United Nations in Action: The Global Sanitation Fund in Nepal


For 77 year old Suk Kumari, going to the toilet has never been easy. Now blind due to cataracts, it's become almost impossible. She stumbled twice, and was sick after that and went to hospital. While she was sick, it was very difficult for her to go to the toilet. She had to be taken there.

Suk Kumari's experience isn't unique. Globally some two and half billion people have no access to a clean toilet, that's one in every three people. In rural Nepal that figure can be much higher. An estimated 15 million still practice open defecation, making Nepal one of the world's worst affected areas.

Sindhupalchowk, a district in eastern Nepal, is mountainous and parts of it are only reachable on foot. The region depends on agriculture but is not fertile and is prone to landslides. In 2009, the district’s sanitation coverage was only 31%.

The GSF programme in Sindhupalchowk was initiated in June 2012. Sanitation coverage has now reached 62% and more than 73,000 people have access to improved sanitation facilities.

Sindhupalcowk's target is to achieve ODF status by 2015. Today, the Global Sanitation Fund is working community by community to educate villagers about the dangers of open defecation and teach them how to build their own toilets.

Large-scale programmes funded by GSF in 11 countries have to date resulted in nearly 6 million people living in open-defecation free environments and more than 3.1 million people using improved forms of sanitation.

Investing in sanitation and hygiene using community-based approaches pays dividends, not only in the health sector, but also on livelihoods, the economy and greater human dignity.

This film was produced by United Nations Television for the programme "UN in Action".