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DFID and UNICEF in partnership with the GoB to improve sanitation and hygiene for 30 million people across Bangladesh

© UNICEF-Dhaka
DFID and UNICEF-Dhaka Partnership signing ceremony

Dhaka, January 23, 2007:  In a simple ceremony held in the city today, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and UNICEF signed an agreement to support the Government of Bangladesh in implementing improved sanitation and hygiene programmes to reach 30 million people in 34 of the poorest districts across Bangladesh. Up to 5.1 million people, particularly the poorest, will benefit from year round access to adequate supplies of safe drinking water.

Acting Country Representative of DFID in Bangladesh Ms. Elizabeth Carriere and UNICEF Representative Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault signed the agreement this morning. 

This agreement was signed to support the joint implementation of the Sanitation, Hygiene Education and Water Supply in Bangladesh (SHEWA-B) project by the Government of Bangladesh (GoB)’s Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) and UNICEF.  For the five year duration of the project from 2007 to 2011, DFID will contribute up to £35 million (Taka 483 crore), UNICEF’s own contribution will be approximately £4.8million while the GoB investment will be around £8.9million.  

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Acting Country Representative of DFID in Bangladesh Ms. Elizabeth Carriere said: “Nearly 100 children in Bangladesh die each day from diarrhoea-related disease caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. DFID is helping 30 million people in the area covered by this programme to get improved sanitation and safe drinking water supplies, and special measures will ensure that the poorest and school children benefit.  We are achieving this by working in partnership with experienced organisations such as UNICEF, to provide co-ordinated support to the Government of Bangladesh’s own programmes.” 

UNICEF Representative Mr. Louis-George Arsenault said: “I greatly appreciate DFID for making this generous contribution. I am confident that SHEWA-B will chart a way towards achieving the Millennium Development Target 10 of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 through this expansive DPHE/UNICEF partnership.” Stating that the target not being reached means people’s health and well-being are hindered in many ways, Mr. Arsenault added that lack of clean water, proper hygiene and sanitation contributes to high child and maternal mortality.

Through SHEWA-B around 1.5 million school-children will benefit from safe water delivery and improved sanitation services to 7,500 primary schools, whilst 4.5 million additional children are to gain from hygiene education in their schools.
Note to the Editors
1) SHEWA-B is an expansion following the successful implementation of the Rural Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Supply project (RHSWSP) with DFID support in 37 upazilas. The project will incorporate lessons learnt from RHSWSP that ended in December 2005.  RHSWSP demonstrated a positive trend in changing community hygiene behaviour.  It will also incorporate and build on UNICEF’s recent urban programme and arsenic mitigation initiatives.
2) In its first phase from 2007 to 2009, SHEWA-B will cover 60 upazilas in 16 plain-land districts as well as 300 paras or neighbourhoods in the three districts of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).  The second phase will be implemented from 2009 to 2011 and add another 44 upazilas in 12 more districts and 300 paras in the CHT. The programme will also cover slum areas in the main pourashabhas or municipal areas in the programme districts.
3) Though Bangladesh has made significant strides in lowering infant and child mortality in recent times, no less than a hundred children still die each day from diarrhoea, caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. These can also cast negative impacts on children’s, especially girl students’ school attendance and academic performance, and the dignity of women by exposing them to open and unsafe sanitary options.
4) Through SHEWA-B, the UNICEF/DPHE partnership has the largest reach of any programme in the water and sanitation sector. SHEWA-B is expected to generate a significant positive influence on GoB’s plans for water supply and sanitation, which have been prioritised in its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP-2005).
5) Between 1990 and 2002 Bangladesh increased sanitation coverage from 23 per cent to 48 per cent.  However, 72 million (out of a total population of about 140 million) still do not have access to improved sanitation. SHEWA-B is expected to reach 30 million or 42 per cent of people still living without adequate sanitation, increasing total coverage to almost 70 per cent.
6) It will ensure water supply for just over 5 million or 15 per cent of those without safe drinking water, reduce arsenic risk for half of these (2.5 million), and increase total coverage to 79 per cent. Meanwhile, the school component of SHEWA-B will provide both separate and appropriate toilets for boys and girls, and will incorporate hygiene education to help address the challenges Bangladesh faces in school retention rates, particularly for girls.

For more information:
DFID contact:
Milon Khan
Communications Manager,
DFID Bangladesh.
Mobile: 01199810235, 01713041152

UNICEF contact:
Iftikhar Ahmed Chowdhury
Associate Communication Officer, UNICEF, Dhaka
+8802 9336701-10/Ext. 392



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