Bangladesh has made commendable progress in supplying safe water to its people, gross disparity in coverage still exists across the country. Latrine usage is very poor, averaging only 16% in the rural areas and 20% of the total population do not have improved drinking water sources. Diarrheal diseases constitute a major health problem in Bangladesh, killing over 100,000 children each year. Thousands of episodes of diarrhea occur in children and adults each day. Diarrheal diseases have close biological and socio-economic links to the problems of malnutrition, poor maternal health, high fertility, and child survival.
HFH Bangladesh conducts research on cost-effective water & sanitation solutions and locally adapted behavior change methods for hygiene promotion, on waterborne diseases caused by using surface water, appropriate water purification system, and rainwater harvesting system. HFHB Studies to understand needs of women and girls and address water-related health, education, livelihood (productivity) needs, partners with local organization to support communities based on identified needs. Habitat Bangladesh forms Community WaSH Committee (CWC) for empowering the communities and sustainable WaSH programs.
WaSH program intervention
To address the need HFHB constructs permanent structured and durable household sanitary latrines, Disaster resilient sanitary latrines for disaster prone areas, Incorporates rainwater harvesting system with sanitary latrines along with water reservoir which ensures access of water inside the toilet, Gender sensitive and disable friendly community latrines, Household/community based bio-sand water purification system, Installs tube-wells as a pure drinking water source, water tests, Pond cleaning & re-excavation for improving the community water source for using other purposes, Appropriate construction technology (ACT), comprehensive WaSH and hygiene promotion training for community leaders, CBO members, school children and community people, distributes WaSH kits, Effective IEC materials (poster, leaflet, bill-boards, calendar, coloring books, t-shirt etc.).
In the project area, Habitat identifies those low-income families that are in great need of WaSH facilities and provides them with sanitary latrines. Habitat also provides gender sensitive and disabled accessible toilets for the schools and market places. Habitat recently started building community bath houses in the urban and rural areas specially designed to provide privacy to women.
HFH Bangladesh always conducts a baseline community survey when beginning a project in a new area. Evaluations from these surveys revealed that the benefits of using safe water and hygiene practices were not always well communicated or accepted in many rural communities. Hence, Habitat has developed training materials and engages community members to attend awareness building sessions that promote the adoption of safe WaSH practices.
HFH Bangladesh has so far completed 3 studies on WaSH that looks at water born diseases caused by using surface water, appropriate water filtration device and rainwater harvesting systems in specific areas of Bangladesh.