Tag Archives: Bhutan

SACOSAN 7: registration closes 15 December


South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN),  a government led biennial convention held on a rotational basis in each SAARC country (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), provides a platform for interaction on sanitation.

SACOSAN VII will be held on 13-17 February 2018 in Pakistan, hosted by Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan.

The deadline for registration is 15 December 2017.

Below is an overview of the theme papers and country leads

Theme papers

Lead country

Sanitation as cross cutting (Health and Nutrition)


Climate Change/Environment and Sanitation


Sociology of Sanitation


Operation, Maintenance and Sustainability of WASH


Policy, Strategy and Sector Planning (institutional arrangements)


Human Resource Development for WASH


Accountability and Regulation

Monitoring and Evaluation

Pakistan or Sri Lanka? [conflicting info on website]

WASH Financing

Sri Lanka or Pakistan? [conflicting info on website]

For more information and updates go to: sacosan.com/

SNV publications on urban sanitation

SNV’s Urban Sanitation & Hygiene for Health and Development (USHHD) programme works with municipal governments to develop safe, sustainable city-wide services. The programme integrates insights in WASH governance, investment and finance, behavioural change communication and management of the sanitation service chain. We engage private sector, civil society organisations, users and local authorities to improve public health and development opportunities in their city.

As part of our USHHD programme, we have a long term partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney focused on knowledge and learning to improve practice and contribute to the WASH sector knowledge and evidence. Our recent collaborative efforts have resulted in the following papers:

Are we doing the right thing? Critical questioning for city sanitation planning (2016)
Cities are clear examples of complex and rapidly changing systems, particularly in countries where urban population growth and economic development continue apace, and where the socio-political context strongly influences the directions taken. The concept of double-loop learning can be usefully applied to city sanitation planning. This paper prompts practitioners, policy-makers and development agencies to reflect on their approaches to city sanitation planning and the assumptions that underlie them.
Download full paper

Exploring legal and policy aspects of urban sanitation and hygiene (2016)
During 2012-2014, SNV did four country reviews of legal arrangements for urban sanitation and hygiene in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Based on these experiences, this guide was developed to provide support and guidance for WASH practitioners undertaking a scan of legal arrangements to inform the design (use of frameworks and tools) and delivery (advocacy for improvements) of urban sanitation and hygiene programs.
Download full paper

A guide to septage transfer stations (2016)
Septage transfer stations have the potential to significantly reduce the amount of faecal sludge entering the environment by providing a local solution for septage disposal. Localised transfer stations shorten the time required for local operators to collect and transport septage, and they will be able to use smaller vacuum tanks that can navigate the densely populated residential areas. This guide provides information on the salient aspects of selecting, designing, building, operating and maintaining a septage transfer station.
Download full paper

Financing sanitation for cities and towns (2014)
Planning and financing for sanitation in cities and towns in developing countries is often ad hoc and piecemeal. Stronger capacity to plan financing for sanitation infrastructure (and services) for the long term will lead to better outcomes. Planning for adequate long-term services requires consideration of the complete sanitation service chain over the lifecycle of the associated service infrastructure. This paper focuses on access to the upfront finance and other lumpy finance needs for initial investment and for rehabilitation and/or replacement as physical systems approach their end of life.
Download full paper

For further information about these papers or the organisations, please contact:
Antoinette Kome (SNV) – akome@snv.org
Juliet Willetts (ISF) on Juliet.willetts@uts.edu.au

International Women’s Day in Asia: celebrating women in sanitation

In a new video, Mayadevi and Kaman (Nepal),  Toan and Thinh (VietNam) and  Tshering, Drukda, Tashi and Deschen (Bhutan) share stories about women’s participation, leadership and their changing roles in promoting sanitation and hygiene in  Nepal, Bhutan and Viet Nam.

The video is from SNV’s Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All Programme (SSH4A), which has been implemented by local governments and partners in 17 districts across Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Viet Nam and Cambodia since 2008. It aims to provide one million people with access to improved hygiene and sanitation facilities by the end of 2015. As the approach aims at addressing access to sanitation for all, addressing gender issues and inequalities is key.

SSH4A is a partnership between SNV, the Governments of the Netherlands, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Viet Nam and Cambodia in Asia and the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre with support from AusAID and DFID.

Learn more about SSH4A at www.snvworld.org/node/3779 and www.irc.nl/ssh4a

In Bangladesh, IRC is supporting BRAC  to measure behavioural change in the   BRAC  WASH II programme. Christine Sijbesma of IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and Mahjabeen Ahmed of the BRAC share their thoughts and experiences with monitoring sanitation and hygiene behaviour of women in the programme in a recent blog post [1].

The QIS monitoring system that is being used gives special attention to gender and sanitation. First because many of the indicators differentiate between women and men. Secondly because data collection for each sample is duplicated by a male and a female monitoring team.  Interestingly, preliminary results show that virtually all the male and female monitoring teams members gave the same scores for the gender indicators.

