Bhagiya Chaudhary in fornt of her newly constructed toilet


Bhagiya Chaudhary lives in Ward No. 7, Thapapur village, of Kailali district with her son, daughter-in-law, grandson, and granddaughter. Bhagiya takes care of her grandchildren. Her son and daughter-in-law are away from home for work.


Since 2014, USAID’s Safe WASH II Activity has operated in Thapapur. Under a district level campaign for Open Defecation Free (ODF) areas, the community started constructing individual toilets rapidly. However, Bhagiya was not keen on constructing atoilet, even though she was wellaware of its importance. Convincing her to build and use a toilet at her house took considerable time and efforts. Project staff and community leaders met her several times and tried to convince her to construct a toilet soon. Yet, she made no response nor took any action.

On another front,  the  ODF  campaign  geared  up  and  involved  local  schools. The schools emphasized the need to construct toilets through students who conveyed the messages to their parents. Students who had toilets  at  home  were  praised  for  their  sanitation  and  hygiene practices.

This  technique  reached  Bhagiya’s  grandchildren,  who  shared   their  learning with their grandmother. She still appeared indifferent to their  request.  Soon,  they  insisted  that  they  would  not  go  to  school  unless  they  could  report  that  they  had  a  toilet  at  home.  They  stopped  going   to   school   and   threatened   that   they   would   not   sit   for   their   exams.

During   one   of   the   door-to-door  visits,   project   staff   visited  Bhagiya and explained the benefits of having a toilet at  home  and  the  importance  of  hygiene  and  sanitation.  Feeling  the  pressure  from  all  sides,  she  finally  changed  her  mind.  Bhagiya  constructed  a  toilet  in       five days and started using it. Her grandchildren resumed school and also use the toilet regularly.

“I was stubborn. I had decided that I would never build a toilet at home but my grandchildren opened my eyes and made me realize its importance. I have also realized that one needs determination first to build a toilet,” Bhagiya says. “Better late than never! Having a toilet at home has made our life easier and healthy.”