Nepal: famous comedians star in tele-serial on community-led total sanitation

The famous Nepali comic duo Madan Krishna Shrestha and Haribansha Acharya aka Maha Jodi are starring in ‘Sugandhapur’, a tele-serial with a message motivating people not to defecate in the open.

Sugandhapur poster

Sugandhapur poster

The premiere show of the tele-film was organised at the Russian Cultural Centre, Kamalpokhari on 30 June 2010. Jointly produced by Mahasanchar and Plan Nepal, it will be broadcast in two episodes on television channels. The film centres around a community led total sanitation approach, which focuses on ending open defecation. It also conveys a message of changing the hygiene behaviour of people. The shooting of entire film was done in a rural area of Biratnagar.

In the telefilm, Haribansa plays a mulish character named ‘Hari Lal’ and Madan Krishna plays the role of a Chief District Officer (CDO). In the telefilm, all the households in the village have toilets but Hari Lal refuses to construct one saying that this will destroys crops, which turns the entire village into ‘Durghandapur’ (stinking village). The CDO advises him, the members of Child Club take out a rally against him but it could not change the mindset of Hari Lal. Later, Hari Lal understands the importance of toilets when he himself gets sick due to open defecation and thereafter the village changes into ‘Sugandhapur’ (good smelling village).

Sharing his experience during the shooting Acharya said, “Many people from that area were motivated to make toilets in their homes just watching the shooting.” Revealing the present situation of Nepal, Donal Keane, country director of Plan Nepal stated, “Ten million people in Nepal defecate in the open and every year 10,000 children here die due to diarrhoeal diseases.” Plan Nepal has started community led total sanitation programmes since 2004 in different communities of Nepal. “We hope this tele-serial will be one of the effective mediums to motivate communities to maintain sanitation,” Keane added. A total of 70 communities have been declared open defecation area by Plan Nepal.

“Only 43 per cent people in Nepal have access to toilet. So we are moving ahead to improve this situation to meet the national target of sanitation for all by 2017,” expressed Binod Chandra Jha, Deputy Director General, Department of Water Supply and Sewerage.

Related web sites:

Source: The Himalayan Times / NGO Forum, 02 Jul 2010 ; Kantipur / NGO Forum, 01 Jul 010

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