As part of one home one toilet campaign, Himalayan HealthCare installed 50 new permanent toilets with septic tank in Sertung and Tipling villages, directly benefiting 250 and indirectly 5,000 villagers thus reducing diarrhea and other deadly infectious diseases in community. As part of the toilet construction, HHC trained all beneficiaries/head of family in use and care of toilets, integral public health step as toilets need to be functional and clean at all times.
Outcome: 250 trained, more than toilet recipients as neighbors also participated. Toilets brings health benefits immediately, other outcomes are long-term; HHC has observed positive changes after 600+ toilets built in the region, increase safety for vulnerable members (e.g. children, elderly, physically disabled); avoid risks such as falling, heavy monsoon rains, wild animals/snakes in forests
Change community norms - Toilets uplift community members who value themselves more in class-driven cultures
Outcome: As toilet is built it’s an instant matter of pride for the family
Toilet for a family has an immediate impact and brings instant benefits and improved quality of life. Firstly, there is no rush to the forests in the dark early hours of the morning, no danger of slipping and falling, or wild animals and heavy monsoon rains. Vulnerable community members, such as children, elderly and those with physical challenges benefit the most. Families can go to the bathroom at leisure, in comfort and with pride. It is so convenient.
Secondly, children do not defecate around the yard or on the nearby trails, which is immensely important health wise but probably less apparent to community members. ‘Open defecation’ means flies transmitting diarrhea, dysentery and other deadly infectious diseases. No open defecation means food and water are less likely to be contaminated as feces are not carried into water sources and into farms and so or fecal transmission of diseases are curtailed.
The overall impact of the toilets goes beyond health and safety. Family saves critical resources such as money and time. A rural family relies on hands in the field and healthier and less sick people means more hands dedicated to food production. There is less money spent on medicines and even expensive visits to cities for protracted treatment when money is hard to come by to begin with and sometimes loans with steep interest have to be taken. Children who are less ill help more around the house with rural chores and miss little classes in school and find more time to play and be happy. Parents especially mothers have less to attend to sick children and find more time for chores and additional income. Overall less illness means better life.
As with all our projects in this region since 1992, our partnership with the community and the local administration is the main reason for successful and durable program and projects. The community is the main partners who make the change happen while we are the catalyst.
Challenges: For the recipients, toilet building in these isolated, remote and roadless villages is challenging and time-taking. It requires months of commitment which takes time away from important farm work, their livelihood, but they are committed and want a toilet.Attachments: