WaterAid Bangladesh started its work in 1986. It has successfully collaborated with 21 organizations in Bangladesh up to now, to alleviate the sufferings from scarce water supply and low sanitation standards in poverty-plagued villages.
With WaterAid Bangladesh rendering their help in the technical field, The Village Education Resource Centre (VERC) introduced the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) model. It aims to educate villagers on the harmful effects that open defecation brings to the environment and to their health. In addition, the CLTS programme help to build toilets for the local communities so as to facilitate them in shifting to a more hygienic lifestyle. UNICEF recognized that the programme had been so impactful in Bangladesh that many organizations and countries had replicated it.
In 2011, the additional number of people who could access to water and sanitation thanks to WaterAid’s programme is 259,000 and 536,000 respectively. WaterAid is currently working with Bangladesh government to build the National Sanitation Strategy, which would help them to reach universal access to sanitation by 2015. Recognizing WaterAid’s efforts and the change that they made in running the National Sanitation Campaign together with other NGOs, Bangladesh government presented the National Sanitation Award to WaterAid as a gesture of appreciation.
Latrine design and construction-
WaterAid encouraged local villagers to design and construct better latrine for themselves. This empowered people to be more involved and learn more about sanitation in the process. Furthermore, local participants could personalize it to fit their preferences and needs.
WaterAid also introduced a programme called “Naming and Shaming”, in which anyone caught defecating in the open would have their names taken down and made known to the whole community. Explaining why this works, Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex) stated that it triggered people’s pride and feelings so strongly that they were highly motivated to change, i.e., building their own toilets and stop open defecation.
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (Switzerland) stated that 49 out of 80 unions had attained 100% sanitation coverage.
Hygiene education- WaterAid Bangladesh
WaterAid brought across the message of sanitation and hygienic defecation to the young by collaborating with a local music-theatre performance troupe who performed various educational for children.
However, WaterAid does face some difficulties: almost unable to seek support and donations from companies in Bangladesh to ensure a high hygienic level. Mr. Mohammed Sabur, the Director of WaterAid Bangladesh said that since labour was abundant, companies were not afraid of labour shortage should their employees fall sick. The only companies likely to support the program were those with benefits in mind such as Unilever, who wanted to sell more soap.
WaterAid’s role to create infrastructures and raising awareness about this matter over the years has helped many countries to tackle the pandemic in present time. Water is one of the most important elements to support life and the organization has made it their mission to ensure that everyone has access to it. In recent times WaterAid is needed more than ever as global warming and climate change is threatening clean water access in many countries. More countries should come forward and join the organization to ensure they reach their goal by 2030. Everyone should be aware of the work they do and contribute in anyway, they can. If we want to reach our Sustainable Development Goals, we must contribute to WaterAid and help their cause in any way we can.