Bathing in Private is a Luxury

By Gabriel Newman based on information from Suresh Shrestha

In the small villages of Nepal almost all women, except for the few who have private baths or toilets at their house, must bath outside openly at the public tap or traditional sources, such as rivers, wearing their clothes (just opening the area up to the bra). Obviously, this is not ideal from a hygienic perspective or from the perspective of personal freedom and privacy.

Where there are outside toilets/baths with enough space, women may be able to bath their entire body, but this practice is very rare.  Whereas, women who have private bath/toilet at their homes, especially in town with concrete houses, can remove all outer clothes before bathing.

World Neighbours is currently working with TTS to build toilets in Ramechhap but the current design is small and cannot be adapted at this stage of the project to include bathing space. When the design was chosen the issue of women’s bathing was unknown to us and had not been factored in with most projects in the region.

We will however, look at adapting the design for future projects as we think this is an important issue. This would also require incentives to convince villagers to adapt to the idea of a bathing and toilet room.

Christmas Gift Idea!

Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Please consider making a donation to World Neighbours Canada in someone’s name.

Your family member or friend will receive a beautiful handmade card with a photo from one of our programs, and a needy community will benefit from your generosity. Our cards are made individually by our volunteers, so if you would like photos from a particular country that we work in, just let us know!

And remember, the entire amount of your donation will go directly to support one of our programs in Nepal, Burkina Faso, or Honduras.

To arrange this, visit our donation page by clicking here. You can choose to make a one-time or recurring donation of any amount, and enter information about who you would like us to send the card to.

As always, contact us anytime for more information.

The toilet or the house … the perspective from Nepal

by Libby Denbigh, with information from Suresh Shrestha

“The best-laid plans, or, what comes first, the toilet or the house?”

In Nepal, for example, the government has decided to push ahead with a plan to ensure that every village household is equipped with a toilet. The goal is to do away with the centuries-old practice of open defecation in the rural areas. To Western minds, this seems a worthy ambition. But to some Nepali families, those who have lost their houses in the earthquake of 2015, this edict can seem nothing short of ridiculous. Since the quake, many people are still waiting to qualify for government assistance to rebuild their homes. Why, they ask, while camping atop a pile of rubbish that used to be their cozy cottage, why should we build a latrine when what we really need to be doing is putting a roof over our heads?

For Tamakoshi Sewa Samiti, or TSS, our partner NGO in Nepal, and by extension, for World Neighbours Canada, this poses a dilemma. Because of our mandate, our funds from Canadian donations have been earmarked to build toilets in some of these same villages. But there can be resistance from villagers who see this as just a way of putting the proverbial “cart before the
horse”. For some of them, the only way they can see to hold the government accountable for their lack of housing is to say “no” to the construction of toilets. No house, no toilet.

Understandably, TSS is reluctant to be caught in the middle of such a dispute. Luckily most villages which are working with TSS do understand the difference and are still willing to go ahead and install latrines with donations from World Neighbours Canada.

Exploring the Historical Roots in Nepal: Celebrating 28 Years of Partnership

by Navjot Gill, WNC director

As the youngest member on the WNC Board of Directors, I had the unique opportunity to explore the historical roots of our community partnership in Ramechhap, Nepal during a short visit to the country in early January 2017.

Mrs. Durga Ghimire and I sharing 28 years of partnership between WNC and TSS.

This year, we are celebrating 28 years of partnership with Tamakoshi Sewa Samiti (TSS is our partner organization in Nepal). TSS was established in 1984 by the late Mr. Jagadish Ghimire and Mrs. Durga Ghimire. Throughout the years, I have had the pleasure of reflecting back on the early days of the organization through stories that were shared by individuals who have been part of the movement since the 1980s, such as Suresh Shrestha (current program coordinator) and Dr. Suman Karmacharya (current physician at TSS hospital). I remember sitting in the TSS courtyard and following the descriptive narrative of what the buildings and facilities looked like 10, 15, and 20 years ago. Often, I have had the honour of hearing about the Ghimire family, the family’s vision and commitment that inspired the creation of TSS and how their roots in social justice created a community-based foundation for everyone to build from.

This visit, I had the honour of meeting with Mrs. Durga Ghimire and her son, Himal Ghimire. It was truly a unique experience to learn about their journey with social justice, literature, and advocacy in regards to Ramechhap and also at the national level. Mrs. Ghimire is a renowned activist for women’s rights, safe migration and human trafficking. She founded Agroforestry, Basic health and Cooperative Nepal (ABC Nepal), which is an organization that is grounded in advocating for the rights of women and dismantling human trafficking practices. Further, the late Mr. Jagadish Ghimire is remembered by the nation for his great contributions to Nepal’s literature, his lifelong commitment to activism and grassroots planning, and his political contributions. On this occasion, we sat, reflecting back on TSS, sharing a meal together, and fostering a relationship that started 28 years ago by folks at World Neighbours Canada, some who we are still honoured to have on our Board, and others whom we miss dearly.

Donation from Oliver Rotary – much appreciated!

by Russell Work and Dale Dodge, posted by Judy Gray

It was a Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas for all concerned. The Oliver Rotary Club was pleased to be able to make a second donation to World Neighbours Canada in the amount of $4000 for their projects in Nepal. President Jennifer Roussel and International Director, Russell Work were on hand to present the cheque to Director, Dale Dodge.

As Dale Dodge, director with WNC stated: “The money is very welcome and will be put towards the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) Maternal-Child Health project presently under way in Nepal. WNC and their partner Tamakoshi Sewa Samiti (TSS) are working with villagers in Nepal to install 21 gravity fed water systems and 4200 sealed, hygienic toilets in the next 4 years. The project is now into its second year and, despite a huge earthquake in Nepal two years ago, things are moving along well.”


