Communities in project areas in Samtse trained on masonry

Having access to sanitation is a basic human right, yet almost a third of the world’s population suffer on a daily basis from a lack of access to a clean and functioning toilet (as per one of the case studies). Without proper toilets, untreated human waste can impact the whole community, affecting many aspects of daily life and ultimately posing a serious risk to health.

The issue runs deeper into societal impacts, such as teenage girls often leaving school at the onset of menstruation due to lack of privacy and the risk of attack or rape associated with being forced to defecate in the open during nightfall. This situation could be solved simply by providing improved water, hygiene and sanitation facilities. Further, the situation could be resolved by consolidating the knowledge available about improvements that can be made to people’s lives by the simple intervention of a clean and safe toilet through provision of training to the local communities on construction of standard toilets.

536-masonry1-2Therefore, as part of the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Programme (RSAHP), technical skill training (mason training) on construction of improved toilet was conducted to interested communities in the project areas in Samtse by RSPN with the technical support from PHED of the Ministry of Health.

Aim and Objectives: 

The aim of the training was to provide hands on training to build the technical capacity of the local communities on construction of improved toilets. Following are the specific objectives:

  • To strengthen the construction skills of the local communities and increase access to skilled service providers for toilet construction and upgrading.
  • To promote improved construction practices and ensure standard design and quality in construction of toilets.
  • To built skills of the local masons/carpenters on how to construct the three base toilets (Pour Flush toilet, VIP and Eco-San toilet).
  • Increase awareness and support the demand created in the community for improved and safe hygienic practices

Narrative of the Training

The mason training was conducted in Phuntshopelri Gewog from 26th to 30th October 2015 to the interested communities of the WASH Project areas under Samtse Dzongkhag. It was facilitated Mr. N.B. Yonzan, an executive engineer of PHED, Ministry of Health and Mr. Tsheten Dorji, WASH Project Officer of RSPN.
The participants were given day long in-house theory class on general background on how the rural water supply and sanitation has been started and since when, how and why improve sanitation & hygiene program (RSAHP) initiated and instituted in Bhutan. In addition, they were provided the practical training for duration of 4 days. The practical training included hands on construction of each of the three technical options upto the slab level including superstructure construction with a focus on basic skills to address common construciton problems. They were also taught on the selection of the hardware toilet materials from a retailers shops, coordination with small and medium enterprises to help community in order to ensure quality materials.

Achievements & Conclusion
It covered 43 community participants inclusive of 5 woman and 38 men from Gewogs of Phuntsholepri, Yoeseltse, Tading, Norbugang, Samtse and Bara. The participants were from the various mixed age groups starting from 17 to 60 years.

There were also participants who were school dropout students of class II to VIII. It was a great success and the participants were of the view that the training was a great opportunity and benefited them a lot. They shared that after going from the training they wanted to conduct the meeting, talk to villagers and make sure that the toilets are constructed within the work plan withdrawn during the CDH workshop. They said that they will be able to complete the construction on time.

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Reported by: Tsheten Dorji, WASH Project Officer, RSPN