Bangladesh WASH

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with more than 1000 people per square kilometer.1

Three quarters of the population live in rural areas, where running water and sanitary latrines are often considered luxury items. As Bangladesh experiences one of the fastest urbanization rates in Asia, most of the 7 million people living in urban slums – the population of which is rapidly increasing – have no access to safe water sanitary latrines, proper waste disposal systems and adequate sewer drainage.2

Lack of access to water supply infrastructure such as tube wells and piping are a major issue for the rural poor and urban slum dwellers who often resort to using unprotected surface water for drinking and cooking.3

Further, according to the World Bank’s Agglomeration Index, an alternative measure of urban concentration, Bangladesh has considerable hidden urbanization4 that is not captured on official definitions and statistics. An undercounted rural-but-urbanizing dense population as such poses significant risk of epidemic outbreaks with poor WASH coverage and community awareness.

UMR’s funded project has delivered 112 deep tube wells, semi-deep tube wells, and shallow tube wells to 4,304 rural and urbanizing beneficiaries, and conducted beneficiary sensitization trainings on water safety, benefits of safe water, personal/environmental hygiene and maintenance of wells.

Below are most common examples of beneficiary feedback, indicative of general living conditions of the recipient population:

1. Traveling long distance for water, and spread of water-borne disease:

[S.J.] (Aged 52) is marginal farmer. His family consist of 6 members: “We collected safe water from far distance. He said, “We could not install tube well due to lack of money. Most of the people of this area have been suffering from water borne diseases for a long time. People of this area are very poor. […] After field survey Muslim Aid installed a new shallow tube-well. Now we are getting safe water for drinking and domestic uses.” 5

2. Use of unprotected unimproved surface water, and spread of water-borne disease:

[A.S.] (aged 38) is a Rickshaw Puller. His family consist of 7 members. He said “We could not install tube well due to lack of money. We used pond water. Most of the people of this area have been suffering from water borne diseases for a long time. We were collecting water from far distance. People of this area are very poor. After field visit Muslim Aid installed a new shallow tube-well. Now we are getting pure water for drinking and domestic uses.” 6

3. Water available only at neighboring village, and spread of water-borne disease:

[M. A. H.] (age-55) is a poor mer. He said, “We had no tube well before this tube well installed. People of this area are very poor. We were collecting drinking water from neighbouring village. Most of the people of this area have been suffering from water borne diseases for a long time. We could not install tube well due to shortage of fund. After field survey Muslim Aid installed a new shallow tube-well, so, we are very happy. Now we are getting fresh water for drinking and domestic uses.” 7

1 UNICEF (2012) Bangladesh SHEWA-B Factsheet.
https://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/SHEWAB_factsheet_-_FINAL-21April12.pdf
2 UNICEF (2012) Bangladesh SHEWA-B Factsheet.
https://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/SHEWAB_factsheet_-_FINAL-21April12.pdf
3 UNICEF (2012) Bangladesh SHEWA-B Factsheet.
https://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/SHEWAB_factsheet_-_FINAL-21April12.pdf
4 World Bank (2015) Bangladesh Country Brief. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/bangladesh/brief/leveraging-urbanization-bangladesh
5 Recorded by Muhammad Kotha Wala 7846 – July 2015. Address of the beneficiary: Upazila: Bagharpara, District: Jessore.
6 Recorded by Hadia Hamuri 7296 – July 2015. Address of the beneficiary: Upazila: Bagharpara, District: Jessore.
7 Recorded by Abul Azad 9029 – July 2015. Address of the beneficiary: Upazila: Jessore Sadar, District: Jessore.