Access to Safe Water and Sanitation in Bangladesh

Apr 18, 2011

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor in Dhaka

Bangladeshi Girls Attending Learning Session
Bangladeshi Girls Attending Learning Session

CARE Bangladesh is implementing a Water and Sanitation project for the urban poor as part of a larger program in to improve water and sanitation services in Mirpur, an area of Dhaka. This program directly improves access to sanitation, better hygiene, and safe water services on a sustainable basis for 1000 households in two slums in Mirpur.

Last December, CARE Bangladesh hosted a video crew from ABC News for a holiday special on “giving back.” One of the projects featured focused on the water/sanitation project in the Kalshi Balur Math Slum. Producers interviewed one female community participant named Parvin, a 35 year old woman who lost her 3-year-old son due to diarrhea. The story on Parvin aired December 17th. ABC News producers wanted their viewership to have an opportunity to make a difference, and thus the Global Giving opportunity to raise funds began. Through the support of ABC News viewers, long-term solutions for clean water and sanitation are possible in Kalshi Balur Math.

The Kalshi project primarily emphasizes installation of water points and hygienic latrines along with hygiene promotional awareness sessions.


 During this first quarter, December 2010-March 2011, CARE Bangladesh has completed the following activities.

  • Sharing Meeting with Staff: CARE has organized meetings with all exiting Water/Sanitation project staff. The major objective was to have a common understanding about the ABC News project. Additionally, we discussed how to implement the specific Kalshi work in line with existing water/sanitation efforts.
  • Community Meeting Organized:  A meeting with community participants was held to share news about the project, and how it will be implemented. Specifics around the installation of water points and latrines were also discussed.
  • Hygiene Promotion Session with Child Group: About 500 children between the ages of 5-10 live in the area where the project is being implemented. CARE Bangladesh has organized one hygiene promotion session for these children, thus far. The session's main goal is to build awareness of the importance of personal hygiene, particularly washing hands with soap. The first meeting had 30-35 children in attendance. Before the end of the project, CARE will reach all the children in Kalshi. To encourage attendance, CARE has incorporated children-appropriate playing and drama, and used pictorial flip charts so that the children learn, remember the messages and practice regularly.

    The children of the community are disadvantaged and so deprived. They lack access to education, health services and even proper nutrition. There is no space for play and little display of affection from parents. They play in the mud and roll around in the dust of the slum. Therefore, these sessions are seen as providing hope. Attendees are enthusiastic about learning. When CARE Bangladesh team members visit, children eagerly ask, “Aunty, when will the child group have water sessions again?"
  • Hygiene Promotion Session with Adolescent Girl: Hygiene promotion sessions also conducted with adolescent girl of the Kalshi Balur Math slum. They are 10 to 16 years old. Most of them do not go to school rather involved in household work. Few of them are engaged in work for earning. They shared that we are facing lots of problem especially because of Water and sanitary latrine. They were so emotional while sharing that during menstrual period our problem is incomparable than other time. 

Group Session with Child and Adolescent Group on World Water Day: On World Water Day 2011, CARE Bangladesh arranged an event focusing on the importance of safe water and healthy hygiene habits.

Observations/Lessons Learned: 

  • Children and adolescents are unaware about healthy hygiene behavior and its importance on their health. Incorporating interactive sessions with fun games has been effective in delivering needed messages.
  • Slum dwellers, especially children, are suffering from water-borne diseases like diarrhea, hepatitis and typhoid. Malnutrition is also common.
  • Water is available but inadequate. Most of the latrines are unhygienic. The adolescent girls’ problems are most significant, especially during menstruation. There are no toilets in the slum. Girls are very shy to share what is happening to their bodies, even with their mothers. CARE Bangladesh's adolescent girls forum gives them a platform where they can share their problems. They were very happy that now they have someone to talk about their issue.   
  • After the installation of safe water and sanitary latrines, CARE Bangladesh will continue to focus on changing the hygiene behavior of the community, especially children and adolescents.
Learning Session Attendees
Learning Session Attendees

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Organization Information


Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Melanie Minzes
Washington, DC United States

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