[1] Bangladeshi women catch up on sanitation, IRC, 08 March 2013

Bhutan: Learning to make latrines

Zow Yongba, 62, a carpenter from Nanong gewog in Pemagatshel, travelled nine hours by bus to Autso in Lhuentse and then walked for another five hours to get to Jarey gewog.

Twelve others from his gewog also took the same journey to attend a 12–day training on sanitation and latrine construction, which ends on December 2, 2009. Of the 35 carpenters and masons attending, 22 are from Jarey.

35 masons and carpenters pick up new skills. Photo: Kuensel Online

The masons and carpenters, after theoretical lessons in the morning, are constructing four different types of latrines to be showcased to public during the first sanitation fair, which will be held from December 2- 5 at Lhadrong, Jarey gewog. These are the ventilated pit latrine, the ventilated double pit latrine, the pour-flush with off-set twin pit and the pour-flush with septic tank.

“Although we have carpentry skills, there are new concepts and ideas I’m learning from this training,” said Zow Yongba. “I’m hearing of a double pit latrine for the first time.”

The carpenters are being oriented on the latrine door with respect to wind, installation of vent pipe, hand-washing facilities and depth of pit.

The training of carpenters and masons is a follow up of the community sanitation and demand creation (CSDC) workshop according to water and sanitation specialist Karma Tenzin with SNV Bhutan, which is providing the technical assistance. SNV Bhutan is currently intervening in rural sanitation and piloting in four gewogs of Sarpang, Laya, Pemagatshel and Lhuentse dzongkhags.

“The training hopes to create a demand for better and sustainable hygiene and practice and adopting appropriate, affordable and sustainable sanitation solutions, using both locally available and imported materials,” said Karma Tenzin.

Karma Tenzin said that, although a majority of households have some sort of latrine, not many are functioning as they should. Most latrines do not have vent pipe to curb the problem of bad smell and flies, while some latrines are constructed far away from the house. Some latrines are very small in size making it difficult for users.

Once completed, these latrines will be handed over to their respective owners, who contributed the material for construction.

A similar latrine construction course was conducted in December 2008.

Source: Kuensel Online, 26 Nov 2009

Bhutan: students to dignify sanitation

[On 19 May 2009] at Harmony, the centenary youth village, students and teachers from six schools in Thimphu attended the inauguration of a five-day workshop on school sanitation and hygiene education. “This was organised for exchange of ideas between students of India and Bhutan on health and sanitation,” said the head of comprehensive school health program, department of youth and sports, Rinzin Wangmo.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, who is world renowned for starting the sanitation movement and improving public health, said, “Children are more receptive to new ideas. Students serve as media for spreading the message of sanitation in homes and influence their parents to adopt toilets.” Dr Pathak added, “But the mere provision of sanitation facilities is not enough. It’s the use of latrines and hygiene behaviour of people that provides health benefits. Dignity to sanitation should be taught to them so that they have no shame cleaning their toilets.”

The workshop will be attended by 60 students from lower secondary schools in Thimphu, school health coordinators and 10 school dropouts to discuss sanitation practices with ten students from Orissa, India, and 13 Sulabh international officials.

Addressing the gathering, the education minister Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel said, “[…] sanitation today becomes even more pertinent, because the greater the level of consumption, the greater the level of litter and waste.”

Source: Sonam Pelden, Kuensel Online, 20 May 2009

Bhutan, Trashigang: country’s first eco-friendly sewerage treatment plant commissioned

With the country’s first eco-friendly sewerage treatment plant commissioned on Monday, 17 November [2008], residents of Trashigang town finally got a solution to an ever-mounting problem.

Dedicated to the coronation and centenary celebrations, the new plant, built with a Nu 9.1 m DANIDA funding, will collect sewage from 58 houses in town.

AEC eco-line® plant in Thimphu

AEC eco-line® plant in Thimphu

[…] “The plant uses only microbes (bacteria) to treat the sewage and no chemicals are used. It won’t emit any smell,” said the plant’s inventor and managing director of Advanced Environmental Control, Mr Jan Hyttel from Denmark. […] Zeko of Sangsel Eco Trade, the distributor of the [eco-line®] plant in Bhutan, said that the plant has an optimum capacity of 850 houses and is suitable for remote areas.

[I]n the past, house owners had to clean their septic tanks, discarding all the waste in the nearby stream. Most residents in the town share toilets with neighbours because of lack of space [and] have to pay to empty the tanks.

[…] Two similar projects are underway in Tsirang town and the ministers’ enclave in Motithang, Thimphu.

Source: Tshering Palden, Kuensel Online, 20 Nov 2008

Clean Bhutan: a gift to the King

Determined to offer a “Clean Bhutan” as a gift to the new King, about 1,300 civil servants, police, business people, school children and local villagers equipped with shovels, sickles, spades and RSPN sacks carried out the “Clean Bhutan” campaign in Trashigang municipal area

[…] Trashigang Dzongda Dorji Norbu addressing the gathering said that it was a fitting way to celebrate the occasions of centenary of Wangchuck dynasty and coronation of the fifth king.

