World Toilet Day: Latrines for Nepal
In honour of World Toilet Day on 19 November, a story of life-transforming sanitation from Nepal.
World Toilet Day is marked every year to raise awareness of sanitation needs in the developing world. This year it falls on 19 November.
Throughout its history BMS World Mission has been involved with many sanitation projects, providing clean, health-giving water to those who need it most. One such story today is the work of Tlana, a BMS worker in Nepal.
Tlana and his team of Nepali Christians have been responsible for providing thousands of toilets to people in rural parts of Nepal over the years.
This may not seem like urgent work, but in communities where no latrines exist, and where local religious purity laws mean that human waste is disposed of in a different place every time, it really is crucial.
Without latrines, just walking in some populated areas of rural Nepal can be a tricky business and disease is spread quickly and dangerously. But the local people have to feel the need of the help that Tlana and BMS partners can offer.
Before the digging and building starts, Tlana and a team from the Multipurpose Community Development Service (MCDS ‒ a BMS partner and an arm of the Nepali Church that provides practical help to Nepal’s poor) identify a community where people are dying or suffering a high rate of disease from a lack of clean water and sanitation.
A team will work with a community for a number of years, assessing the needs and building relationships with locals who might at first be suspicious of Christians. Only with the agreement of community leaders and the village as a whole, will Tlana and his team proceed to dig latrines.
Two latrine pits are dug per household, to allow for a rotation of use when one pit is full ‒ and the effect is profound.
In one recent project, a remote village high in the mountains, accessible only by foot, was the site of what BMS Regional Team Leader for Asia, Margaret Gibbs, calls “a triumph”. After the Nepali government ruled that the village had to install toilets, MCDS was able to come in and start the process. After months of negotiation and consultation with local leaders, the latrine team, who had been living in the village, set to work.
Health in the village was improved, relationships between Christians and Hindus transformed and the love of Christ expressed in a practical way. BMS partners Operation Agri funded the project.
This work happens all year round, not just on World Toilet Day, and you can be part of it and other work by donating to BMS.