About half of the people in the coastal south western districts of Khulna and Satkhira of Bangladesh have no access to safe drinking water and 58% lack sanitation facilities, water, and sanitation — experts said at a dialogue held on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH), jointly organised by Nobo Jatra Project of USAID and Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives (MoLGRD&C) recently.
‘Nobo Jatra — New Beginning’ is a USAID Food for Peace Development food security activity that seeks to improve gender equitable food security, nutrition and resilience in south west Bangladesh. World Vision Bangladesh, together with the World Food Programme, Winrock International and 3 NGOs undertook the project to achieve its objectives.
Chief Engineer of DPHE, Mr. Md. Muniruzzaman chaired the session. Nobo Jatra’s Chief of Party Mr. Rakesh Katal said that only 52% households in the region have access to safe drinking water compared to the national average of about 90%. Only 42% of the households in the region have access to proper sanitation.
The discussant urged the government to provide water and sanitation funds to the Union Parishads. They also recommended for initiating ‘water ATM’ and recommended to accelerate water distribution with cost sharing. Experts also urged to expedite the Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) by the Goverment of Bangladesh (GoB) and other NGOs.
There is also a need to ensure regular budget flow from the Ministry and the different departments of GoB.