DFID's bilateral programme in Nepal - International Development Contents

7  Water and Sanitation

93. Over the last decade, Nepal has steadily improved access to water and sanitation to such an extent that it has exceeded the target for the Millennium Development Goal (MGD) on water and sanitation (achieved = 88%, 2015 target = 84%).[85] However, DFID notes that wonderful achievement may disguise the fact that there are severe discrepancies between urban and rural water and sanitation coverage. There are still between 10,000 and 13,000 preventable child deaths due to waterborne diseases every year, mostly impacting women and girls. Alongside diseases, women also suffer from violence associated with having to travel long distances to reach water collection points.[86]

94. DFID has allocated £10 million to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) from 2011 to 2015. Development Initiatives points out that this figure is low (4% of total donor spending) given that this sector features as a priority under the 'human development' pillar outlined in the DFID Nepal Operational Plan (2011-2015).[87] The bulk of this figure has been given to the Rural Water and Sanitation Programme (RWSP) which has been implemented by the Gurkha Welfare Service (GWS). The remainder of the funding has been directed into pillar projects such as the Community Support Programme, Education and Local Governance and Community Development programme as these programmes are linked to social mobilisation.[88]


Source: DFID

95. We visited communities in Nepal which had benefited from the RWSP programme implemented by the Gurkha Welfare Scheme. We heard that it had been a great success and we were impressed by the projects we saw. The Minister of State told us that the work of the GWS "outshines what else is available"[89].

96. We asked the Minister how villages were chosen to be part of the GWS scheme and whether the projects were founded on the basis of the poorest communities, not just their ties to the Gurkhas, and the Minister of State told us that:

    [He] asked specifically the question as to how villages were prioritised, and was assured that they were the remoter ones and the ones with relatively smaller populations that therefore would not benefit from Government intervention.[90]

Mark Smith, Deputy Head of DFID Nepal, added:

    Yes. The Gurkha Welfare Scheme operates in the hilly areas, which are some of the poorest areas in the country. There are other donors and the Government operating in the Terai. There is a £196 million water and sanitation project being implemented by six development partners and the Government. They are very complementary but they are different. These are working in small communities. They are not targeting Gurkhas; they are just in the areas where Gurkhas have traditionally been recruited, which are also some of the poorest areas in Nepal.[91]

97. The GWS told us that it was eager to continue working with DFID in the future. We pressed the Minister of State and he said that he had doubled their funding for the next five years to £2 million per year. [92]

98. As the GWS sets the highest bar for workmanship in Nepal, "the gold standard"[93], as Mark Smith put it, we asked the Minister if there was a possibility to allow Nepali Government engineers to take secondments with the GWS and he said:

    Yes, undoubtedly. [...] I am glad that the Government is now showing great interest in the standards that have been implemented by the Gurkhas, and other agencies are interested as well.[94]

Mark Smith continued by saying that:

    Secondment of Government officers is something we are looking at; sharing lessons with other providers of water and sanitation is something that is already happening.[95]

99. We welcome DFID's support for the GWS and recommend that the scheme be expanded with a brief to work with the poorest communities, including considering working with the Terai, and not only in areas with Gurkha connections. We recommend that the GWS share its knowledge and expertise with the Nepali Government, and other WASH providers, in order to improve access to WASH across the country. This might be done by secondments of Nepali Government engineers to the GWS.

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Prepared 27 March 2015