Water, Environment and Sanitation


Rural Sanitation


Water Supply




Rural Sanitation, Hygiene and Water Supply Project

© UNICEF Bangladesh
A women washing vegetables with clean water.

The starting point for this project is the demand from local communities to improve their situation with regard to hygienic behaviour, sanitation and water supply. Using techniques such as Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), researchers or experts gain an understanding of the needs of communities and in turn give those communities access to information they require to develop community plans of action.

The project strengthens and empowers local government structures by establishing water and sanitation (WatSan) committees. This process is supported by field-based NGOs who plan and work with the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE). In a similar programme in the south-eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), the community (para) worker mobilizes the community with support from an NGO.

In primary schools, children are educated about safe water, sanitation and hygiene. They are also trained and encouraged to pass on what they have learnt to other children and to their families and communities so that the information and good practice will spread throughout the population.

A sub-project operates in urban slums and the fringes of cities in 10 municipalities (pourashavas) and four city corporations to improve hygiene, the quality of the water supply and sanitation. The slums and fringes project installs solid waste disposal systems, which also generate income. This project has gathered pace and is moving quickly toward implementation.

The project is currently at the developmental stage and is operating in 37 Upazilas of 10 districts. It will eventually extend to 38 districts and more than 5,000 primary schools.

It is strengthening the structures of local government by establishing WatSan committees. By empowering people to take sustained action at a local level in this way, the project aims to alleviate some of the effects of poverty and gender inequality.


The project focuses on hygiene education, communication, institutional framework, and water and sanitation hardware. It has four main objectives:

1. To give primary stakeholders the knowledge and the means to make informed choices about hygiene practices and WatSan facilities.

2. To give primary stakeholders options for safe disposal of excreta.

3. To give primary stakeholders in project areas access to safe, adequate and affordable year-round water supplies.

4. To ensure that a functioning institutional framework is in place to support these aims.


Three complementary strategies have been developed for the rural sanitation, hygiene and water project to achieve its purpose. These are:

1. To inform and support the choices of individuals by using a mixture of mass media and interpersonal communication.

2. To develop sanitary engineering and safe water engineering solutions based on an understanding of good practice in hydrogeology and geochemistry. This will ensure:

• an adequate supply of safe, affordable water
• good practice in the control and mitigation of pollution
• that users’ preferences are addressed
• the monitoring of water supplies and sanitation.

3. To bring building management practices into a more supportive institutional framework at national and local levels by:

• enhancing national policy and legislation
• promoting good governance in order to enable local government — particularly the DPHE, the Union and Upazila Parishads and WatSan committees — to respond to the needs of the community.


• Good partnerships with the DPHE and NGOs have been established and sound management mechanisms are in place.

• The government supports the emphasis on communication and on responding to demand. This is a major shift from a hardware-driven approach to a software-focused one.
• Local government has received support to form WatSan committees at district, Upazila and Union levels in order to ensure participation and decision-making at community level, about hygiene, sanitation and safe water supplies



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