Considered as “untouchables”, the Musahar community faces discrimination at all levels in Nepal’s society. Their situation was worsened when sanitation and hygiene practices became an issue. Now the Musahar people who live in Gorpak village, Kanchanpur municipality, Saptari district, can hold their heads high, They are a model open-defecation free community following the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness training carried out by Habitat Nepal and its partner organization Mahuli Community Development Center (MCDC). The PASSA group comprising 25 female and five male members identified water, sanitation and hygiene, and house improvement as pressing needs for the 30-household community. Other than training in water, sanitation and hygiene, Habitat Nepal and its partner organization Mahuli installed nine communal water spouts, built 21 toilets, and replaced 21 thatched roofs with tin sheets to prevent fire outbreaks in the dry season.
Lalit Prasad Chaudhary, Project Officer with Mahuli, said: “Providing toilets to the locals who grew up never using them and making them use the toilets is a real challenge.” He added: “Now they are living in better homes and are aware of cleanliness, good hygiene, and have developed the habit of using their toilets. I am very proud of them.”