Access to safe drinking water is a struggle for many communities living in the coastal areas of Bangladesh, where flooding is extremely common. Three of the world's most powerful rivers pass through the country and much of the land is close to sea level. When natural disasters occur, water supplies are at greater risk of being contaminated by saltwater and sanitation facilities face being damaged and made unusable. This affects poor people hardest, because they tend to live on low lying land and have nowhere to go when flooding happens. Women bear the brunt of these water crises,
as they must travel long distances to collect safe drinking water, which leaves little time to earn a living and poses risks to their health and wellbeing, especially during pregnancy. Floods also damage the toilets, meaning that people are forced to defecate in the open which increases the spread of disease. Adolescent girls and women are particularly vulnerable due to the lack of functioning toilets, as both their health and safety are put at risk, particularly during menstruation
How we’re helping
We have already built 143 new toilets in households, serving 853 people, 41 of which have ramps to enable easy access for people with disabilities. We have also distributed 1,780 handwashing devices which are helping people practise safer hygiene.
This project aims to improve access to water and sanitation facilities by constructing 13 boreholes, and training caretakers to maintain them. Furthermore, it aims to build 180 new toilets (support communities to build their own), as well as four blocks of bathing facilities.
The project includes provision to train 16 community and women's groups on water and hygiene issues, and support them to review their action plans. We also aim to provide business and financial training to 20 women, so they can set up water and sanitation-based enterprises, such as latrine material construction and a sanitary towel production unit. The project will also try to support 300 women to diversify their sources of income by providing training on skills, and providing start-up livestock for their farming businesses. We will establish links with local government, water and
sanitation private companies and farming equipment suppliers, to encourage support and to open up business opportunities.