Systems Strengthening for Inclusive WASH learning event opened today in Nepal


From today through to 5 December, Nepal is hosting the first Water for Women Fund Regional Learning Event in South Asia - ‘Systems strengthening for inclusive WASH - leaving no one behind’. The Event is being jointly convened by SNV in Nepal and the Australian Government’s AU$110.6 million flagship Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program, the Water for Women Fund.  His Excellency Peter Budd, Australian Ambassador to Nepal and Ms Meena Shrestha, Deputy Director General, Department of Water Supply and Sewerage Management will jointly open the Event.  It takes place two months after Nepal was declared open defecation free (ODF) by the Prime Minister of Nepal, Honourable KP Sharma Oli.

In September, sanitation champions from across Nepal celebrated the country’s most important sanitation milestone in its recent history – a countrywide rejection of open defecation practice. During this momentous occasion, dignitaries in attendance and sanitation stakeholders pledged to further build on the achievement made, sustain the results and reaffirm their commitment to the government’s Total Sanitation campaign. SNV, including its Water for Women Project, is supporting Nepal to meet its SDG targets of safely managed WASH, leaving no one behind and enhancing resilience in the face of climate change.

Since 2010, the Australian Government has supported SNV as a long-term partner of Nepal in the WASH sector. At the start of 2018, a new five-year partnership between SNV and the Australian Government – Inclusive and sustainable rural water supply services in Nepal – was officially launched as part of the Water for Women Fund. Nepal is one of 15 countries supported through the Fund.  Water for Women will improve access to safe and affordable water and improve sanitation and hygiene practices for an estimated 2.9 million people in the Asia Pacific.  Gender equality and social inclusion are a core focus. 

The Water for Women Fund is pleased to be working with SNV as one of its Fund Partners to improve access to WASH services for all.  Ms Renee Paxton, from the Australian Government said, “This Learning Event focuses on probably the single most important thing to achieve inclusive WASH services that stand the test of time, that is, by strengthening systems.” 

The Event gathers 50 participants from the Water for Women Fund projects and partners across seven countries in South and South East Asia. They are joined by research partners, the Fund management team and Australian government representatives.   The event is being facilitated by SNV’s Global Sector Coordinator for WASH, Ms Antoinette Kome. During the next four days, participants will examine prominent systems thinking in WASH and will seek to deepen understanding and the application of inclusive methods and approaches to leave no one behind.  

Alison Baker, the Water for Women Fund Manager, emphasised, “Through the Fund, we are raising the bar on gender and social inclusion.  Fund partners are committed to improving access to appropriate WASH services for those with a disability, sexual and gender minorities, and other marginalized communities.”

At the heart of this event is the assertion that people (in their diversity) are central in achieving a sanitation service system that represents and addresses the human right of sanitation for all. And, critical WASH investments are needed to raise capacities to professionalise and scale up sanitation service delivery.

About SNV

SNV is a not-for-profit international development organisation that makes a lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty by helping them raise incomes and access basic services. SNV focuses on three sectors: agriculture, energy and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and has a long-term, local presence in over 25 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.


About Water for Women

The Water for Women Fund is Australia’s flagship Water, Sanitation and Hygiene aid program supporting improved health, equality and wellbeing in Asian and Pacific communities through socially inclusive and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) Projects. Water for Women is delivering 18 WASH projects in 15 countries and 11 research projects over five years (2018-2022). The Fund supports regular knowledge and learning events with Fund partners to facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas and strategies. 


Further information

1 Blog: Towards politically aware systems strengthening for rural sanitation by researchers from Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney -> 

2 News item: Supporting a sanitation milestone in Nepal 

3 Article: Full sanitation in rural areas is a century away warn expert group in global call to action

4 Celebrating Nepal: Sanitation for health, dignity and development - an SNV interactive presentation of reflections, congratulatory remarks and stories about Nepal’s journey to ODF, as told by SNV staff and partners: 

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