Archive for February, 2016

3D printing in developing economies

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 by

The growth of 3D printing has been rapid in the last decade, with the creation of low cost printers and the availability of easy to use software.

The growth and use of this technology is evident across many developed economies.  3D printers are now a common tool for prototyping and used by many design agencies, engineering firms and research institutions. However, there is now a real opportunity to use 3D printing in developing economies and help to leapfrog highly capital intensive manufacturing.

The premise of 3D printing is simple, in that firstly 3D geometry is created using specialist 3D modelling software. This geometry is then virtually sliced into layers and outputted as numeric code. This code is read by the 3D printer which prints layer by layer to create the final part. The print material could be metals, plastics or ceramics and typically come in one of the following forms:

  1. Liquids – often cured using a laser
  2. Filament – typically extruded from a nozzle
  3. Powder – typically cured using a laser or form of adhesive

These 3D printers are available in various sizes and have respective build qualities. Although traditionally very expensive, growth in the 3D printing industry has led to the development of desktop printers which are easy to use, affordable and have relatively good part quality.

Future of 3D printing

Some predict that this rapid development of 3D printing has started a new industrial revolution which will ultimately influence and affect almost every aspect of life. However, it is already evident that the advantages of 3D printing have opened the way for novel product development and innovations which can provide a range of logistical and technological advantages. The core advantages include:

  1. Ability for low volume production
  2. Faster and more responsive production than traditional methods
  3. Simplification and shortening of manufacturing supply chains
  4. Democratisation of production
  5. Ability to optimise and personalise a design

(Royal Academy of Engineering, 2013)

These advantages represent a potential paradigm shift in the manufacture of products which will have a direct effect on the design and distribution process. The market and application for this technology is clear in the developed economies. However, there is now an opportunity to investigate the application of 3D printing in developing economies as a way to alleviate poverty and help bridge the vast technological divide.

3D printing in developing economies

3D printing has become an increasingly affordable and life-changing technology to places in need, such as manufacturing simple medical devices in Haiti. Photo Credit: Field Ready

3D printing has become an increasingly affordable and life-changing technology to places in need, such as manufacturing simple medical devices in Haiti. Photo Credit: Field Ready

Although developing countries may not be the most obvious place to adopt 3D printing technology, the rapid uptake of mobile phones shows how new technologies can be used to leapfrog developed nations.

Over the last 30 years the cost of mobile phones has significantly decreased and the rate of adoption has reached 3.4bn (50% of the population). Uptake in developing countries has far exceeded expectations, with usage in sub-Saharan Africa now at 60% of the population.

Before the mobile phone, developed economies had invested large amounts of money in land-line infrastructure. However, developing economies are able to effectively skip the landline, which, after all, would have been prohibitively expensive in poor communities due to vast distances and low population density. The popularity of mobile technology, its ability to increase levels of income, and the rapid adoption demonstrates the real opportunity for 3D printing as the technology development curve is not dissimilar to that of mobile communication. Furthermore, this lack of infrastructure and limited logistics provides a huge opportunity for 3D printers as it could mean rural villages would be able to print their own products or agriculture tools and not have to rely on unreliable supply chains. The advancement in mobile communication and the internet continues to support this technology allowing for the rapid transfer of data between sites.

For engineers, this development could enable greater access to these markets through online communities (which are already beginning to form) and enable end users to join the design process, creating more effective [product] solutions to meet their needs.

3D printing pilot study in a developing country

Dr Timothy Whitehead instructing Practical Action staff in 3D printing, Lima, Peru

Dr Timothy Whitehead instructing Practical Action staff in 3D printing, Lima, Peru

As an academic, it is interesting to see how this technology can be integrated into the development sector. In order to begin to understand this De Montfort University has partnered with Practical Action to carry out a pilot study with the charity’s office in Lima, Peru.

The primary aim of the project is to see if 3D printing can be used to enhance the design of existing solutions, and if some of their current products can be more effectively developed across multiple site offices. The secondary aim is to understand if the possession of a 3D printer enables new and innovative design ideas to be created, which were previously not possible. The hope is that this pilot will lead to a larger study exploring the potential of this technology in the development sector.

Initial findings from a visit to Lima highlighted that one of the first things Practical Action wanted to do was to print a 3D topographical map of the areas of poverty in Lima. This showed, in clear detail, how landslides were a real danger and what would happen in their inevitable event. These 3D maps will be used to explain, across a language barrier, to people living there why we needed to make changes, to have safety measures put in place. Without 3D printing it would not have been possible to produce these. These insights are really useful and demonstrate just one potential benefit of 3D printing technology.

