People and partners: Engaging volunteers and communities in post-disaster reconstruction efforts


From design to implementation to transition, the role of champions and partners is central to the success of Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)-supported programmes.

The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal killed almost 9,000 people, injured approximately 22,000 and displaced hundreds of thousands. The earthquake caused extensive damage to the country’s economy and infrastructure, including toilets, bringing local sanitation campaigns to a halt.

Five GSF-supported districts were badly affected by the earthquake, and three of the five districts – Bhaktapur, Dolakha and Sindupalchowk – were the worst affected. Bhaktapur had been officially certified as ODF in 2013, and Dolakha and Sindupalchowk were on track, having reached 98 and 99 percent sanitation coverage respectively.

To support these three districts, and as part of its overall contribution to the nationwide response, the GSF-supported programme and partners mobilized volunteers for a ‘revive your toilet’ campaign. The campaign was part of the 2015 National Sanitation Action Week. UN-Habitat, the GSF’s Executing Agency, mobilized over 170 volunteers, who helped improve 100 latrines in a week and engage more than 3,000 people, 500 households and 500 students with sanitation and hygiene messages.

In addition to reviving toilets, this grassroots action revived local sanitation campaigns. In the village of Irkhu, Sindupalchowk, one volunteer noted that the already triggered villagers had not reverted to open defecation, despite damage to toilets. This and other examples increasingly demonstrate the impact of behaviour change approaches, which bodes well for the restoration of sanitation gains in GSF-supported districts in Nepal.

About GSF people and partners

The diverse network of people and partners across GSF-supported countries includes: households and community organizations; Natural Leaders, Community Consultants and Community Engineers; civil society actors and entrepreneurs; central, regional and local governments; National Coordinators and WASH coalitions; Programme Coordinating Mechanisms; Executing Agencies, Sub-grantees and Country Programme Monitors; and many more.

Sanitation is everybody’s business. Poor sanitation and hygiene creates health risks for everyone in the community and hampers a nation’s socioeconomic development. That is why GSF-supported programmes reach out to all sanitation and hygiene stakeholders to encourage them to participate and play their part. This approach spurs collaborative processes and nurtures champions at every level. Together, these champions help nations achieve sanitation and hygiene goals and build vibrant movements. Read more in the latest GSF Progress Report.