Bangladesh, with a population of 165million has made significant progress towards providing water supply and sanitation in the last two decades. 97 % people of Bangladesh have access to basic minimum service of safe water, but safely managed water is 56%, however with no mention of safely managed or improved service and 47 % people use basic sanitation facilities while 22% use only limited (shared) facilities and the remaining 31% use unimproved facilities (JMP 2017).
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that health-care associated infections affect up to 30% of patients (WHO 2008), yet basic WASH requirements are not met in many health-care settings. Similarly, although the WASH situation in Bangladesh improved overall, including 84% of schools having toilets, only 24% of schools had improved and functional and clean toilets, while only 45% were unlocked (UNICEF 2019). These data indicated that lack of good sanitation and hand washing infrastructure at schools and at health facilities may hamper efforts to improve hand washing and sanitation behaviours in the institutional settings. 66% of women and adolescent girls used dirty cloths during menstruation. 30% girls student remain absent from school for 3 days in each month due to lack proper MHM facilities in school (BBS: national hygiene survey 2019).
About the WASH Alliance in Bangladesh
The WASH Alliance International (WAI) is a consortium of international Civil Society Organizations lead by Simavi. WASH Alliance partners are working together towards a society where all people are able to assert and realize their human rights to water and sanitation. The core work of the WAI is to facilitate the strengthening of the WASH sector so that it is able to meet the WASH needs (drinking water, sanitation and hygiene) of a growing population in a sustainable manner.
The WASH SDG WAI sub-programme implemented in Bangladesh aims to do this, through a 4-pathway approach (see below) with 6 partner organizations, being Development Organisation of the Rural Poor (DORP), Hope for the Poorest (HP), Practical Action, SLOPB, Uttaran and Wateraid Bangladesh. The work is coordinated by Simavi and supported as well by Dutch NGOs Aidenvironment, Waste, Ruaf, Practica, IRC, and Akvo.
Currently, as part of the WASH SDG programme, the WAI partners work in Barguna and Satkhira Sadar Upazila, as well as in the Municipalities of Satkhira, Kolaroa, Barguna, Betagi, Amtali and Patharghata. Since 2021, the WAI sub-programme is also implemented in additional unions of the Tala Upazila, Barguna and Betagi Upazila, as well as in Kalapara Municipality and three tea garden areas in Sreemongal Upazila of Moulovibazar district.
Goal of WAI in Bangladesh
To promote an enabling environment for the provision of innovative, inclusive and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services in Bangladesh.
How do we work towards that goal?
We are working towards a society where all people are able to assert and realize their right to sustainable access to safe drinking water in sufficient quantities, adequate sanitation and hygienic. We do this through, among others, capacity development of civil society organisations; by influencing policy makers; networking with other organisations for a common advocacy strategy, dissemination of knowledge, facilitate the formation process of a local coordination structure, innovate inclusive business approaches.
The WASH SDG programme
In Bangladesh, SNV and WAI are implementing the WASH SDG programme. The country WAI sub programmes are built on four core strategic objectives, namely (1). Improving demand and use of equitable and sustainable WASH services; (2) Increased participation of women and the socially excluded; (3) Improved public sector equitable and sustainable WASH service delivery and governance; (4) Improved private sector sustainable and equitable WASH service delivery.
The WAI sub program works towards total coverage, leaving no one behind, gender equality and social inclusion, putting emphasis on closing gaps in service delivery, especially in low-income communities, around professionalization of services and sustainability. There is a special focus on WASH services for the poor and marginalized women. The major activities are:
- Activated the coordination structure and made it functional at municipality (Town level coordination committee (TLCC), Ward level coordination committee (WLCC), Multi Stakeholders coordination committee (MSCC) and Union Paishad level Union Coordination committee, WATSAN, WASH & DRR standing committee etc.
- Awareness raising and demand creation: Formation of community groups mostly chaired by female, health education to these committees and generation of WASH demand.
- Increase women’s participation in decision making at household and local government level.
- Training on gender and social inclusion.
- Social mapping: to identify actual WASH scenario. Provide education to the community people and monitor progress of WASH. LGI representatives are linked to these meetings.
- Entrepreneurship: Develop WASH entrepreneurs and provide training to these entrepreneurs on business, financial management, market development and customer satisfaction. Linking them with the micro finance and financial institutions for loan.
