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The power of campaigning
Friday, 5th November 2010, 01:26pm
Campaigners in Nepal organized a massive campaign across the country for World Water Day 2010, contributing to the global campaign moment The World’s Longest Toilet Queue. Shikha Shrestha was involved in coordinating the campaign and shares some reflections with us on the political changes following the campaign, and how it proved to be a catalyst for civil society working on water and sanitation… which will really help as she prepares for Nepal’s participation in The World Walks for Water in March 2011:
“The World’s Longest Toilet Queue was a huge event in Nepal – we saw schools, universities, companies and whole communities across the country getting involved to make a stand for water and sanitation.
It was fun and diverse – over 27 districts got involved, including 8,000 people from rural communities. Sanitation is a taboo subject in our culture, so the total number of 30,000 participants was very much impressive and made an impression on the government
The result of this has been increased government commitment to reduce diarrhoea rates in dry seasons, resulting in a significant drop in the number of deaths this year. We’ve also seen an improvement in our policy strategy as we lobby for the inclusion of water and sanitation in the constitution. Furthermore, the country’s master plan of sanitation and hygiene is also in the last phase of development.
Regarding sustaining the trend of increasing budgetary provision to the sector, due to political conflict, the formal budgetary process has been halted, but we are seeing trends of increasing funding to water and sanitation.
And lastly, the campaign provided real opportunities to work with a more diverse network of organisations outside of the water and sanitation sector, such as youth organisations and private sector institutions and even celebrities. This has all helped our campaign messages reach new audiences and we’ve found new voices calling for change.
With all this success, there still remains much to be done. Nepal remains one of the least developed countries in the world (138th of 169 countries in the UN Human Development Report 2010 which was released yesterday). Though the same report shows our enormous progress: A child born today in Nepal can expect to live 25 years longer than a child born in 1970. A fact that truly mobilises us to campaign further and change more lives.”
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