At the Well
Why are more tubewells needed?
Children in Southern Bangladesh face frequent illness as a result of consuming unclean water. The geography and climate mean that obtaining safe water is difficult. Water which is in ponds or is close to the surface is usually salty, is often contaminated by arsenic, and becomes contaminated with organic wastes during storms and floods. For this reason, tubewells need to be drilled an average of 1,000 feet. This is something which the poor households and communities served by Save the Children are unable to pay for on their own.
How is Save the Children identifying areas to install tubewells?
In each community Save the Children facilitates social and resource mapping. This is a participatory process to identify assets, such as schools and vaccination centers, and risks, such as areas prone to flooding. Through this process, communities themselves prioritize groups of highly vulnerable households without access to safe drinking water.
How much do tubewells cost?
Each tubewell costs about US$1,000 to build. There are other costs which are needed to ensure that the overall water and sanitation situation improves, and these contributions are made by communities. For example, each community where we install a tubewell commits to building sanitary latrines and a lined pit for disposing of wastewater.
Who maintains the tubewells?
Each community selects two caretakers, one man and one woman. Save the Children provides these caretakers with training and tools needed to maintain the tubewell. In Uttar Lamchuri, the caretaker Farook (shown in photo) noted that he was very happy to provide this service to his village as he has already seen the incidence of diarrhea and skin infections among children decrease. He is also pleased that women, who used to collect water from a distant market place, have more time available to devote to income-earning activities and childcare.
Where are tubewells needed most?
There are a variety of settings where tubewells are needed but schools are a key priority. When children are not able to get clean water and sanitation facilities at school, they get sick more often. This means they are not able to attend school and are less able to learn. So tubewells at schools are critical for the development and future of communities in Bangladesh.