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Seated beneath a banner proclaiming “Solidarity for Sanitation,” leading public officials and sanitation experts in Nepal today launched the country’s national Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programme with a $5 million commitment from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). For WSSCC, this is the third country programme launch since March.
Over the next five years, UN-HABITAT’s Nepal office will manage the fund programme in the country, focusing work on grassroots activities that help large numbers of people get access to improved sanitation and hygiene. The programme concentrates on five districts and three “development regions” of the country. In those areas it has the potential to impact the lives of up to three million Nepalese living mostly or entirely without access to good sanitation, many of whom must resort to “open defecation” on the ground.
Mr. Gajendra Kumar Thakur, Director General of Nepal’s Department of Water Supply and Sewerage, welcomed more than 100 attendees to the launch at the Hotel Everest in Kathmandu. Attendees included three joint secretaries from different ministries, local officials from regional water supply and sanitation organizations, and a number of journalists.
“The GSF will be instrumental in helping the government to implement its national Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan, increase sanitation coverage and establish good governance in the sanitation sector,” said Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha, UN-HABITAT’s Chief Technical Advisor for South Asia. “It will strengthen civil society groups, schools and the private sector to promote improved sanitation and hygiene in a sustainable manner.”