As Nepal lacks public toilets for persons with disability, National Federation of Disabled (NFDN), in collaboration with Water Aid, Karuna Foundation, CBM and AIN Disability Working Group, has announced building the toilets for persons with disability on the International World Toilet Day.
In the context that public toilets are often not friendly for persons with disability, the announcement is a welcome step towards easing the difficulties of these people.
While commemorating the World Toilet Day on 19th November 2015, the Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Social Welfare Council (SWC) to construct the first universally accessible public toilet in Bhrikutimandap.
Officiating Member Secretary and Director of SWC Subhadra Dahal and AIN Disability Working Group Coordinator Shaurabh Sharma signed the MOU.
The estimated budget of the planned toilet is NPR 3,256,667. It will be in the land area of 909 square feet. The multi-functional toilet will have dedicated compartments for the persons with disabilities with construction space of 585 square feet.
According to AIN, the premises will also hold small space for tea shop and/ or ATMs, which will contribute for the long run operation. Solar system and rain-water harvesting will serve on saving energy. CBM, WaterAid and Karuna Foundation will mobilize the resources on behalf of AIN. The main activity besides awareness raising and solidarity was to announce of the construction of the inclusive Toilet (disability Friendly Toilet) in Bhrikutimandap, central Kathmandu as a model. The construction of the project will begin on December 2015 and complete by end of March 2016.
Along with signing the MoU, Members of Disability Working Group of Association of International NGOs in Nepal, celebrated International Toilet Day. Assistant Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Biraj Bahadur Bista was the chief guest of the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Assistant Minister Bista expressed his commitment to support the construction of public toilets.
AIN Disability Working Group has made efforts in promoting inclusive and universally accessible public toilets in collaboration with NFDN, Karuna Foundation, CBM, WaterAid & SWC.
“Our prime ambition is to construct a model for any other public structure that is going to be constructed. Bhrikutimandap is one of the big open spaces in central Kathmandu identified as one of the main centers for placement of displaced people from disaster,” said Deespak Raj Shapkota, country director of Karuna Foundation. “The toilet could be used for that purpose too if any disaster happens. Furthermore the structure will have a space for a coffee/tea stall as an income generating activity and all the people managing the toilet and tea shop will be persons with disabilities.”
Despite signing several international conventions and formulating the laws, this is the first time when the country is constructing disabled friendly toilets at the heart of capital. “It took us several years to make this project succeed,” said Sapkota.
According to WaterAid Nepal, in Nepal, every year 7,900 children die from diarrhea and diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. This accounts for a third of all child deaths overall.
Only 27% of the population in Nepal has access to a proper toilet, a cause behind widespread diseases. Many people do not have access to latrines and have no option but to defecate in the open.