Report on Awareness Workshop on Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Programme (RSAHP)

20150601_wash-report1Today about 46% (BMIS 2010)1 of rural population in Bhutan do not have access to improved sanitation facilities despite having very impressive basic sanitation coverage of over 90% as reported by Annual Health Bulletin (AHB) for the last 7 years2. When the issue of reliability, safety, equitability, hygiene usage and quality construction of water infrastructures are taken into consideration, this remarkable coverage figures fall substantially.

Thus, to address these issues, RSPN, with financial support from SAARC Development Fund (SDF) and technical assistance from PHED under Ministry of Health and SNV, has implemented the programme on Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Programme (RSAHP) as part of “Strengthening water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in two Gewogs of Phuntshopelri and Yoeseltse in Samtse Dzongkhag.

The mission of programme is to improve the health of the rural populace by reducing the incidence of water borne related diseases and to bring about improved health quality of life for rural population through access to quality sanitary toilets, hygienic use of toilet and adequate facilities for hand washing with soap.

RSPN believes that the implantation of RSAHP will benefit and greatly supplement Ministry of Health and Samtse Dzongkhag in improving rural areas, and contribute significantly towards better sanitation and hygiene for the well-being of the rural people at large.


The overall objective goal of this programme is to “improve the quality of life of rural populace by providing safe, convenient and sustainable water, sanitation services and better hygiene”. In addition, RSAHP was initiated jointly by RSPN, PHED and SNV and some of the specific objectives of RSAHP are:

  1. To promote hygiene and sanitation practices in schools, Non-Formal Education centers in the targeted communities as model; and
  2. To capacitate Community Based Organization (CBOs) in management of water and sanitation facilities and promotion of hygiene.


Narrative of Training Workshop

The Training Workshop on Community Development for Health (CDH) as part of RSAHP was conducted from 16th of April until 25th May, 2015. The CDH followed a combination of one-day Gewog meeting, two-day community development for health workshop. The details of the training workshop are as follows:

  • One-day Gewog level meeting was organized by involving local government officials, Hospital/BHU Staffs and representatives from Schools to update on the RSAHP programme, CDH workshop, Mason training and other activities including the plans and policies at the national level. And to acknowledge the past contributions, and need of support and help from Gewog officials and BHU/Hospital Staffs for the conduct of RSAHP activities like CDH workshops and Mason trainings.
  • Two-day CDH workshops were conducted by selecting a community and a representative from each household by keeping the ideal participant size not exceeding 35 for the workshop to be effective. The CDH workshops were also conducted in a suitable venue (with an adequate wall space to stick the posters used during the workshop) within the village and no participants were made to travel more than ½ hour in a day to get maximum participation.

The entire CDH Workshops were facilitated by Project Officer from RSPN, WASH Specialist from SNV and Health Assistants (HAs) from the Gomtu Hospital and Yoeseltse BHU who are well experienced on RSAHP. The facilitators used multi-languages (Dzongkha, Lhotshampa and Scharchop) during the CDH workshop to convince the diversity of ethnicity group of participants. In addition, the facilitators used pictorial images (posters) and participatory adult learning tools during the entire CDH workshops aiming for easy understanding by illiterate rural participants (both women and men) of all ages.


Achievements and Conclusion

The training workshop could cover more than 800 participating communities of two project areas. Through this workshop, the entire community could discovers their actual sanitation situation and comes to realize how unhygienic latrines and haphazard open ODF affects one of them. In addition, realization through this workshop subsequently catalyses the entire community into its own decision-making, own mobilization for individual and collective action and own responsibility for the results of improving their sanitation, water supply and hygiene situation.

The CDH workshop was a great success and could convince the participating communities at the highest level. The participating communities mentioned that they are well aware on importance of requirement of quality, adequate and safety sanitation and hygiene facilities at all times. The participants also assured to improve, maintain and construct quality and safety sanitation and hygiene facilities back home.

RSPN would like to thank all the concerned agencies and individuals who involved for the support in making the programme successful.


1There is no conclusive data on improved sanitation than the BMIS 2010 at the moment.

294.5% in 2012, 94.4% in 2011, 92.5% in 2010, 91.0% in 2009, 90.8% in 2008, 90.9% in 2007 and 90.2% in 2006.


Reported by: Tsheten Dorji, Project Officer, WASH