Waling Municipality in Gandaki Province of western Nepal has become the second municipality to join Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN)’s “Municipalities Network Advocacy in Sanitation in South Asia” project in Nepal. Amid a MoU signing ceremony on 4 December 2018, Waling Municipality is on board with MuAN in collaboration with United Cities Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) and with technical assistance from Environment & Public Health Organization (ENPHO) to, among others, develop and implement national policy and strategy on sanitation with focus on Fecal Sludge Management (FSM) and non-sewered sanitation system in line with SDG 6.
“With the project’s expertise, Waling (Municipality) will set an example by being self-reliant on bio-gas by proper fecal sludge management. We now see FSM as a useful resource which is now a main indicator of a cultured society,” said Dilip Pratap Khand, the Mayor of Waling Municipality. Apart from policy development and capacity building, the project will also conduct a feasibility study to develop a sustainable detailed project planning and action plan that improves accessibility on financial option through different funding mechanism such as public-private partnership, cooperation with banks and development agencies and communities.
Waling Municipality in Gandaki Province and Lahan Municipality in Province Two are now among total 10 pilot Municipalities (with five in each country) in the network in Nepal and Bangladesh that the project is going to cover. In Nepal, the five municipalities were chosen based upon a rapid sanitation assessment of 42 Municipalities using KOBOCollect Application for data collection.
“All political parties had prioritized turning their localities into ‘smart’ cities during the local elections. However, we have not been able to manage fecal sludge itself with our focus only on road building, drinking water supply, education and declaring cities open defecation free,” said Kabita Dhungana, MuAN’s Vice President and Deputy Mayor of Belkotgadhi Municipality, Nuwakot (Province 3) who signed the MoU on behalf of MuAN. Bharat Sharma Gaire, Mayor of Galkot Municipality and representing Gandaki Province was also present during the function.
Speaking at the same event, MuAN’s Executive Secretary, Kalanidhi Devkota, highlighted the objectives of the project and said there is growing need to raise awareness and convince Municipalities to allot more budget for FSM as it is directly related to public health. The project also requires selected municipalities to allot at least 25 percent sanitation budget to FSM. During the event, MuAN’s Sanitation Advocacy Specialist, Muskan Shrestha, made a presentation on FSM practices over the world and the need for Municipalities to think about bringing such practices into reality.
“Municipalities Network Advocacy in Sanitation in South Asia” is being implemented in Nepal with MuAN and Environment & Public Health Organization (ENPHO) as its technical partner. In Bangladesh, the same project is being implemented by Municipalities Association of Bangladesh (MAB) with SNV as its technical partner.