The project operates in Nepal’s Far-Western Region, where low access to water and sanitation facilities contributes to decreased socioeconomic development. In 2009, a cholera epidemic in the Farand Mid-Western regions claimed over 300 lives, spurring an increased focus on WASH in these areas. USAID/Nepal’s SAFE-WASH II project is designed to prevent such outbreaks and not only increase accessibility to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities but to also ensure it reaches the most vulnerable communities. This will improve public health and contribute to a heightened sense of dignity and cohesion in communities across Nepal.
The Safe-WASH II project will: improve sanitation status and hygiene behavior; enhance access to and the quality of drinking water; improve local governance and maintenance of WASH facilities; empower local women and socially excluded groups; and build the organizational capacity of USAID’s partner - Social Empowerment and Building Accessibility Centre Nepal (SEBAC). It will also empower women to support the reduction of repressive menstruation practices. Chaupadi reduction and other hygiene improvement activities will be conducted in coordination with the Far West Region’s Department of Water Supply and Sewerage and the Regional Health Office, contributing to improved health in rural communities throughout the Far West.
Safe-WASH II is implemented in line with the Government of Nepal’s 2011 National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan, which aims to achieve zero open defecation across Nepal by 2017. The project works with village WASH Coordinating Committees and communities to establish latrines, improve Open Defecation Free status, improve water supply schemes, and enhance the ability of local government to supervise and support community level activities. To promote gender equality, the project ensures that at least 50 percent of the community’s water user committee membership will be female, with a minimum two women in key positions.
At the end of the five-year project period, it is anticipated that the following major outcomes will be achieved: