The ‘Combined Meeting for the Project ‘Strengthening of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Services in Selected Areas of SAARC Countries’ was organized as part of experience and knowledge sharing visits amongst the Implementing Agencies (IAs), Counterpart Agencies (CAs) and SDF from December 27-28, 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The meeting was organized with objectives to: 1) evaluate the progress made by IAs; 2) facilitate the exchange of experiences between IAs; 3) discuss the issues/ problems being faced by different IAs and agree on solutions to solve the same; 4) review and discuss the sustainability plan/revenue generation model for the project; 5) update IAs on SDF policies and procedures; 6) discuss on project closure procedures and formats; and 7) enhance the collaboration among the SAARC countries/IAs.

Followed by the welcome note by Dr. Sunil Motiwal, Chief Executive Officer of SAARC Development Fund (SDF), presentations on the status of WASH Project was made by Implementing Agencies (IAs) of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Also, SDF policy, procedures, project closure requirements and fund status of Individual Implementing Agency was presented by Yangchen Dukar, Program Officer of SDF.

The Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) as the IA in Bhutan along with IAs in India and Sri-lanka were applauded for the good outcomes of the WASH project, and were acknowledged for effectively managing the fund, imparting maximum benefits to the rural communities and coordinating the project within the time frame. During the meeting, the Counterpart Agencies (CAs) and Implementing Agencies (IAs) of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka unanimously agreed to have WASH Phase-II; and SEWA-India shall lead the proposal concept development; and SEWA-India proposed for a similar field visit to Gujrat, India in 2018 and SDF has accepted the proposal.

 On December 28, 2017, a day-long field visit to Agrarian Service Centre at Angunakalapelessa in Matara District in south center of Sri Lanka was organized. The officials from the Implementing Agencies (IAs) met with the Agriculture Extension Officials and beneficiary communities. The team also visited the Water Reservoir built for irrigation through SDF funding as part of WASH Project activity. The team learnt about drinking and irrigation water issues faced by Sri Lanka despite being an island country and receiving abundant rainfall throughout the year. However, it was observed that Sri Lanka has conserved its limited secondary forest and natural resources efficiently; and is very advanced in terms of technology and expertise.

 

The WASH project in two Gewogs of Phuntshopelri and Yoeseltse in Samtse Dzongkhag was implemented by RSPN with the fund support from SDF in 2014.

 

 

 

Reported by: Tsheten Dorji, WASH Project Officer