Bangladesh, with a population of 165million has made significant progress towards providing water supply and sanitation in the last two decades. As of 2020, 59% of the population is using safely managed water services, a 4 percentage point increase since 2016. As for sanitation, the figure is much lower, with 39% of the population using safely managed sanitation services. Inequalities between the poorest and the richest are particularly high when looking only at basic sanitation, but also when looking at the estimated ratio for overall WASH services, which is 4:9 as of 2019. (JMP 2020). Access to WASH in schools and health-care institutions also require careful attention, and so does handwashing and menstrual health.
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 BWA is a consortium of fourteen Bangladeshi NGOs. These are NGOs that have been or are involved in a WASH Alliance International (WAI) programme and receive funding. Some NGOs were part of the WAI programme in Bangladesh from 2011-2016, which is now closed. However, these NGOs are continuing as members of the BWA. These BWA partners are: AIMS Bangladesh; AOSED; Bangladesh Association for Social Advancement (BASA); Dalit; 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; SLOPB; Uttaran; WaterAid Bangladesh.
Since 2017, seven BWA partners are involved in the implementation of the WASH SDG WAI sub-programme in Bangladesh: DORP, HP, SLOPB, Practical Action, Uttaran (together with Dalit), WAB
Highlights of the previous WAI programme can be read here.
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.
- 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.