Handover of water scheme in Buntang Nuwakot

AWO International has been implementing a Linking Relief Rehabilitation and Development project in one of the by the devastating earthquake affected districts, Nuwakot, focusing on two wards namely Bungtang and Kimtang of Myagang rural municipality. Among other areas of priority the project also contributed for WASH component in the target area. Buntang is a very small ward with diverse geography and vegetation, appropriate for all kinds of vegetation ranging from tropical to alpine. It is located in the northeast part of the district Nuwakot and has normal precipitation pattern, vegetation and topography with an unequal water resource distribution. Cluster Gahirafum of the ward has scarcity of water sources and water supply. The households of this area mostly relied on limited supply of a drinking water system and had to walk long distance for fetching water for their daily needs. Whereas, other clusters of the ward have collective drinking water supply and household level taps infrastructure in place easing their daily life. As per need felt by the community AWO International and partners, in coordination with rural municipality, ward committee and the community supported the construction of a drinking water scheme with household level taps benefiting 46 households.

The handover event of the installed water scheme was organized by the community, mostly Dalits. The official ceremony to handover the water scheme to the community was done jointly by the Member Secretary of Social Welfare Council (SWC), the Head Representative of AWO International and the chair and co-chairperson of the rural municipality. The event was also a good opportunity for the government representatives to observe and monitor AWO International’s and its partners’ work, dedicated to serve the neediest of society. At the same time, the event also provided a platform to the local community to share their issues related to fresh drinking water supply and how this scheme will ease their life in future.

“We had to get up early in the morning, long before 5 am, and walked a long distance to reach the water point. Since there was only one tap in our area, it would take three hours or more just to get a few buckets of water. It was more difficult in monsoon season due to heavy rain and slippery path; in winters, when the mornings are chill and water is freezing cold it is another hard circumstance we had to face. Sometimes, our daughters had to skip their school as they supported us on busy days”, said by Liliy Maya Tamang, chairperson of Gairafum water user committee-Bungtang. Since women are more involved in household work, they have been suffering a lot due to the absence of a water scheme. For the last 20 years the community had been without access to a drinking water scheme despite various attempts to place their concern at the local government.

The community undertook many attempts, had been in contact with many different NGOs and INGOs but only when AWO International and its partners started working in the ward, their voices were heard. Together with local stakeholders and the community the consortium of AWO International, Sarbodaya Nepal and CARDSN built a water reservoir with a capacity of 16.000 liters and connected it to the surrounding households.

“Now we don’t have to take the pain of getting up early, walk and stand in long lines to fetch water, we have water running in tap at our home. At the same time we now have time for other works and our daughters will also be able to attend the schools again.”

In his remarks, SWC’s Member Secretary emphasized on these types of coordinated activities which ensure sustainability and appropriate use of resources. He also appreciated the effort taken by AWO and partners for working closely with rural municipality, the ward committee and the community. “This project can server as role model which other organizations must replicate.”

AWO International’s Head Representative expressed gratitude towards the community and the stakeholders on their cooperation and support making AWO International’s intervention a success and good practice example of joint responsibility and coordination between government and civil society. He also shared that the community is in the heart of AWO International as it reflects in the organisation’s logo, and that AWO International always ensures that its support reaches the neediest.

In their closing remarks the chairperson of rural municipality, vice chairperson and the ward chairs concluded that their assurance of maintenance, safety and management of water scheme will be guaranteed. Afterwards the water scheme was officially inaugurated and a fresh cup of water was served to the participants.