By Guna Raj Shrestha, National Coordinator, WSSCC Nepal, and David Trouba, Manager, Advocacy and Communications, WSSCC
On Tuesday, 28 June, WSSCC members and partners gave advice and recommendations to WSSCC as the organization continues a year-long, consultative process to develop a new strategy for 2017-2020.
Some 50 people met for a full day at the Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu. The Nepal consultation is one of 17 national consultations in Africa and Asia in June and July. These consultations are hosted by WSSCC’s National Coordinators – in Nepal, Mr. Guna Raj Shrestha of the NGO Community Development Forum (CODEF) – and bring together WSSCC members, GSF partners and key development and government actors in the respective countries.
“The spirit and intent of the meeting, and the participants, was very exciting,” said Mr. Guna Raj Shrestha. “As one of the first consultations to help ensure that WSSCC remains an important and relevant stakeholder in the new Sustainable Development Agenda, we were very pleased. The Nepalese voice is critical to WSSCC’s work, and we were happy to have been heard.”
The Nepal workshop included a number of presentations on the sanitation and hygiene situation in the country, which is still recovering after last year’s devastating earthquake. Interactive sessions generated responses on the role that WSSCC together with partners can play to contribute to progress in the country. WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund-supported programme in Nepal, managed by UN-Habitat is supporting, is working to achieve 23 percent of the country’s goal of 100 percent open defecation free status.
Among the excellent speakers and group work session participants was Ms. Laxmi Maharjan Devkota, Chairperson, Nepal Federation of Deaf People Association. She highlighted WSSCC’s effort to make sure that traditionally marginalized stakeholders and groups have their own voices raised in water, sanitation and hygiene discussions.
Participants at the event reviewed some suggested “propositions” for WSSCC’s work from 2017 to 2020, developed during the last nine months after a survey of WSSCC’s 5000 members, a literature review, staff consultations, and interviews with sector leaders and professionals.
Propositions under discussion included, for example, whether:
For example, some participants at the Nepal session used opportunities for questions and responses to ask “what WSSCC wants its members to do and what are the benefits of being a member?” One suggestion was for the Council to do “Thinking, Inking, and Linking”: namely, to continue its support of on-the-ground work through the Global Sanitation Fund to improve access to sanitation and hygiene, but to ramp up “upstream” work on policy change, capacity building, support to enabling environments, and advocacy.
Participants hoped as well that the Council would focus on becoming a learning hub, including around Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and knowledge generated through GSF-supported work.
Linked to MHM, Ms. Evana Manandhar, Miss Nepal World 2015, moderated a number of sessions and reiterated her commitment as an ambassador for WSSCC on menstrual hygiene and other equality and non-discrimination issues.
The new Strategy will be prepared in September and October after further review of all inputs, and submitted to the WSSCC Steering Committee, chaired by Her Excellency Amina J. Mohammed, Minister of Environment for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for its November 2016 meeting.
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