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In September 2019, Nepal’s honourable Prime Minister declared all 77 districts free from open defecation. Despite facing enormous challenges – including the 2015 earthquake, the border blockade in 2016, the Terai flood in 2017 and the Federal transition and elections in 2018 – Nepal made incredible progress towards universal sanitation coverage. With government-led sanitation planning and sound sector coordination in place, Nepal could meet the targets of the country’s National Sanitation and Hygiene Master Plan.
The GSF supported programme in Nepal significantly contributed to the accelerated sanitation coverage in the country, working in 19 out of 75 districts, one-quarter of today’s national ODF coverage.
The programme, executed by UN-Habitat, is implemented by NGOs and local government partners, in close collaboration with coordinating bodies at various administrative levels, CSOs and the private sector. The efforts over the recent years have been concentrated on the southern Terai plains, the challenging last mile of Nepal’s sanitation campaign. Over the last four years, the programme contributed to accelerating sanitation coverage from around 13% to near-universal coverage in eight districts of the Terai region. Building local ownership and mobilizing local actors were crucial in the push for the last mile in the Terai region, where government entities, community organizations and individuals were engaged as front-line actors and champions of the cause. As well, the programme promoted a match funding mechanism, whereby GSF would match contributions from local governments, encouraging local governments to take leadership of the process.