While implementation will be key, such initiatives should be praised. WASH is not a luxury or an add-on like a science lab or a football pitch; it is a necessity. Having working toilets does not equate to equipping schools with fancy facilities but of taking pains to create healthy environments, and habits, for Nepali children.
Advances in water supply will undoubtedly be challenged by growing shortages as the climate crisis deepens. Water quality also remains a priority concern in this country. Surveys have found that 71% of households in Nepal are at risk from E. coli contamination of source water, and 82% from E.coli at the household level. 700 children die from diarrhoea yearly.
If we want our girls to have the same opportunities as boys, and if we want all children to be healthy enough to attend school every day, it’s time that we took building — and maintaining — toilets as seriously as we do building roads.
To mark World Environment Day (5 June) a WASH Mela is being held 8-9 June, 8AM-5PM, Basantapur, Kathmandu