In recent years, Nepal has made laudable progress in increasing sanitation coverage nationally, from 43% in 2010 to 81% in 2015. The Government has set a goal of reaching universal sanitation coverage by 2017, and significant work will be required if the country is to meet this objective. Furthermore, large disparities exist between geographic zones. While communities in the hilly and mountain areas of Nepal have made significant progress, the Terai eco-zone, a lowland plains region bordering India, still has the lowest sanitation coverage rates in the country.
Data in 2014 from the 75 districts within Nepal showed the Terai districts of Saptari, Siraha, Sarlahi and Mahottari in the 75th, 74th, 71st and 70th positions, respectively, with regards to sanitation coverage . If Nepal is to achieve its goal of 100% access to improved latrines by 2017, significant efforts need to be channelled towards this region.
After completion of a successful sanitation and hygiene programme in the Mid-Western Development Region, SNV Nepal has received funding to expand to another eight districts, five of which are part of the Terai region: Siraha, Saptari, Sarlahi, Mahottari and Banke. To date, there have been several studies conducted in the Terai region on sanitation. They have focused mainly on drivers and barriers to demand for latrines. However, none of the studies have looked in-depth at what happens once households have acquired a latrine. There is a need for research that examines behaviours following acquisition of a latrine, including consistent use, routine cleaning, operation and maintenance, and handwashing with soap (HWWS) at critical times.