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Rabin Bastola is an academic and researcher from Nepal specializing in WASH. He has been a member of WSSCC for more than ten years.
Here, Rabin tells WSSCC about his motivations, achievements and hopes for the future.
In a nutshell, what do you do?
I used to work in the development sector but now I am a PhD student on Water Engineering and Management at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand. I live and am based in Nepal.
What gets you out of bed every morning?
WASH is a human right, which means we have to urgently help those without it. My focus is on action-orientated research. To ensure services are sustainable, they must be cost-effective and appropriate for people’s situation. People should be able to make informed choices from clear options. I want to find the best solutions and offer them to people.
When you retire, what will you be most proud of in terms of your sanitation and hygiene work?
My communication of sanitation and hygiene research findings for the benefit of marginalized and vulnerable groups of people.
What are the biggest impacts COVID-19 has had on your sanitation and hygiene work?
Beforehand, getting people to follow handwashing advice was a real challenge. Now, people say that there is no way to ignore handwashing – it is absolutely critical to survival. This awareness has made it stick, hopefully on a permanent basis.
Also, restrictions on freedom of movement have made it very hard for agencies to reach out to expand services and increase levels of services.
What are the top three benefits of WSSCC membership?
Tell us a good example of working with WSSCC and other WSSCC members in your country
WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund played a very important part in the open defecation-free (ODF) campaign in Nepal. Contributing via UN Habitat, WSSCC was the real driver behind the progress in hard to reach communities, particularly in the Terai (lowland region along the border with India), which is ‘backwards’ in terms of sanitation services. I was involved in drafting the communications and knowledge management strategy and I learnt a great deal.
And now I hear good things from my contacts in development organizations that WSSCC is making a big impact in engaging and coordinating stakeholders in menstrual hygiene management (MHM).
The Sanitation and Hygiene Fund will soon be launching. In the next five years, what difference do you hope the Fund will make in your country?
I hope the SHF will do more action research on sanitation and hygiene. But the most important thing is that the SHF carries on WSSCC’s objectives and strategies.