The study is being carried out with Practical Action using an Ultimaker 2 Desktop printer. For further information please visit the project website www.bridgingthedivide.org or contact timothy.whitehead@dmu.ac.uk 

Practical Action’s favourite 5k runs

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 by

Sponsored runs are one of the easiest ways to fundraise – all you really need is a good pair of trainers runningand the tenacity to hound friends, family and colleagues for money. However, if you’re only used to tackling the distance between the fridge and the sofa, a long run can seem pretty daunting.
We’d suggest trying a 5k run to begin with. Short enough to be achievable yet still challenging enough to be rewarding, a 5k charity run is perfect for beginners and is guaranteed to make you feel great about yourself. Raising money for charity and getting fit?! I’m sorry, your halo is blinding me.

We’ve scoured the country to bring you our favourite 5k runs, which combine stunning scenery with a friendly, fun atmosphere. All you need to do is sign up and get fundraising!

South-East – Windsor 5k Fun Run

  • Where: Windsor
  • When: 19th March

Located in the hallowed grounds of Eton College, the Windsor and Eton Fun Run is a family friendly dash just fifteen minutes from London. Eton College hosted the rowing and canoeing events in the London 2012 Games, so whether you’re an Olympian or just limping along you’ll be racing in iconic surroundings.

South West – Supernova 5k

  • Where: Bournemouth
  • When: 1st October

A run with the visual aesthetic of a rave, the Bournemouth Supernova 5k is a pretty unforgettable experience. Runners are supplied with LED wristbands and encouraged to wear fluorescent clothing, and the run takes place at dusk, creating a moving spectacle of light.

Midlands – Spire Bushey 5k

  • Where: Hertfordshire
  • When: 3rd July

Winding through and around the charming town of Bushey , the Spire Bushey 5k is a relaxed run through leafy (or should that be Bushey?) scenery. The best thing about this run is that it’s part of the annual Bushey Festival, so once you’ve cooled off you can enjoy local music, art and food.

North West – John West Spring 5k

  • Where: Liverpool
  • When: 30th April

Probably the only race to have samba band entertainment partway round the course, the John West 5k takes the concept of the “fun run” seriously. After you’ve slogged through beautiful Sefton Park, you can unwind with face painting and a free massage – one of which will probably be exactly what you need.

North East – Great North 5k

  • Where: Newcastle
  • When: 10th September

Don’t feel quite ready for the Great North Run, but fancy soaking up the atmosphere anyway? Try the Great North 5k. The UK’s leading half marathon is preceded by a 5k run which gives you the scenic drama of running over the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in a starter pack distance. It also means you won’t be all sweaty when you go celeb-spotting at the main event later in the weekend. (Mo Farah’s been known to make an appearance).

Are there any great 5ks near you? Let us know and we can include them!

Local innovation in agriculture in North Darfur

Monday, February 22nd, 2016 by

Over the past few years Ibrahim Hamid Mohamedain, a farmer from Magdoub A in North Darfur, has been selectively breeding his millet crop, the region’s foremost staple grain. Like farmers across the region, Ibrahim has struggled with increasingly low yields of millet year on year. Whereas twenty years ago one mukhamas (equivalent of 1.25 acres) used to produce 6-8 sacks of millet, it now rarely produces more than half a sack. The reasons for the falling fertility of the sandy soils on which the crop is grown are many, chief among them is widespread deforestation across the region.

 

 

Ibrahim realised that one of the (albeit lesser) causes of this deforestation was the practice of local farmers cutting down trees on their farm land, and uprooting tree seedlings, as a preventative measure to reduce the number of birds, seen as one of the main pests of the millet crop.

As an environmentally conscious farmer, he sought a biological and natural form of bird control. One day, his wife Aisha Adam observed that a few of the millet plants grown by her sister were covered in small hairs and were thus resistant to birds and grasshoppers. He took some of these seeds back to his farm, so beginning his three-year endeavor to selectively breed a bird-resistant millet variety which would also have high tolerance to drought (essential in an arid area increasingly prone to rain shortages) and a high yield.

In this attempt, he drew on his experience accumulated as a Practical Action trained agricultural extension agent (from 2004). In 2005 he participated in an exchange visit to neighbouring North Kordofan state with the State Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Corporation, where he was taught how to select and propagate seeds. More recently, he participated in a refreshment training course in agricultural production techniques for village extension agents, organised as part of the Wadi El-Ku catchment management project for peace and livelihoods.

