Changing lives with clean water
Fastflow Chief Executive Neil Armstrong is off to Nepal in two weeks time to see what a difference his company's £68,000 donation to WaterAid has made to the people of Birantnagar.
He will write several blogs during his six day visit and below are his thoughts just prior to departure.
"I am travelling to Nepal on the 26th of November for six days, with charity WaterAid, to visit a project Fastflow has been supporting in the south east of the country.
I will be visiting urban communities in Birantnagar, Nepal's second largest city. I will see how water and sanitation services have been helping to transform the lives of people in six areas of the city.
The communities in the project areas are extremely poor and lack the most basic of services. At the start of the project around 70 percent of people didn't even have access to safe, piped water and had to use dilapidated wells and old hand pumps.
Arsenic is found naturally in the ground in the area and often contaminated the water in the wells, causing long term health problems. There was also a huge lack of sanitation because few households had latrines or any hygienic way of dealing with human waste. This meant that disease spread quickly and ill health was common.
Making this trip will give me a real first hand knowledge of the plight of these people, allowing us a true understanding of how we can continue to help and support them. I am sure that it will be a very humbling experience.
With Fastflow's donation of £68,000 - WaterAid its local partner, Lumanti - are reaching some 4,000 people with safe water and 2,200 with improved sanitation.
Activities include installing 20 new water points, rehabilitating 350 existing water points, constructing 400 household latrines and educating the communities on hygiene issues.
I will spend my time visiting the project locations and speaking with communities to find out exactly how this work has impacted on their lives. I will get the opportunity to discuss the project with local schools, the Project Management Committee, representatives from the local authority and the local Citizen's Forum, which campaigned on behalf of the communities for water and sanitation facilities.
Nepal has a population of almost 30 million and is seeing an increasing number of people leave the rural areas to live in its growing cities. This means that cities like Birantnagar are struggling to cope with the rapid increase in population and demands on services.
People are often forced to set up home in make shift settlements with no access to basic services like water, electricity or sanitation. Only 31% of the population of Nepal has proper sanitation, and around 3.5 million people have no access to safe water.
Approximately a third of all deaths in Nepal are of children under five and half of these are attributed to diarrhoeal diseases cause by lack of safe water and sanitation.
We really do take for granted what we have here in western civilisation, in the way of basic services and we all need to keep trying to make a difference in countries like Nepal!!"Neil Armstrong