Access to Safe Water and Sanitation in Bangladesh

Jan 17, 2012

4th Quarter Update to CARE's Water and Sanitation Program in Bangladesh

Adolescent Girls Group
Adolescent Girls Group

Quick Background

Since June 2010, CARE Bangladesh has been implementing a Water and Sanitation project for the urban poor in Dhaka, improving water, sanitation and hygiene services for 1,000 households of the Kalshi Slum in the Mirpur area of Dhaka.

With little access to affordable and safe drinking water or sanitation facilities, most of the population had used unhygienic hanging latrines or openly defecated, polluting the whole environment. In this situation, severe health concerns are prevalent: diarrheal diseases and other water-borne diseases are very high; infant and child mortality is a constant threat; and pregnant mothers face the very real risk of maternal mortality, suffering from diarrheal diseases during pregnancy.

September-December 2011 - Latest Achievements 

Installation of Water Points and Sanitary Latrines: Construction work has neared completion, as two water points and six communal latrines in the Kalshi Balur Math and Kurmitola Relief Camp slums have been developed. A latrine and drain construction remains to be completed. 

In step with the construction, all formalities to establish a legal water connection from the local water municipality  have been completed. People are now using legal water from these sources.

Women in particular have expressed their gratitude. The time and physical hardship in collecting water from distant resources have both decreased significantly. Women can give more time to their families. And importantly, because the communal latrines are in place, open defecation has gone down; the community is living with dignity.  

Construction of Drains: Previously in the slum, dirty household and rain water would collect because drains were non-existant. Four main drains - about 315 meters long - have been completed, thus improving the entire drainage system. 

Hygiene Promotion Sessions: CARE has conducted intensive hygiene promotional sessions, focusing on handwashing and using soap. During this quarter, women, adolescent girls, and children attended specialized sessions, often attending in the courtyard of group households, at home, or at schools. To date, CARE has organized 180 one-on-one and group sessions on proper and safe hygiene, reaching 1,600 participants.

Skill Development Training for Adolescent Girls on Health and Hygiene: During this quarter, CARE conducted one skill development training for adolescent girls, with 33 participants ages 11-16 attending. Using a highly participatory methodology, the goal of the training was to inform girls about health and hygiene issues, and develop their capacity to problem-solve issues related to their peer group. Specific objectives included: 1) Participants know about personal hygiene and menstrual hygiene; 2) Participants know the importance of hand-washing and can incorporate it into their daily lives; 3) Participants can identify problems and determine how to solve them; 4) Participants know the  necessity of an Adolescent Girls group and how these groups can function to achieve common goals.

The girls enjoyed the training a great deal. They were very spontaneous and actively participated. Moreover, they fully understood the importance of hygiene promotion and their role to disseminate that importance to other peers and community members.

Leadership Training for Potential Women Leaders of the Community: Over two days in December, CARE conducted one leadership training for 27 women. The main objective of the training was to develop the leadership skills of key community women, so that they can lead the hygiene promotional work at the community level. A secondary, but vital, objective of this training was to provide some introductory skills on negotiation, coordination and womens' rights to facilitate the women's growing roles as leaders in their community. 

The main issues discussed in the training were: 

  1. Health and Hygiene and women’s role of hygiene promotion at the community level
  2. Women’s rights and the role of women leaders
  3. Negotiation skills
  4. Leadership and what constitutes women's leadership
  5. Participation and how to increase women’s participation in development work
  6. The role of women in organizations, especially Community-Based Organizations
  7. What is women's empowerment? What does it mean to empower a woman?
  8. What are causes of violence against women, and can we reduce it?

Maintenance Group Training: For each infrastructure constructed as part of this project, two community members have been selected to lead maintenance. Thus, 16 people are charged with looking after the community latrines and water points. In this quarter, CARE conducted one refresher training for the Maintenance Group, to impart practical techniques on repair and maintaining the infrastructure. Participants learned the importance of maintenance, how to take effective action against identified problems, how to collect funds from community members and pay the water bills, and how to best communicate with and get support from the government agencies in charge of water access in the area.

Improve the Garbage Management System of the Slums: To improve the garbage management system of the slum, two vans were provided to two CBOs. A Local Ward counselor, Mr. Abur Rauf Nanu, handed over the vans to CBO secretary Mr. Zoynal. The CBOs will be maintain these vans and collect household daily garbage from each house and drop those to an official dumping point. They will collect a fixed amount of money from each household to pay the garbage van collector.

ABC News Sharing Workshop: In late December, CARE hosted a sharing workshop for a number of stakeholders, including: ward officials, CBO and NGO representatives, city officials, and representatives from the Dhaka water association. A very productive conversation ensued, as many spoke about the achievements reached through this project.

Abu Sayed, Secretary of DCC Ward # 5, said: "I have been working with many organizations, but they don’t provide integrated packages like hardware and software. We are glad to know that with the help of the ABC News fund, CARE Bangladesh has provided latrines, water points, a van for waste management, drains and hygiene behavior messages. All will be very helpful for the community people. When we conduct the ward sanitation taskforce meeting, we promised to continue the services."

Conclusion: The support of those associated with this fund has enabled CARE to implement a comprehensive water and sanitation initiative for poor people living in two slums of Dhaka. Without such generous support, it would not be possible to meet all of the needs around infrastructure and personal hygiene awareness in this area.

New Latrine and Water Point
New Latrine and Water Point

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Organization Information


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

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