Greeting 2017 positively!

posted by Judy Gray, with quotes from our partners – Vecinos Honduras and APDC

Our partner organizations, Vecinos Honduras and APDC from Burkina Faso have recently sent well-wishes for a prosperous new year and expressed thanks for the support they have received from World Neighbours Canada and Global Affairs Canada. The directors of World Neighbours Canada pass on those wishes and gratitude to all our supporters. We are hoping for peaceful conditions throughout the coming year in all the areas where we are working with people to alleviate poverty. Here are the messages from our partners.

This plantain harvest will help feed the family.

¡Que las fiestas de navidad sean propicias para fortalecer nuestro compromiso por un mundo mejor e iniciar el 2017 con renovadas energías y esperanzas!

~ miembros directivos, personal técnico y administrativo de Vecinos Honduras

gray2026“Nous adressons des voeux de santé, de progrès, de paix et de succès à WNCanada et au Gouvernement Canadien à travers votre Institution. Toute notre vive gratitude à l’égard de vos multiples efforts pour nous soutenir, s’exprime également à travers ces voeux.”

~ Charles Tankoano et toute l’équipe de APDC, ainsi que les communautés de Fada

Introducing our newest Board member

posted by Judy Gray, with information from Libby Denbigh

The Denbigh family in Salleni, Nepal - Libby, our newest Board member on the right
The Denbigh family in Salleni, Nepal – Libby, our newest Board member, wearing a white Tilley hat.

My name is Libby, short for Elizabeth, but nobody calls me that except the bank. My late husband, David Denbigh, was a member of the board of World Neighbours for several years. He passed away suddenly last December and I am honoured to be asked to take his place on the board. I don’t expect to be able to fill his shoes, (they were size eleven, after all) but I will do what I can to help this really important organization. I have seen first hand what money from WNC has accomplished in Nepal as I have been there twice. Our initial interest was spurred by our younger daughter’s death in 2006. Her last wish was that we should find an NGO that worked with the villagers of Nepal. We chose World Neighbours because all of the board are unpaid volunteers. All the money donated goes to fund new water systems in the rural area of Ramechhap in Nepal, or to projects in Honduras and Burkina Faso. We have been supporters ever since. I am a retired primary teacher. I have three children and four grandchildren and I enjoy camping with them in the summer and skiing in the winter. Originally a farm girl from Manitoba, I have lived and worked in Kamloops since 1970. I look forward to serving on the board of WNC for as long as I can be of assistance.

Benefits of BCCIC

by Bruce Petch, WNC director

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

World Neighbours Canada is a member of the BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC), a network of organizations working in international development. I attended the annual general meeting of BCCIC in Vancouver in mid-September. It was a great opportunity to meet with other BC organizations who are also engaged in the alleviation of poverty around the world. BCCIC has provided a number of very useful workshops over the past year, with topics such as project monitoring and donor stewardship. The network also fosters connections with Global Affairs Canada, and a current employee and two retired employees from this branch of the federal government attended the meeting. They were able to provide insights into the functioning of this sector of our government. Lastly, BCCIC is a useful link to “the big picture” of international development. A current focus of attention is the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, a lofty set of goals intended to make the world a better place for everyone by 2030.

Hilidevi- An example of community partnerships

a short excerpt from, “Sustainable Community Development” written by Navjot Gill as a reflection of her 2016 field visits in Ramechhap, Nepal ]

img_4120I had the opportunity to accompany the TSS (Tamakoshi Sewa Samiti – our partner NGO in Nepal) team to the district of Hilidevi for an initial community-wide engagement visit. Here, TSS will support the construction of household toilets. This work will be funded by the Global Affairs Canada grant in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. The community of Hilidevi faces many challenges in health care and development. First, it is extremely isolated. It is a 5-hour drive from Manthli and roads are often closed due to the weather. Second, the community lacks basic necessities. There is no access to electricity and most people have no access to water. Lastly, the village does not have accessible health care, though there is a health post in the district headquarters. With so many challenges, where does development even begin?

The community-wide meeting in Hilidevi gave individuals, families, and service providers an opportunity to discuss some of these challenges. In total, there were 8 TSS personnel and 55 community members, ranging from children, mothers, elders, teachers, health care workers, political leaders and female community health volunteers. TSS project coordinator and board member presented their invitation for collaboratively building household toilets in the district. This was followed by an invitation for community members to discuss their experiences of health care. Themes that circulated the room were access to healthcare services, lack of accessibility due to their geographical location, the need to include and provide for those who cannot afford to build their own toilets, and an agreement that ODF (open defecation free) was a priority for the community. This participatory process ensures community buy-in, allows dialogue and discussion, and further gives community members, like the health services providers, an opportunity to discuss the importance of topics like household toilets in relation to infectious disease.


WNC welcomes a new director

Board of Directors for WNC: (left to right) Judy Gray, Bruce Petch, Laurena Rehbein, Mary Doyle, Graem Nelson, Libby Denbigh, Dale Dodge and Nav Gill

The Annual General Meeting of WNC took place last weekend in Penticton B.C. As always, it was an intense, though very cordial meeting, with many items to cover. Much of the discussion centred on developments dealing with our Maternal Newborn Child Health grant from the federal government. Activities are underway in each of our three project countries; and our partner NGOs are very happy to know that funding will be secure for the next four years. Some Board members are experiencing a very sharp learning curve with respect to the documents required by the government!

We are also very happy to announce that Libby Denbigh has joined WNC Board. We’ll be profiling Libby soon on our website.