As we are coming close to the end of our ten week long WASH program in Nepal, the volunteers based in Kaudi, have made a tremendous effort to complete the initial infrastructure target of building forty-four taps, digging 1800 meters of pipeline, constructing 3 latrines, an intake chamber and maintaining one reservoir tank. As this target looks daunting for a group of 15 volunteers in ten weeks, we have all pulled together and engaged the community, finally nearing our goal.
The beginning of the infrastructure project started with slow pace, as it took time for us to adjust with basic village life, plan rote, mobilize the community and wait for materials to arrive. The first few weeks involved us in planning and organizing for different sessions. The volunteers focused on other project targets like conducting 16 sessions of community development goals, awareness raising and training which we did with great success in the first few weeks.
Volunteers also spent much of their time with community members for their personal development and to build a stronger relationship with them. This resulted in increased participation of community members during sessions and trainings. People were willing to lend hand with infrastructural work. During the ongoing work, the volunteers realized that success of their projects is highly dependent on community’s participation.
The initial plan was to re-evaluate the infrastructure target (building forty-four taps, digging 1800 meters of pipeline, constructing 3 latrines, an intake chamber and maintaining one reservoir tank) set by Raleigh for our last five weeks. Working as a group we managed to dig over 200 meters for pipeline all 60cm deep, which we all are proud of. Due to high level of community participation, villagers were willing to help and with 200+ residents in Kaudi, the turnout was impressive.
In just seven days, the volunteers and community members were able to dig the 1800 meters trench for pipeline throughout the village from the water source. Then, we were able to clean and maintain two reservoir tanks, build the foundation of an intake chamber at the water source. We started building taps at each household with the aim of completing around ten per day.
This outstanding effort is a testament of the volunteer team and villagers from Kaudi coming together with the aim of improving water supply for the villagers and providing every single home with a tap. The impact this has had on community members is already apparent with one saying “Now, I don’t have to walk far to fetch water especially when I’m carrying heavy load. This saves my time”. The success has had a positive impact on the volunteers as well, with one saying, ‘I feel much more motivated now that we are able to bring some changes in the community. I am fortunate enough to know how teamwork makes a change. I want to help the community even further’.
The huge success of the volunteer’s infrastructure work in Kaudi is amazing, as we have completed several trainings, awareness and community development sessions, all equally important.
We also held menstrual hygiene awareness and sanitary pad training sessions for both male and female along with many WASH awareness sessions to promote equality as a way to break down the social stigmas surrounding menstruation hygiene in Nepal. In such superstitious belief, girls are not allowed to touch plants whilst on their period believing that the touched plants may die. We were able to play an important role in giving them better idea about menstrual health and the consequences of poor menstrual hygiene. We also stressed the importance of being physically clean during menstruation.
Raleigh Volunteers also strengthened the community through ‘community development focus groups’ with village committees such as the women’s group, water users committee and agriculture committee to work more effectively and sustainably.
All of these skills, such as adapting to new situations learned by us successfully during our volunteering, we will be taking with us, because let’s be honest, nothing ever runs smoothly, does it?
As we enter into our eighth week in Kaudi, the volunteers in village prepare to go home feeling accomplished with what we have achieved in community. Hats off to our team!