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Close-up of Abu Suf (hairy) millet

In the 2014 agricultural season he tied a strip of cloth around the first millet stalk to flower, considering this as an early maturing variety and resistant to drought. He also observed that as it grew, the millet head was the biggest, a sign of high production. Most importantly, he also he observed that the same millet head was covered in long hairs which made it difficult for the birds to eat. He observed a second millet variety with a compacted seed head with large seeds that made it hard for locusts and bird to dislodge and eat.

He selected these millet heads and stored them as seeds for the coming year. This second crop was harvested in October/November 2015 with stunning results. Despite being one of the worst rainy seasons in many years, he produced a surplus of millet beyond his annual household’s needs, the only farmer Magdoub A to do so in 2015. The crop was virtually untouched by birds.

Scaling up use of new millet variety

Ibrahim invited Practical Action to attend the harvest, with the aim of seeking support to scale-up the propagation of this new millet variety. Practical Action, accompanied by a team from the State Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC), visited the farm to assess the seeds and to discuss with Ibrahim how his millet variety could best be expanded to the benefit of other farmers in the state.

This scale-up began with Ibrahim training 250 other farmers in Magdoub, and from neighbouring satellite villages, in identifying, selecting and breeding seeds. The next step in the scale-up plan is still being discussed but the provisional plan entails distributing the seeds to 50 farmers in the state who will then grown the seeds; keeping half the crop and passing the other half on to a further 50 farmers. Practical Action also hopes to use these seeds to encourage farmers to adopt agro-forestry. As they no longer need to fear birds damaging their crops, planting Acacia trees on their sandy soils after 4 or 5 years will significantly improve soil fertility. At this point they can also benefit from the trees as Arabic gum gardens supplying reliable source of additional income, through the sale of gum Arabic.

IMG_1017

Aisha Adam harvesting her Abu Suf millet

While this variety of millet is not new to Sudan as a whole, with other pioneer farmers developing similar locally propagated improved seeds in several states, his efforts show how with limited training and outside support, farmers can find locally appropriate solutions to their livelihood challenges.

This is in line with Practical Action’s vision of promoting local knowledge that contributes to improving the livelihoods of poor communities. By connecting farmers with governmental institutions such as MOA and ARC, we encourage sustainable development.

India Celebrates 50th Year of excellence of Practical Action

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 by

To talk about the future is useful only if it leads to action now.” EF Schumacher

Looking back at experiences I had in past, I take pride in learning from people and incidents. The best learning is perhaps self-realisation. As Robert Frost rightly said “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”

Beautiful Rangoli during the celebration made by students of CEAT.

Beautiful Rangoli during the celebration made by students of CEAT.

Working with an organisation which truly believed and based its work on a philanthropist is something you always feel happy about. The brainstorming on celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Practical Action was equally challenging and motivating. Practical Action’s India Office, though a small team, were more concerned about making the efforts of the organisation visible and allowed other to talk about the work exhibiting technology justice.

Starting from the Green School to Solar wind hybrid system we have set up for generating power for the indigenous Kutia Kandha tribe in the Kalahandi District of Odisha was worth mentioning. When all talk about technology, we work on the justice part where technology reaches the poorest of the poor and raises the level of life style.

IMG_1866 (Cópia)

Minister visiting ACCESS stall at technology exhibition.

I was touched by the women of Koraput who are self-sufficient now in the manufacturing of ACCESS cookstoves and have enabled their presence in the community. The same district also witnessed our efforts in the SMRE project, by providing light, life and livelihood to the villagers of Badamanjari and Putsil. The hilly terrains of Koraput, far from grid electricity are now electrified with micro hydro electricity along with livelihood options we have created through the project. Similarly the Hybrid Solar-Wind system in Kalahandi is one of its kind in the state where Technology has been best used for lightening the lives of tribal villages indifferently.

So the celebration was much needed to mark our global presence for 50 years and we went with a plan to discuss more about Technology Justice exhibited by us and as well as by other individuals and organisations. So the celebration marked a National Workshop on Technology Justice which witnessed parallel technical sessions on Renewable energy, Urban Waste and WASH, Agriculture and Livelihood.

