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urban-development
Urban Development

Community Empowerment Boosts Sanitation and Water Supply Services in Nepal

  • Project Name: Second Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project
  • Region/Country: Nepal
  • Sector and Themes: Urban Development
  • Year: 2009
  • Project Leaders: Shiva Prasad Paudel
Community Empowerment Boosts Sanitation and Water Supply Services in Nepal
ADB is helping Nepal improve access to water and sanitation services in small towns throughout the country.

With 24-hour tap water supply in my own house, I do not spend so much time fetching water. With the saved time, now I am raising pigs and some poultry to sell.

—Ranjana Jogi, beneficiary, Indrapur water supply subproject, Morang District

Development challenge

Nepal’s small urban centers have only rudimentary water and sanitation systems, and pressure on them has increased as more economic migrants have arrived from the hill regions and countryside. Water availability is intermittent in many urban areas, with half of the gravity flow systems in the hills in need of major repair, and more than half of the tube wells in the lowland Terai region being contaminated.

Solution

The Second Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project, financed with $45 million from the ADF, upgraded water services for about 20 towns. Communities shared the service delivery cost equally with the government. By training community members in operational management ofthe small water supply schemes and placing major responsibilities for governance in the hands of local people, the project sought to reinforce a sense of ownership and a stake in the operation and maintenance of water facilities infrastructure.

Knowledge products and services delivered

Water user and sanitation committees were trained in operations and maintenance and financial management. They then decided on the technologies to be used in the community’s systems. Community members also decided how much upfront cash they would need to operate a new water system and how much to draw from their Town Development Fund, a financial intermediary which on-lent a portion of ADB grant to water users’ associations for the construction of water supply systems. The project design monitoring framework and gender equality and social inclusion action planensured that women and targeted vulnerable communities benefited from all project outputs. The capacity development trainings targeted women, who take a major role in household water management and care works, and women were involved in every aspect of the project.

The project also improved governance and capacity for project management and operation
The project also improved governance and capacity for project management and operation.

Impact and results

By 2017, 21 town projects were completed and after 1 year all the systems have since been operated and maintained by the users. More than 370,000 people have access to improved water supply systems, and more than 278,000 people have access to improved sanitation facilities. The water supply and sanitation facilities reduced women’s time poverty, enhanced the economic empowerment, and helped improve gender equality in human development, decision making, and leadership. Women’s engagement in capacity building enabled them to make their voices heard and be part of the decision-making processes. The Town Development Fund continues to support all the water users and sanitation committees for efficient operation of the system by providing necessary training, preparing tariff guidelines, developing business plans, and carrying out other capacity building activities. An effort to improve the urban water supply sector is also in progress.

The project ensured that women and targeted vulnerable
The project ensured that women and targeted vulnerable communities benefited from all project outputs.

Lessons for Replication

The project showcased the importance of capacity building initiatives, and particularly of women playing an important role in design, financing, and operation and maintenance. The project offers lessons for similar projects to involve local communities right from the inception of the project, and for them to own and govern the water services, thus ensuring its sustainability.

The project ensured that women and targeted vulnerable communities
The project ensured that women and targeted vulnerable communities benefited from all project outpu

I am blind by birth and my husband died many years ago. I live in my parents’ house. My life was totally dependent on others, even for getting water to drink and for other uses. My life completely changed when this project selected me as one of the recipients for free tap connection and toilet under the project’s output-based aid. This has decreased my dependency on others, building my self-confidence and ability.

—Sharifullah Sherzamam, manager, Qaisar-Laman Project Component