each household of the community.”
Bir Bahadur Tamang
Former Ward Chairperson
These recent programs on behavioral change regarding clean water, hygiene, and sanitation have increased enthusiasm and participation in developing healthy initiatives for members of each age group. After seeing a significant increase in participation, we can now say that the practices that they have incorporated into their daily lives are going to be an inevitable part of their lives.