Established footprints for rapid response


Water for Women partners have the right people in the right places - established teams, networks and relationships with local governments and civil society, which has helped them respond rapidly to COVID-19.

In Bhutan accessible public handwashing stations, prevention awareness materials and physical distancing measures have been rolled out by SNV in their communities.

Early on during the crisis, Bhutan’s Health Minister requested for SNV Bhutan to lead efforts to identify and install hand washing with soap (HWWS) stations with safe drinking water facilities in public areas, such as bus terminals and farmers markets. SNV, a well-established international development organisation in Bhutan since 1988, has been able to support in this rapid response through its networks.

Within a period of two months, seven HWWS stations have been installed in Thimphu, and two stations each in Phuentsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, Gelephu, Mongar, Punakha, Trashigang,  Paro, Samtse and Pemagaytsel. A total of 25 stations with 77 tap points were installed, helping an estimated 21,650 people gain access to safe handwashing with soap facilities.

This work, a great example of collaboration, was carried out in partnership with PHED/MoH, UNICEF, and with local government authorities, with support from the Australian government, through Water for Women and the Government of Japan, as well as other stakeholders. SNV has completed the installation of these HWWS stations in all areas. These stations, along with reinforcing additional existing hand washing with soap communication materials, fast-tracking the development, printing and dissemination of HWWS and distancing measures in health care facilities have been critical in providing communities with the facilities and information needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

A COVID-19 response is a WASH response. To ensure sustainability in all activities, SNV undertook the following steps:

  • Engagement of the district and municipal authorities from the planning stage through to completion to build ownership of the facilities
  • 23 technicians/caretakers (including five women) were trained on Operation & Maintenance (O&M)
  • An O&M manual was developed and provided to the caretakers & management 
  • Each Management team signed a handing over note to formalise their responsibility in ongoing O&M of the facilities.


As part of its area-wide approach to rural sanitation, SNV will review school HWWS communications materials and will engage the education sector and schools to reinforce the message. All of these activities complement and reinforce the focus of SNV’s Water for Women project Beyond the Finish Line – Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All in Bhutan, supported by the Australian Government.





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