6H6A0205 (Cópia)A Technology Exhibition showcased some of our innovations such as the Solar Water Bulb, Solar Cart and ACCESS cook stove. Other organisations also displayed their innovations. This exhibition was unveiled by the honourable Minister of Science and Technology Mr Pradeep Panigrahy along with the Vice Chancellor of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology(OUAT). It is noted that CAET (College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, OUAT ) was the proud partner to host this celebration along with us.

As Jess Scott said, “Good things come to those who wait.” This celebration created a buzz in the development arena in the state. Exhibiting poverty and helplessness is a myth; there are ways to preach the solution and technology justice can make it happen. The celebration welcomed learned speakers such as the Planning board member Mr Sujit Kumar, VC of National Law University Dr ShriKrishna Deva Rao, Dean CEAT Md Khalid Khan and the Regional Director of Practical Action South Asia Mr Achyut Luitel along with the Minister and VC, OUAT. The whole show was conceptualised and run under the able leadership of Dr Birupakshya Dixit, Program Coordinator, Practical Action India Office.

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Selfie during the Celebration.

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of our work that I have witnessed. If I were during my adolescence today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by hoping and visualising the action just as I did when I was then.”

Lastly I can remember the words of Tom Robbins, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” I must say, after celebrating the 50th anniversary, we are still a child and still have miles to come of age.

Being Young

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 by

At least, a smile means something;
The satisfaction of being the reason of it,
The happiness to see someone happy,
The accomplishment of honest efforts,
The realization of contributing for a cause
All these matters, all this you count
When you are young, Young at heart!

It’s neither the space you work,
Rather the environment of positivity,
Which propels you
Towards goodness and inspires.
The spirit of an action hero
To being the saviour
Not in a dream but by action.
This is what you fantasise
This is what makes you Young
Young at heart.

1965-2015
The philosophy of a Visionary
Visions of Change and prosperity
Traveled through countries
Enabling lives better and happier
Translating the words into action
Action being real; being Practical.
Creating comrades of development
Young Minds and young thoughts,
Because, we are Young at 50.

Lights, life and Livelihood
Water, toilet and self-respect
Disaster, fights and self-sustain
Agriculture and caring the climate
Its power to you, energising lives
In-hand with Tech-Justice
Hopes multiplied and lives dignified.
Aging is just a myth.
We are 50, Young at heart.

IMG_6262 (Cópia)

Community-led 3D mapping of natural resources in North Darfur

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016 by

The primary goal of the Wadi el Ku Catchment Management Forum Project is to demonstrate how the promotion of inclusive natural resource management (NRM) systems and practices can help rebuild inter-community relations, enhance local livelihoods and contribute to peace in North Darfur.

Locating natural resources on 3D map

Practical Action and project partner the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have adopted a range of interventions targeting both local natural resource users and custodians, with the latter including technical support for government institutions responsible for natural resource management in North Darfur.

Students prepare 3D map

Activities to promote NRM at the local level include:

  • Community participatory action plan development for all 34 village clusters in the project area;
  • Training of local natural resource management extension agents to act as champions of natural resource management and pass on knowledge and techniques to their wider communities;
  • Building water-harvesting structures designed to meet the needs of diverse water users upstream and downstream. (see my other blogs for more information)

UNEP and Practical Action decided to try a different approach to building consensus over natural resources in North Darfur through the creation of a three dimensional map with the participation of local communities and facilitated by a 3D mapping expert from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project targets a 50km stretch of Wadi (seasonal rain-fed river bed) El Ku. However, to produce a three dimensional map of sufficient detail and topographical scale, the mapping exercise concentrated on only 25km of the project area, with the intention of later producing a second map of the rest.

This participatory process took a little over three weeks. Farmers, pastoralists, native administration, youth, and other community leaders from more than 10 villages took part in the map.  Students from two local secondary schools were also enlisted help in the labor-intensive process of creating the papier-mâché base map.

3D mappingLively debates were held by community representatives as they discussed the location and types of different natural and man-made resources to be featured in the map, including  migratory routes, gullies, clay soils, sandy soils, mountains, water points (e.g. boreholes, shallow wells, and hafirs), water-harvesting structures, crop growing areas and forests. All the while, they were cutting out, glueing, and painting these resources onto the map.

Throughout the mapping exercise, and as more and more layers and resources were added to the map, facilitators from UNEP and Practical Action asked communities what had surprised them about their resources in their area when looking not just at their own communities but the wider mapping area. Five observations were repeatedly heard.

