WATSAN Project

WATSAN Project

(Promoting Community Based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Practice in the Rural Area of Shariatpur)

Project Objective: The main objective of the project is to increase accessibility of water, sanitation and proper hygiene practice to the poor and marginalized people of Shariatpur district (Bangladesh) by 2014.

Project Goal: To improve the public health situation, with the intent of reducing mortality rate of women and children in rural Bangladesh.

Donor Name: MAX Foundation.The Netherlands.

Project Duration: 15 Feb 2012 – 14 Feb 2015

Project Target Group: Destitute people in the rural areas especially women and children

Project Working Area:

District Name: Shariatpur.

Upazila: Shariatpur Sadar & Bhedarganj.


Union Name:

Shariatpur Sadar: 1. Chitolia Union  2. Mahamudpur Union.

Bhedarganj: 1. Khachikata 2. Uttar Tarabunia 3. DakhinTarabunia 4. Charsensus  5. Arshinagor


Country profile and project background: The geographic location of Bangladesh made it the sub-continents’ most vulnerable to climate change, as a result the country faces increasing environmental degradation and extreme weather events.Bangladesh lies between latitudes 20° and 26°North and longitudes 88°and93°Eastand is mostly  comprised of the low-lying delta formed by the confluence of Ganges and Brahmaputrahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmaputra Rivers (Agrawala S et al., 2003). Due to high population density of 1142 people per square kilometers (World Bank, 2012), high exposures of climatic hazards and poverty, the country has been facing many challenges since its independence in 1971; among which, rural socioeconomic development remain as the greatest challenge. Over the past few decades,mortality and morbidity of the children under the age of five has reduced tremendously, but even today 56 of the every 1000 child born dies unnatural death (World Bank, 2010). The country also has a long way to go regarding neonatal and antenatal care for the mothers.

Access to potable water, proper sanitation and hygiene practices are some of the fundamental human need and inadequate provision of these needs are closely related to many communal diseases (such as diarrhea, cholera, malaria etc.), health risks and environment pollution. The cause of the deaths of the children under the age of five has been largely credited globally to the lack of safe water, sanitary latrines at household levels and hygienic practices. Since the birth of this country, Government and Non-Government organizations (NGO’s) have undertaken extensive projects in order to ensure safe water for everyone. However, in early 90’s when the government was about to declare the safe water coverage, the detection of arsenic came out like a silent killer. The increased frequency and intensity of naturally occurring disasters, high population density, low socioeconomic status and lowered groundwater level due to climate change has aggravated the situation of lacking access to clean water.

Despite the sharp decline in mortality rate of infants and children, every yeararound140 thousand children, under the age of five die an unnatural death caused by diarrhea and other waterborne diseases (UNICEF, 2011) and the surviving children suffer 3 to 5 episodes of diarrhea each year.

Project overview:(drop down here)

Human Resource: Project Coordinator-1, Training Officer-1, Community Mobilizer- 7, Accountant-1, Support Staff- 1

Project Activity: Major activities include but are not confined to:

  1. Baseline Survey
  2. Formation of village WATSAN committee
  3. Formation of volunteer group
  4. Courtyard Awareness session by flipchart


Hardware support:

Access to safe drinking water for poor people at the community level

Hygiene Latrine to poorest HHsat the community level

School Sanitation

Deep tube well set up

Hygienic latrine support

Latrine support with water point

Maintenance equipment

Superstructure will contribute by the HHs

Only water point supply (DTW)

Arsenic test & Demarcation



Care taker selection & define responsibilities.











  1. Arsenic & Hygiene promotion to VWC
  2. Leadership &WATSAN management to VWC
  3. TBA training & kit box support
  4. Campaign:
    • Rally
    • Miking
    • Folk show
    • Day observation
    • Poster pasting/dissemination

Staff Training/orientation/workshop & ICE/BCC material:

  1. Staff orientation on project briefing
  2. TOT on CLTS
  3. Learning sharing experiences
  4. Program management & review meeting
  5. ICE/BCC materials:
    • Development of training module
    • Development of flipchart
    • Poster development

Project Budget: 25207046 TK Expected outcome:

1.1 Community awareness raised on the use of safe water, sanitation, personal hygiene to bring positive changes in the behaviour of the community people that falls within the range of project areas.

1.2 Community demand created for safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation facilities.

1.3 Appropriate IEC/BCC materials developed and distributed among the target groupsfor increasing awareness.

2.1 Community awareness raised about arsenic related health hazards and testing facilities for arsenic will be provided.

2.2 Sustainable safe water options provided in the exposed population that falls within the range of the project area.

2.3 Set up low cost sanitation production centres in different convenient locations and ensure sanitation facilities for the underprivileged peoples.

3.1 Capacity of the staff of SDS enhanced for the effective implementation of the project and for advocacy with the government and non-government agencies.

3.2 Advocacy initiatives undertaken with relevant government and non-government agencies.  

WATSAN Project

Project Accomplishment  

  • The WATSAN project has gained enormous acceptability among locals within a very short period of time. People voluntarily take part in carrying building materials into the remote areas and perform physical act alongside the hired labours.

  • The tube-wells are meant to serve 20-30 families who made contributions towards the initial installation of the well. But during summer as many as 100 families collect water from a single well. Although due to this situation, the wells are subjected to extra pressure during summer, more people benefit from a single well.