[…] “Through the campaign we can also pass the message of hygiene and sanitation to the people,” the dzongda said.

Read more: Tshering Palden, Kuensel Onlne, 30 Oct 2008

Millions mark UN hand-washing day

Millions of children around the world are marking the United Nations’ first Global Handwashing Day.

In India, cricket star Sachin Tendulkar will be leading the campaign that will see children across South Asia simultaneously washing their hands.

The UN says it wants to get over the message that this simple routine is one of the most effective ways of preventing killer diseases.  (…)

(…) From Kabul to Karachi and from Delhi to Dhaka, millions of children will take part in the campaign and pledge to embrace more hygienic practices by the simple act of washing their hands.  India has recruited one of the country’s biggest sporting icons, cricket star Sachin Tendulkar, to be the face of the campaign. Washing hands will be the topic of Afghan television and radio talk shows and Pakistani newscasts.  Nepal’s new Maoist government is sending out mobile text messages. In Bhutan, special animated videos have been made with Bhutanese characters (…)

Read all BBCNews.co.uk and UNICEF, 14 Oct 2008

Bhutan: despite the “toilet revolution”, high coverage has not lead to high use

Having worked as a primary health care professional for over a decade, Dr. Damber Kumar Nirola, Psychiatrist at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) has “witnessed a slow but steady “toilet revolution” over the years”. He personally witnessed the “the evolution of toilets from open fields to gunny sack structures to simple pits to ventilated pits to pour flush to water closet, and the most recent western type of commode”.

Dr. Nirola’s “earliest recollection of a “toilet” was a relatively flat stone located some fifty feet away from our house, which could fit at least three children at once. This stone was positioned in such a way that faeces would fall directly to the slope below. Open defecation was a problem only when it rained; we’d get soaked and also fall prey to leeches. Another problem were stray mongrels, which would appear behind us without warning to devour the fresh excreta, at times even offering to clean us up!”

In the 1990s a sanitation campaign was launched in Bhutan, which resulted by 2000 in “almost 100% latrine coverage”.

“In spite of such progress”, Dr. Nicola laments, “we still find our public toilets clogged with sticks and stones, and with faeces scattered on our footpaths even in cities! Something is amiss! Are we slipping back in time or have we failed to evolve with our toilets?”

“Although the provision of latrines is relatively high, the conditions are very poor and the amount of usage is low, ” says Ugyen Rinzine, chief engineer of the public health engineering division. Although rural people had adequate knowledge on water and sanitation-related diseases, there was little change in their behaviour. “This is because of a lack of appropriate communication approach with rural communities and the absence of choice of latrine technologies.”

In May 2008, the public health engineering division organised a workshop on rural sanitation, which discussed plans to implement a community led total sanitation (CLTS) strategy and proposals for a national rural sanitation and hygiene programme. A scoping study conducted by SNV Bhutan in 2007 found that the sanitation situation in community schools and religious institutions (temples and monastic schools) in Bhutan was poor.

The non-use of sanitation facilities is illustrated by the case of Trongsa town. “Despite having two ‘pay and use’ toilets, which have been out of use for about six years”. “Today, only a few dogs visit the one storey toilet in Thruepang” and “the municipal sweeper uses the other toilet as a residence”.

The public toilets were not used because of their location outside the main town area and because people weren’t willing to pay. “Although the municipal office had planned to repair and reuse the facilities, the municipality did not have funds”.

Sources: Dr Damber Kumar Nirola, Kuensel Online, 11 Aug 2008 ; Tandin Wangchuk, Kuensel Online, 01 May 2008 ; Tashi Dema, Kuensel Online, 07 Jul 2008

See also: Training on participatory approaches, Bhutan, IRC, Dec 2007

Bhutan, Gelephu: mosquitoes breed in delayed sewerage system

Stagnant waters fill the trenches dug all over town and pipes lie along the roadside. Gelephu’s modern sewerage system, aimed at improving hygiene and sanitation and controlling mosquitoes in summer, is now helping to breed mosquitoes.

[The sewerage system] was supposed to have been completed on February 4 this year but got delayed because of the unavailability of sewerage pipes, the heavy monsoon last year and lack of manpower, according to Gelephu municipal officials. The deadline was extended to June 4, but this time the unavailability of the master pipe [of the required quality and price] is the cause of delay.


Meanwhile, Gelephu residents are not only concerned about the delay but also with the cost of getting connected to the network. Gelephu residents will have to bear the cost of connecting their private houses to the main sewer line, unlike Thimphu and Phuentsholing residents where the connection was done free.


In the first phase of the DANIDA-funded project, Nu 26 million was being spent to lay a network of underground sewer lines in the core area of the town to connect 350 households to the sewer network.


The sewer network will flow into a Nu 34 million treatment plant, that is being constructed below the vegetable market, about 400 metres from the Indo-Bhutan border.

Source: Tashi Dema, Kunesel Online, 24 Jul 2008