  • The almost total extent of deforestation in the area, whereas only 10 years ago significant areas of natural and government forests had existed.
  • Many farmers came to realize that while pastoralists are mostly held responsible for crop damage that occurs when they seasonally migrate with their animals, it was evident that greater and greater areas of what used to be open land had been encroached by farmers seeking new cultivable land, making crop damage increasingly unavoidable.
  • The extensive formation of deep gullies across what used to be a relatively flat wadi bed had lead to greater water concentration and the consequent reduction in arable land.
  • The proliferation of unplanned earth embankments, designed to capture water as it flows down the wadi, played a critical role in the gully formation described above.
  • Over reliance on millet growing in sandy soils has had a highly negative impact on soil fertility.

Through the process of creating this map, the community participants gradually reached consensus around the key natural resources in their areas. How far this consensus can be extended to their wider communities and government institutions is yet to be seen, but it is a good start and the map represents an effective physical tool for NRM planning and advocacy to that effect.

The 3-dimensional map, which measures approximately 4.5 meters by 2.5 meters, is on display at the Women’s Development Association Network where it is easily accessible to visitors from communities, NGOs, government staff.

Putting the finishing touches on 3D NRM map

Practical Action’s science resources get the thumbs up from Oxfam

Monday, February 8th, 2016 by

We were delighted to see what a high profile our schools resources have in the new ‘Science and Global Citizenship guide’ from Oxfam. Written in conjunction with the Association of Science Education (ASE)  the new guide explains the benefits of a global citizenship approach to science and has practical ideas for implementing it in topics such as water, energy , climate change and ecosystems.Capture

The guide contains reference to 10 of Practical Action’s science resources, some of which were written with the ASE as part of the DFID funded Global Learning programme. Old favourites like Moja Island are in there together with the more recent Global upd8s and Plastics challenge.

We would like to thank the Oxfam education team and the ASE for putting this together, and including our materials. We believe it is a useful guide for primary and secondary teachers in the UK.

Technology Justice is critical to reduce risk for the poorest

Sunday, February 7th, 2016 by

Technology can greatly enhance the ability of disaster-affected communities to reduce their risk thus preventing natural hazards turning into human disasters.

Technology has driven our development. Key technological innovations have heralded revolutions in the way we interact with the environment, but this drive for development has now started to threaten our future. Many scientists are proposing that we have now entered a new epoch “The Anthropocene”. This started when human activities began to have a significant impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems. Climate change is a symptom of the anthropocene, as unsustainable consumption of fossil fuels threatens the future viability of this planet as a home for us and future generations.

technology

The consequences of this global imbalance is felt most by those who are least responsible for causing the problem in the first place. Climate change threatens to deprive poor people of their livelihoods, damage infrastructure, lower productivity and ignite social tensions. The response to climate change will consume resources that could otherwise be directed towards productive activities, and can wipe out years of development in seconds. Humanitarian assistance often arrives too late, when loss and damage has already occurred. Practical Action believes that the goal of development should be to create sustainable wellbeing for all, wellbeing that is resilient and not easily eroded by external shocks and stresses. We must not rely on humanitarian response alone. Communities that are most vulnerable to the impacts of changing climate should be prioritised for action and under the Paris agreement technology will be central to how the global community responds to climate change. But the way in which technology is accessed, innovated and used is critical to the effectiveness of this response, especially for communities who face extreme or recurrent natural hazards.

Technologies exist that have the potential to reduce the exposure of poor and vulnerable populations around the world, but technologies are either not rolled out or are not functioning to provide communities with usable information about their risk. Technologies can manifest in different ways to alter community risk. Technology is central to monitoring risk exposure and technology is central to support people to respond to risk. But poor communities continue to be hit by regular disasters with no advance warning. What are the underlying conditions that create this disconnect between technology and vulnerability?

technology tramsformation

It is clear that access to technology and its benefits are not equally shared. The current innovation system is not working. Without change, it will continue to drive injustice, inequality and lead to avoidable damage and destruction. It is time to overhaul how technology and its innovation are governed, in order to ensure the wellbeing of all people and the planet.

Technology Justice Call to Action

Be part of a movement for Technology Justice. Check out our call and be part of the change!

