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Promotion of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Hard-to-Reach Areas of Rural Bangladesh

Project Title:   Promotion of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Hard-to-Reach Areas of Rural Bangladesh
Type of Project Water Supply and Sanitation, climate change vulnerability
Duration:   Dec 2011 – Nov 2014
Status:   Ongoing
Financial Support Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Implementing Organizations:   BCAS and NGO FORUM for Public Health
Key words: Water Supply, Sanitation, Hard to Reach Area, Climate Valnerability
Overall Goal:   Contribute to the achievement of national goal on WaSH through context-specific & scalable water supply, sanitation & hygiene services in hard-to-reach areas.
Brief Description:

Bangladesh had been greatly benefited from the International Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation Decades in terms ofWatSan coverage through the continuous initiatives taken by the government and the NGOs. But throughout the Decades and the days ahead, there have been various factors barring the country to reach the ultimate goals. Bangladesh has been fighting against water pollution & crisis, and to continue with its achievement of the highest coverage in safe drinking water supply among the South-East Asian countries. On the other hand, sanitation situation is yet much unimpressive leaving a long way to tread to reach the goal- 'Sanitation for All'. Presently hygiene promotion has been considered a priority area. The harmonized blending of safe water supply, sanitation and hygiene is being promoted in the country. But considering the geophysical and geohydrological situation and its geographical location, Bangladesh is quite vulnerable a country while the climate change phenomena have become the real hurdle on way to reach and sustain the universal success in the field of safe water supply, hygienic sanitation and hygiene practice, especially in the hard-to-reach areas.

The geophysical context of char, haor, exposed coastal areas, flood-prone areas and drought-prone areas are diverse and it is distinctive from location to location. Each of these areas has distinct characteristics and livelihood pattern of the people. In such a diverse socio-economic condition the people of these hard-to-reach areas suffer the most and have very little service and facilities including water and sanitation. The hard-to-reach areas are also extremely disadvantaged in terms of accessibilities. Poverty and vulnerability are very high among the population. Again, there are also the absence of technological options that make provision of water supply and sanitation even more challenging in the hard-to-reach areas. The hard-to-reach areas are also distinctive by context, and water and sanitation in these areas need special attention. Responding to such vulnerabilities, the government, development partners and NGOs are emphasizing for providing supports to these hard-to-reach areas with special attention to climate change impact on water and sanitation. Keeping its commitments to the MDG targets, NGO Forum for Public Health and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies have been facilitating the implementation of the project 'Promotion of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Hard-to-Reach Areas of Rural Bangladesh' with the support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Project is under implementation covering 47 hard-to-reach unions under 5 agro-ecological zones in Bangladesh. Starting in December 2011, the Project is set to be continued up to November 2014.

Rationale of the Project It is quite impossible to reach the national goal 'water and sanitation for all' keeping any particular area deprived of these facilities. But the reality is that millions of people still living in dire necessity of water and sanitation facilities in the hard-to-reach areas i.e. the exposed coastal area, drought-prone area, haor area, char area and the flood-prone area of Bangladesh. Climate change has put their lives once again under enormous risk of disaster and vulnerability. Being parts of Bangladesh, the frontline country feeling the pain of climate change, these hard-to-reach areas have become the most vulnerable relating to its spatial locations, communication facilities, moderate civil amenities and access to basic services & facilities. Taking all the hardships into active consideration NGO Forum and BCAS have become promise-bound to ensure water and sanitation facilities in the hard-to-reach and disadvantaged areas. The rationale of this Project is justified as it is targeted to sensitizing and capacity building ofLGls & other WatSan service agencies & relevant stakeholders and awareness raising of the community people in the hard-to-reach areas. This Project is also targeted to promoting effective WatSan & hygiene services, and consolidating & disseminating the actions & learnings to enhance capacity of the concerned to adapt and improve understanding on key vulnerabilities. Acknowledging the vulnerabilities and also uncertainty concerning how people would adapt and cope with the adverse situation the vulnerable people will be availing the context-specific and user-friendly technologies in the field ofWatSan & hygiene & in the selected hard-to-reach areas. More importantly, technological intervention would be clearly defined whether it needs modification, renovation or innovation alongside the awareness building of the community people on the challenges including climate change in the hard-to-reach areas. With the blending of capacity building ofLGIs & other service agencies, awareness building of the selected community people, and promotion of context-specific safe water supply, sanitation & hygiene facilities around 0.7 million poor & vulnerable people will be directly/indirectly benefited out of the total population under the selected 47 hard-to-reach unions. Finally, the policy-makers and planners would be convinced of the relevance of the impacts of vulnerabilities on WatSan learning from the scalable outputs which should be integrated into larger policy-making frameworks for giving special attention to reduce the risk in the field of safe water supply, environmental sanitation, health & hygiene at different agro-ecological hard-to-reach zones.
Outcomes
  1. Poor and excluded population are able to demand context-specific water supply & sanitation services with special focus on climate vulnerabilities in rural hard-to-reach areas.
  2. Poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable population in selected hard-to-reach areas have established their access to sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
  3. Policy-makers, local governments and service agencies are sensitized and respond effectively in promotion of sustainable water supply, sanitation & hygiene services.
Research Components of the project Baseline study, Impacts & Valnerability Assessment, Needs Assesment, GIS maping, Demonstration of context specific WASH technology and Monitoring and Evaluation 
Contact Person

Golam Rabbani
Research Fellow
Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies (BCAS)
golam.rabbani@bcas.net

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