  • Statistically speaking, the number of installed deep tube-wells might be enough to serve the people of a particular area. But since most of these tube-wells have been installed into the houses of local influential, poor people don’t have access to it. The highly capable community mobilizers of the WATSAN project have been able to overcome this corrupted outlook by maintaining a healthy understanding with the local political leaders. WATSAN project have successfully installed deep tube-wells into the houses of the underprivileged, moreover, due to this healthy relationship, sometimes the Chairman and Members help resolve issues with the installation.

WATSAN Project


  1. Too late to get approval from NGOAB
  2. Some major activities were planned to implement in 3rd year but are required to be implemented in the 1st year. SDS contacted the MAX foundation on this regard, but still no formal response.
  3. Most of the working Unionsare situated in river prone areas and river erosion is a common problem for implementing the projects. Heavy rainfall during the rainy season (continued for longer period) is another great challenge for implementing project activities.
  4. During theimplementation of the Hardware services, local influential persons influence and the process is interrupted at times.
  5. Not all the families feel the ownership equally. On occasion, the dweller who donates land for the installation of the tube-well exhibits ownership which makes the rest of the benefitting families feel inferior. This issue was overcome though meetings, gatherings and awareness campaigns (the example of “Charsensus” can be considered ideal on this matter, where the participating families enjoys equal ownership of the tube-wells, if not more).
  6. Sometimes projects for installing deep tube-wells are not approved since there is another personally installed tube-well that falls in the range of pre-determined hydraulic radius of 500 feet. Sometimes the number of families that are in need of potable water are not as many as 20 -30 families and tube-wells are not installed. This situation deems solution, this problem could very well be solved by raising public awareness and by convincing the personal tube-well owner that by installing a deep tube-well he is not only using resources from his own premises but also undermining the chances of others having access to potable water . Community mobilizers are trying to bring attention into this issue and are trying to resolve it though meetings and gatherings.
  7. When a sanitary latrine is installed, people often break the water seal that prevents odor. Sometimes in order to increase the longevity of the latrine, people dig open a hole instead of excavating the waste as the ring slab gets filled. Thus, the waste gets released into nearby pond or other surface water giving rise to potential waterborne diseases.

WATSAN Project

Scopes for Improvement

  1. SDS working strategy isto develop partnerships with Local, National and international level organizations. Through implementing the WATSAN project we learnt that active collaboration and partnerships with village WATSAN Committee (VWC) and local Volunteers is a successful approach. But to increase their involvement in all phase of program, a lump sum budget needs to be allocated for their remuneration and for providing snacks in different meetings.

  2. To increase the community awareness, WATSAN organizes courtyard meetings, orientation courses for the religious leaders; these are important means for disseminating messages among the mass people. But only Courtyard session is not enough to aware people on water sanitation and hygiene practice in the community.

  3. Entrepreneurship Development:By working with local community we learnt that, if we help develop entrepreneurship among local masons, they will be available of supply the sanitary latrine equipmentat low costs and will also carry materials to the residences. With the guidance of SDS, each mason can demonstrate a model sanitary latrine that will encourage others to order it from locals.

  4. When deep tube wells are installed too further away. For example if tube wells are 1000-1500 feet away, some low cost shallow water tube wells could be used to meet the local water crisis,  especially in the newly formed “Chor” areas where the arsenic level are within an acceptable range. People can use the shallow water wells for household purposes and collect potable water from a deep tube-well placed further for the time being.

  5. Follow up trainings are required for child birth caregivers rather than a single week long training session. This will help the caregivers to stay put even more and they will be more comfortable applying the learned techniques in real life.

  6. Introducing septic tanks with water-sealed sanitary latrines might increase the cost a little but will help prevent the unhygienic practice of digging hole and releasing waste to open sources. Installing more ring slabs and providing excavation service could also solve this problem. The collected waste can either be land filled or could be used as compost.

WATSAN Project

Project Case Study

This informal conversation took place between Ms. AmenaBala(Village: KadirMollarKandi , ward No- 9, Arshinagor UP under the BhedorgoanjUpazilla) and Community Mobilizer (SDS, Shariatpur) Md. AkterHossain on 12th November 2012 to understand the perception, attitude and life style of the respondent.

Ms. AmenaBala is a widow and she has three daughtersstudying in Class seven, six and four respectively and a son who istwo and a half year old.She claims to be discriminated by the Union Parishad and other service providers as sheblamed the Union Parishad Members and other service providers with deep agony in her voice. He said that, nobody would help her in her vulnerable situation;she has a hang latrine and a severely saline contaminated shallow tube-well. She was uncertain about whether the tube-well is arsenic contaminated or not.

She mentioned that for the past two years she has been collecting deep tube well water from a neighbors’housebut now she is too sick to carry water from far away. Instead her daughter often went to collect water from the deep tube well, butshe gets teased by some bad boys and local goons. One day after her daughter was seriously teased one day by a local bad boy while collecting water, she begged for justice to the society but no one came forward to help her, she breaks into tears as she describes her situation.After that incident, she has been drinking her own tube well water, despite the arsenic and saline contamination. She is sicker now andfears for what is going to happen to her teenage daughter and little kid if she dies.

Findings: After hearing her story it was obvious that nobody was going to help her in her situation. She is too poor and sick to live a normal lifeand is in genuine need of safe waterand sanitary latrine.

Recommendation: Sanitary latrine should begiven by SDS to ensure her a hygienic life. Community based deep tube-well needs to be installed in her residence, so that she can meet her need of safe water with dignity.

Evaluation: N/A Note: All information soft copy Source: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/bangladesh_bangladesh_statistics.html