- Formation of WASH entrepreneurs associations.
- Introduce climate resilient WASH technologies.
- Pre-budget meeting at the community and open budget session to ensure transparencies in Local Government Institutions (LGIs).
- Enhance participation of civil society organization and Pani Committee (Water Committee) to secure WASH-related rights.
- Advocacy and Lobby: Linking the local level advocacy issue to the national level advocacy. Revision of national level WASH related policies to ensure better WASH services and increase WASH budget.
The Bangladesh WASH Alliance (BWA) is a consortium of fourteen Bangladeshi NGOs, that is Thesewhich have or are involved in NGOS received funding from the WASH Alliance International programmes Programme from 2011-2016. Phase-1 officially closed in June 2017. However these NGOs are continuing as member of BWA. The partners are:
- AIMS Bangladesh
- Bangladesh Association for Social Advancement (BASA)
- Development Organization of the Rural Poor (DORP)
- Gano Milan Foundation
- Geo-ecology Research Team (GeRT)
- Hope for the Poorest (HP)
- Jagrata Juba Sangha (JJS)
- Mukti Foundation
- Practical Action Bangladesh
- WaterAid Bangladesh
Nice to know
Over the last 6 years, the BWA achieved an additional 248,837 people that have access to and use improved sanitation facilities and additional 229,989 people use improved water resources. Per capita WASH delivery cost has reduced from €10 in 2013 to €9 in 2015. BWA has targeted to reduce per capita cost to through accelerating WASH. Per capita cost yet to be calculated in 2019
- Capacity development of the partner organisations and civil society organisations to enhance skills for better implementation of the project
- Influence policy-makers for pro-poor and equitable WASH allocation in the national budget with particular emphasis on hard-to-reach, climate vulnerable and poverty prone areas.
- Provide inputs to government organisations for revision and formulation of the policies and strategies.
- Arrange national level seminars, workshops, round table discussions and TV talk shows to influence policy makers for enabling sector policies and strategies strengthening.
- Networking with other civil society organisations for a common advocacy strategy with the government.
- Dissemination of knowledge, technology and development issues with relevance to Bangladesh’ water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.
- Facilitate the formation process of a local coordination structure and link them with local government institutions for sustainability of the programme.
- Inclusion of gender and social issues in the programme of the member organisations.
- Innovate an inclusive business approach for WASH. This will enable private sector to invest in WASH.
- Entrepreneurship development at local level for sustainable finance and WASH services; encourage private sector participation.
- Inclusive entrepreneurship and business approach for WASH business in the WAI area. Business approach has been developed to ensure sustainable WASH service at the community level. The micro finance and financial institutions are providing loans to the entrepreneurs for business expansion. Livelihood of the entrepreneurs has increased.
- Development of gender and social inclusive budget monitoring tool. This tool has been used for tracking public WASH budget and also expenditure. The WASH budget allocation for women and socially excluded persons can easily be identified with this tool. This creates evidence for lobby and advocacy with the government WASH service providers. Budget tracking process is also useful to increase WASH budget at the local government level.
- Community based monitoring tools to monitor WASH behavioural changes. This tool has been considered as an effective tool to monitor WASH behaviour change in the community. A pictorial chart was used and households of that community are marked. The community people visit house by house and observe behavioural changes and mark it in the sheet.
- Use of revolving fund for water supply option and toilets and 100% recovery of loan. The WAI partner has created a fund for WASH service delivery. They are providing loans to the community people to buy water supply options (hand tube well) and toilets. The partners are helping them to install the toilets and the hand tube well. The partners are taking a small profit margin to maintain costs. The same fund is revolving in the community and ensuring WASH services.
- Use of citizen score card to measure effectiveness of public service delivery. This is a matrix of government service providers’ quality. The Civil society WASH group meet with the community people to score the service level out of 10. The score card is also shared with the government service provider to increase the level of WASH services.
Important to know
Government of Bangladesh has formed SDG Coordination cell under the Prime Minister’s Office. This office is responsible to coordinate SDGs in Bangladesh. A site has been developed called SDG tracker: www.sdg.gov.bd The website of the Policy Support Branch of Local Government Division: http://www.psb.gov.bd/policies.php provides necessary information related to WASH sector in Bangladesh.