Location: Western Rukum District
Project 1: Strengthening Partnerships for Maternal and Child Health
Project 2: Improving Livelihood & Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wali, Pilot Project)
Partner: Human Development and Community Services (HDCS)
Western Rukum is a district in rural Nepal, nearly 280km west of Kathmandu, where roughly half of the people live below the poverty line. Life expectancy is only 70.2 years and child mortality rate for children under 5 is 33 deaths per 1,000 live births. Sanitation is also problematic, with more than 20% of households having no toilet facilities.
Project One: Strengthening Partnerships for Maternal and Child Health
Goal of the Project
This project will be a role model for improving the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) situation in the project area, through integrated health promotion and intervention at the facility and community level. It will be working in difficult and remote locations, dealing with highly vulnerable and marginalised communities. The project will help those who are mostly deprived of essential Maternal and Child Health services in their community.
The components of health promotion include extensive health education sessions in the community among mothers’ groups. This improves the awareness and knowledge level of pregnant women and mothers. Awareness will be raised about the fact that early identification of complications in pregnancy can help to prevent maternal and child deaths – as can malaria prevention measures, such as the use of bed nets.
In 16 targeted areas in the Western Rukum district, the goal is:
- To reduce the maternal mortality rate by 10%,
- To reduce the infant mortality rate by 7%,
- To improve the health status of children under five.
Progress Update (from July ’21 until June’22)
- Approximately 9,000 community members were reached via 46 radio broadcasts designed to raise awareness on issues such as Maternal and Child Health and the potential for harm within a number of cultural practices,
- 144 FCHVs across 16 communities have been trained on antenatal care to assist the 4,593 pregnant women who presented for antenatal check-ups. The uptake of maternal health services increased among these women, with 1,637 returning for post-natal checks,
- Formal family-planning mechanisms have become more accessible, with 7,062 women electing to receive either the 301 implants or IUCD,
- 4 local birthing centres have been provided with updated emergency obstetric equipment, with an MOU being signed with the GoN to ensure that 100 people from impoverished families would have access to health insurance. 20% of these individuals are people with disabilities.
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Project Two: Improving Livelihoods & Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Goal of the Project
Opportunities in the Western Rukum district to improve livelihoods are limited, especially for women from marginalised castes, or with a disability, or those who do not have a husband at home. Schools in the district face shortages of toilet and water supply facilities. As a result, girls are unable to attend classes regularly during menstruation.
The project’s objectives are two-pronged:
- Increasing the livelihoods of 40 women to provide for their children,
- Improving access to water supply and sanitation and hygiene practices for 855 students in three schools.
The project creates opportunities for vulnerable women through agriculture and livestock training and loans to improve their livelihoods. These families are the ones most likely to withdraw their children from school, especially girls, to reduce expenses and to assist with earning income.
- The project aims to empower 855 students in the three schools to increase awareness of and access to water, good sanitation and hygiene practices, using good practice called 7FATS (Seven Flags Approach of Total Sanitation) so that: Children can practice good hygiene by having washing stations with soap, reducing sickness across the student population,
- Girls can attend school during menstruation,
- Children can access safe drinking water during school hours to remain hydrated and able to learn (especially after walking long distances).
Progress Update (from July ’21 until June ’22)
- 6 schools collaborated to sign six MOUs, with 167 people participating in consultation meetings to design the program in a way that responds to the needs of schools and their communities,
- 1,352 students, including 645 boys and 707 girls, have participated in hygiene classes that covered menstrual hygiene, personal cleanliness, correct use of toilet facilities, food safety, clean drinking water, and environmental sanitation,
- 14 toilets and 6 hand washing facilities have been constructed or improved within schools,
- Each of the six participating schools has benefited from the installation of a 2,000-litre capacity water tank and water purification system,
- 240 mothers have been engaged through meetings across 18 established mothers groups,
- 120 women have received training on agricultural practice, with 120 more trained in livestock rearing,
- 18 Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLA) have been formed and will receive support from a local commercial bank which has been arranged via MOU.