(As featured in current issue of Parents Magazine)
"Now we can get water within five minutes from a tap at our door step and we are using latrines which have made our life easy and comfortable. Previously, we were growing tobacco around our household as it requires less water. Now, with water nearby, we've been growing vegetables at our kitchen garden.”—Manarupa Thapa, a mother in Thapagaun village.
Mother and children using new latrine. Photo: Mukunda Nookgati, Concern Worldwide
For families in Nepal’s rural, impoverished Karnali Zone, it had long been common practice to travel for two hours or more to fetch clean water, a burden that fell most often on women and girls, who as a result did not attend schools. Working latrines were scarce and communities suffered greatly as their water became polluted, leading to countless cases of often fatally serious diarrhea—as well as cholera, typhoid and worms—especially among children. Devastatingly, more than 15,000 children die here each year from these highly preventable illnesses.
In 2008, Concern worked to transform the lives of Nepalese villagers by bringing clean water to the poorest rural communities in the Mid Western Development Region. Now, readily accessible fresh water sources and improved hygiene practices are steadily driving down the rate of water-borne disease.
Concern-trained locals worked to install 153 new water taps in 13 village communities, reducing an all-day chore to one that takes minutes. The increased water supply now enables families to grow vegetables rather than tobacco, right on their doorstep. Concern also helped to install new latrines in more than 1,000 households, as well as in three local schools.
Father and children in Nepal. Photo: Concern Worldwide
These initiatives are sustainable, and the campaign proactive: Concern-trained Health and Sanitation Promoters regularly make the rounds in the villages, providing families with health and sanitation tips and a checklist they can use to monitor symptoms of both illness and improvement in family members’ health.
“Now everything has been changed,” said Karsingh Thapa, a hygiene promoter in the village of Thapagaun, “and gone are the days when there was not even a single latrine in the village.”
There are several success stories, but the needs of the people living here remain overwhelming. Concern knows that several more springs need to be tapped to provide further access to clean water for more communities. With your help we can achieve and sustain this infrastructure for the long term, so that countless generations of children yet to come can get a decent chance at the kind of future they deserve.
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