Water, sanitation and hygiene
Protecting children with clean water, improved sanitation and good hygiene practices
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While most of the population of Bangladesh has access to basic drinking water in urban and rural areas, the quality of water is compromised with bacteriological contamination resulting from poor sanitary practices, availability of undesirable chemical contamination such as arsenic – with over 10 per cent of sources contaminated – and seawater intrusion, resulting from climate hazards.
Seventeen per cent of the population spends over 30 minutes to one hour, and six per cent spend between one and three hours, walking long distances to collect water every day with the burden falling overwhelmingly on women and girls: 85 per cent of water collection is done by women and 4.7 per cent is done by girls. This means that women miss quality time spent with and for the family, and girls miss spending quality time on education and learning.
Bangladesh has been successful in substantially reducing open defecation; however, a lot of work is still required in terms of moving services towards basic and safely managed sanitation, ensuring safety and privacy for girls and women.
Environmental pollution in the form of unregulated sewage being disposed of without any treatment into the environment is jeopardizing the availability of the scare freshwater resources of the country and is contributing to the spread of diseases.
UNICEF’s priorities in relation to children having access to WASH facilities focus on equity and areas where services are less developed, especially in poor population areas, urban slums, remote rural areas, climate vulnerable locations and locations suffering from chemical contamination.
UNICEF is working to ensure that all children and women have access to and utilize quality, equitable, resilient and sustainable WASH services and adopt appropriate hygiene behaviours and care practices. It supports achieving the 8FYP WASH targets guided by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives.
Evidence-based policy advocacy and sector regulations will be supported to increase human and financial assets, improve targeting, respond to climate change impacts and address gender barriers. Resilience of WASH services will be strengthened through piloting and scaling-up of disaster- and climate-resilient facilities.
Enhanced access to quality, sustainable and safely managed water and sanitation resources will be supported through systems strengthening and market-based solutions. The successful models of arsenic and climate safe villages and unions and the management of rural water supply systems will be scaled up. The results of the 2019 sanitation market assessment and the willingness-to-pay review will be used as an evidence base to improve sanitation facilities, toilet options, and menstrual hygiene management awareness and facilities.
UNICEF is working with the Government of Bangladesh to:
- transition from the “MDG WASH model” to “SDG WASH model”: focusing on quality and safety of provided services;
- systematically integrate climate risks in the design of WASH systems and services’ solutions to promote climate resilient WASH services;
- tap into the powers and skills of the national private sector through market-based solutions to support sustainable and quality WASH services;
- generate evidence to help optimize planning and informed decision making
- focus on well-tested and established systems that integrate equity-based planning and sustainability solutions, with an emphasis on capacity building of communal entrepreneurs for enhanced quality with the aim of promoting scalable models.