What is The Beacon Project?
The Beacon Project was established in 2017 to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to every person living in Lahan, a small town in south-eastern Nepal. We aim to deliver universal, sustainable and safe access to these three essentials by 2030, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 6.
The project is a multi-stakeholder partnership through which we strive to be a model of best practice for delivering water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Nepal and beyond.
The project is supported and funded by Anglian Water, a UK water utility, and its supply chain partners. Funds are raised for the project through charitable events, and technical advice is provided through exchange visits and online meetings. In Nepal, our partners are the Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC), the Ministry of Water Supply (MoWS) and Lahan Municipality. WaterAid staff in Nepal and the UK work as advisors and facilitators for The Beacon Project.
The Beacon Project builds and renovates toilets in schools across Lahan so that thousands of children and teachers have access to decent sanitation during the school day. Here, at Laxman Lalita School and schools like it, decent toilets help students keep healthy and stay in school.
School handwashing stations
The Beacon Project installs handwashing facilities in schools, like this one at Shree Janta Secondary School in Ward 23. School children are also taught good hygiene behaviours by The Beacon Project's local delivery partner, DJKYC.
The project also funds pipeline extensions and community taps in Dalit communities, such as this one in Dinabhadri in Ward 2. As a result, thousands of marginalised people now have access to a reliable and clean source of water near their home.
The Beacon Project funds and coordinates the construction of community toilet blocks, like this one in Ward 2 of Lahan. Hundreds of people can now access sanitation services close to home, instead of suffering the indignity and risk of open defecation.
The project also supports the Nepal Water Supply Corporation to drill and operate boreholes to provide water to the people of Lahan. Here, NWSC employees, Surya Narayan Chaudhary and Ram Narayan Chaudhary, look at the control panel for the water pump in the NWSC office in Lahan.
What has The Beacon Project achieved so far?
Zoom in and out and click on the icons in the map below to explore the different projects. Open the panel on the left-hand-side to see progress over time.
Black = existing infrastructure/offices
Green = completed works
Orange = works in progress
In the years since The Beacon Project started, we have made significant improvements to the water supply in Lahan.
- We drilled eight new boreholes to an improved specification and rehabilitated four old boreholes, enabling NWSC to supply water for ten to 12 hours a day (up from five hours in 2016).
- We installed three chlorine dosing stations to ensure that the water going into the piped network is clean and safe to drink.
- We connected more people to the piped network, meaning 6 out of 10 people in the NWSC supply area are connected (up from 4 out of 10 in 2016).
- We prioritise connections to disadvantaged Dalit communities. Over 700 Dalit people now have access to piped water in their houses.
- We provided safe, clean water in 15 local schools, giving over 4,600 students and teachers access to safe water during the school day.
We work with a local NGO, Dalit JanKalyan Yuba Club (DJKYC), to provide access to decent toilets for thousands of people:
- We have built and renovated toilets in 17 schools, serving over 8,700 students and teachers.
- We have constructed toilet blocks in Wards 2, 5 and 11, providing sanitation for more than 500 people from Dalit households.
- We have also developed plans for Lahan’s first faecal sludge management plant in close collaboration with Lahan Municipality. We will support the construction and management of this facility in the coming years to provide a sustainable and environmentally sound sanitation service to the whole town.
Swastika, 15, is president of the Child Club at her school, which means she champions good hygiene behaviours and cleanliness around the school grounds.
“When I first came to the school there weren’t any facilities. The Beacon Project built separate toilets for boys and girls and installed a bio-sand filter. They gave us classes on menstruation, water, sanitation and hygiene, and training in how to make sanitary pads. All these improvements in our school were only possible because of The Beacon Project.”
Ram Narayan Chaudhary's main responsibility is distribution – making sure water reaches people’s homes. Through The Beacon Project, he and other employees of the Nepal Water Supply Corporation have received training in leakage detection technology, water quality testing and using cameras to inspect the condition of boreholes.
“This is very important for technical people like us, because we can find out the exact situation of the borehole,” says Ram. “With WaterAid’s support, we can identify the risk zone for the leakage. This is very important for water distribution.”
When Pratibha, 14, joined her school a year ago, the toilets were hardly used because there was not enough water to clean them.
"When the toilet facility was not good, it used to disturb our studies. We couldn’t concentrate in class due to the bad smell. The boys used to urinate outside. Since the toilet was not usable, most of us used to go home at lunch time. This affected our studies," says Pratibha.
Now, there is a separate toilet for boys and girls, and handwashing stations. "Compared to the past, the toilets are very comfortable to use," she says."
For years, Nilam Devi Ram, 39, drew water from the nearest well to drink, cook and clean with. Every day, she would wait her turn at the well, sometimes with her family, to fill their buckets. But with so many other people waiting, collecting water often made her children late for school, and Nilam and her husband late for work.
Now, the family has a tap in their yard, providing clean water within easy reach.
‘’I cannot describe the extent of happiness after I saw a drinking tap being installed in my own house," says Nilam. "I never thought a tap would be installed in my own yard."
We also work with DJKYC to promote good hygiene behaviours and provide new facilities for handwashing in Lahan:
- We have installed child-friendly handwashing stations in 17 schools, serving over 8,700 students and teachers.
- We promote good hygiene through local radio and community champions.
- We maintain 50 handwashing stations in public places and healthcare facilities, used by approximately 30,000 people.
- We have hosted 86 community events to promote good hygiene behaviours, reaching over 1,600 people.
- We have visited 25 schools to teach about the importance of handwashing, menstrual hygiene and solid waste management.