Gulariya Municipality declared “Open Defecation Free”


June 4th, 2015

On Monday, 25 May 2015, I headed to Gulariya to participate in the declaration ceremony of Gulariya Municipality as “Open Defecation Free” (ODF).  I was amazed to see the huge crowd enjoying cultural music bands in the backdrop, with indigenous groups like Tharu, Pahadi and Godiya in their traditional costumes singing and dancing to the music. I could see delighted faces beaming with joy, everybody had come together to celebrate the success – the fruit of the hard work they had contributed to.

Constituent Assembly (CA) member Hon. Sanjay Kumar Gautam inaugurating the ODF declaration ceremony

Constituent Assembly (CA) member Hon. Sanjay Kumar Gautam inaugurating the ODF declaration ceremony

It was quite hard for me to believe that we finally succeeded in turning Gulariya Municipality into an ODF zone.

Reminiscing about the situation seven months back, only 53 per cent households had toilets in the municipality. People from around 5,134 households used to go to the bushes or river banks for open defecation.

But things have changed for better since the Constituent Assembly member Hon. Sanjay Kumar Gautam made the much-anticipated declaration, “As of 25 May 2015; Gulariya Municipality has been declared as Open Defecation Free” at the ODF declaration event.

The ODF status was achieved with construction of 11,246 toilets (Individual – 10,922, institutional – 319, and public – 5) and discontinuing the common practice of defecating in the open. As of now 60,379 (female – 29,300) people in Gulariya will gain access to an open defecation-free environment. During the ceremony, the audience expressed their delight and I applauded along with them. I was glad to be part of the celebration.

Locals including the high level government officials like Chief District Officer, Local Development Officer and Chief Executive Officer of the municipality, political leaders, representatives from I/NGOs, students and media had all come together, eager to celebrate the success in such a short period of time.

The chief guest, Sanjay Kumar Gautam opined during the event, “The achievement of ODF status is an inspiration towards national target on sanitation – universal access to sanitation by 2017, and will contribute to the Millennium Development Goal’s (MDG) sanitation target.”

UK AID“For us, this event is a major success, as all of us have worked very hard and this is a gratifying moment. This event should be taken as a motivating factor by other municipalities; especially terai region throughout Nepal for expediting their action towards declaring themselves as ODF,” said Dharma Raj Neupane, Chief Executive Officer, Gulariya Municipality.  “We would like to thank Practical Action and all the agencies who have worked hard to make this possible.”

 

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