  • http://www.anthropocene.info/
  • http://policy.practicalaction.org/acalltoaction

 

Complexity doesn’t have to be confusing

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 by

credit: from the Mudd Partnership http://themuddpartnership.com/2013/07/05/managing-complexity-for-super-performance/I was recently inspired by a talk by Danny Budzak at the International Data and Information Management Conference (IDIMC) in Loughborough. Danny works for the London Legacy Development Organisation and is responsible for their knowledge management. Many of us were recently inspired by Chris Collison’s case study on IOC knowledge management so I was interested to hear Danny’s take on the reality.

But in fact, the main thing that stuck in my head was Danny’s description of how office life has changed over recent decades. It’s not so very long ago that important documents were typed and filed by professionals – people trained in filing, records management, knowledge management. The fact that a typist may be employed to type a report, and that the opportunity for editing was limited to the use of Tippex, inherently built in quality assurance processes that have long since disappeared.

Nowadays we are all office managers and knowledge managers. We are responsible for our own digital filing and usually for creating our own filing structures. This is all well and good, when you are creating and capturing knowledge that only you will use. But if you are capturing knowledge that has a wider value – say expertise on how to deliver a development project, then you need to design a system which will allow others to find and retrieve that knowledge easily.

But how many of us have had any training in the design of such systems. The use of metadata or version control? How many of us have actually even had proper training in the use of excel or word?

Danny summed up his talk with a great phrase that I will return to. Complexity doesn’t have to be confusing. It’s so easy when faced by burgeoning big data and masses of junk mail to shut ourselves off from the potential sources of knowledge and wisdom. It is the job of the knowledge manager (and we are all knowledge managers) to make sense out of this chaos and confusion and bring order to the complexity.

An inclusive toilet in Nepal brings smiles to the third gender

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 by

In the second week of January, I was on a regular monitoring visit of the SAFA & SWASTHA Gulariya project. As per the plan, I headed to the public toilet site in Gulariya bazaar. Reaching the site, I was amazed to see a large group of third gender colleagues around the public toilet.

I could see delighted faces beaming with joy. Everybody had come together to see themselves being recognised. It was quite hard for me to believe that such a small initiative would bring them such happiness.

Sapana is happy with the inclusive public toilet in GulariyaI was eager and meet with Sapana Chaudhary (39). She is from Basagadi Municipality 4, Bardiya and currently lives in Gulariya bazaar. Sapana is working with Sundar Sansar; a local NGO as a president. The NGO has seven executive members and 303 general members.

Sapana was enthusiastic and said the problems the third gender had to face brought her to tears time and again. She told me, “If we go to the electricity office to pay the bills, there are only two sections – for male and female separated with photos; but we can’t find a section for third gender so we feel distressed.”

She added, “One day, I was travelling to Kathmandu and on the way, the bus stopped at Lamahi, Dang. I went to a public toilet but saw the photos of male and female only. So, I went to an open space to answer the call of nature. Seeing that, the security personnel came to me and forcefully asked to collect the urine. I was terrified and asked him where I should go. I further told him to construct an inclusive toilet. I felt miserable at that time also.”

 

Sapana continued, “During speeches in workshops or mass meetings, speakers generally welcome male and female addressing as brothers and sisters or mothers and fathers but nobody recognises thethird gender. We feel as if we have been neglected and are not getting due recognition.”

Sapana and her team members are advocating at community and district level for recognition as well as for their rights through various awareness raising activities.

In support of their campaign, the ‘Open Defecation Free Gulariya Municipality by 2015’ project has constructed a public toilet in Gulariya bazaar jointly with the Gulariya Municipality to promote improved sanitation for all. The toilet is inclusive with separate facilities for male, female and third gender including disabled friendly.

Practical Action has been implementing the two-year project in Gulariya Municipality, Bardiya District in Nepal since August 2014. The project is funded by DFID under UK Aid match fund and is being implemented through Environment and Public Health Organisation (ENPHO) a national NGO.

Sapana and her colleagues are very happy with this facility. She said the toilet is near the bus stop, so many people can see the inclusive facility. This will help with replication in their respective districts. It is also helping to spread the word about recognition for the third gender in other districts.

The toilet is located in an appropriate place so they don’t have trouble using it during workshops, training and other events.

Additionally, the new constitution of Nepal has addressed their agenda. Now, they will be recognised as third gender on citizenship certificates and there will be no gender based discrimination.

Sapana concluded “For us, this is a prestigious achievement. We would like to thank Practical Action, ENPHO and Gulariya Municipality for promoting such facility.”

It is a small effort towards gender equality and social inclusion. However, it needs to be addressed at each and every level to achieve sustainable development in the country.