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Nepal: Trainees Share Their Stories, Part One

28 July 2015

Sindhupalchok was swiftly identified by the Nepalese authorities as one of the districts worst affected by the earthquake of April 25th. Over 1800 people died. According to some estimates, 80% of houses in the district were destroyed. Water and sanitation structures collapsed or were severely damaged, making water-related diseases a very real threat. With this in mind, RedR provided organisations working in the district with training in safe latrine construction and hygiene promotion. A few weeks later, we caught up with trainees to see how they are using their new skills to help their communities build back better.
Madan Sapkota of MANKMadan Sapkota, a Technician at MANK, attended a one-day training session on Building Safer Latrines.
"Before the earthquake, Nepal was on the right track towards the eradication of open defecation, or Open Defecation Freedom (ODF)," he explains. "The target was mid-2015. However, the earthquake disrupted the process." Indeed, thanks to a government scheme to combat the phenomenon of open defecation, most of the households in Sindhupalchok had toilets - but the majority were damaged or destroyed when the earthquake struck.
"We were facing difficulties in rebuilding toilets as we were not aware of the technicalities of construction," says Madan. "RedR's training has helped us immensely, and we can now build safer and better toilets. I was very impressed by the methods that were taught, including tying bamboo, using tarpaulin and creating ventilation."
Nita Joshi of the Nepalese Red CrossNita Joshi, a Supervisor with the Nepalese Red Cross, also attended the training. "After the earthquake most of the households in my VDC (Village Development Committee) had moved in to tents," she explains. "At that time we were constructing temporary toilets by just digging pits. Initially there was no objection. But within a few days, people living close to the toilet spots started complaining about the foul smell and the possible spread of germs. Many of the residents displayed symptoms of the common cold. In Chautara 7, there was a diarrhoea epidemic. 
With RedR, I learnt about deeper digging, creating proper ventilation and the idea of using a siphon. I am highly impressed by the techniques I learnt. I am also now fully aware of gender-based differences in needs with regard to toilets."
"Our fear is that once the supply of material stops, it will be difficult for us to build toilets," says Madan. "It already feels like we will not receive support and supply for long. However, during the training we acquired knowledge that we will carry with us over several years."

Please note that the above texts have been translated from Nepali. Our thanks to RedR India. 

- Read Part Two of our trainee stories
Find out more about RedR's response to the earthquakes
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