EDM Global projects in Bangladesh are:
– Tangail and Chandpur: School-led WASH initiatives
– Dhaka: Combining rain water harvesting and waste water reuse for water supply
Focus on school-led WASH initiatives in Tangail and Chandpur
What is the project?
The project is ‘School-led water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives for the urban slums in Chandpur and Tangail’ funded by EDM Coca-Cola through Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction (UPPRP).
What is the problem?
Schools in the urban slums do not have basic water and sanitation. According to a baseline survey, the Akkas Ali Railway Colony Academy in Chandpur had a tube well that did not work and only two latrines, one for the teachers and one for the students. The latrines were cracked, very dirty, unhygienic and unusable. There were no facilities for washing hands.
Who is affected?
Apart from the unhygienic state of the latrines and lack of water for washing, which affected all students and teachers, another big problem was that there was no separate toilet for girls and female teachers. The lack of privacy had a particularly significant effect on the attendance of girls.
How were these people affected?
Teasing by boys and outsiders made girls and teachers afraid to use the latrine even if that meant they became very uncomfortable. The discomfort affected their health and frequently made them sick. Girls seldom came to school during their menstrual periods as there were no facilities for them to deal with menstrual hygiene in privacy. They stayed at home because their mothers did not allow them to attend school.
What is EDM doing to help?
One part of the project was to raise awareness of the need for basic water and sanitation facilities in schools among school management committees (SMCs), teachers and students. To do this the project helped set up school WASH committees and brigades, and trained members of SMCs and school teachers.
The next step was to install water wells, running water, two new toilets, hand washing facilities, urinals and waste disposal units, and to repair two toilets. Separate toilets were built for the girls to ensure their privacy.
What impact has EDM had?
More awareness and better facilities have made the school environment more hygienic and raised attendance, especially among girls. The average attendance is now 98% whereas before the WASH facilities it was less than 70%.
Girls are now happier to attend school because their toilets are separate from the boys’ toilets and they can use them without risk or fear. This is particularly important during their menstrual periods when previously they stayed away from school. Parents also are happier for their daughters to attend school.
The toilets are always kept neat and clean. The school-led WASH committees and student brigades manage and monitor the facilities, and how students use them and dispose of waste. The project has given school caretakers training in maintaining the water supply and toilets. The students have regular sessions on hygiene that stress the importance of keeping the toilets and school environment clean and tidy.
What has Coca-Cola contributed to the project?
EDM-Coca-Cola funded the project through UPPRP.
How can the project be replicated?
Society for Peoples’ Action in Change and Equity (SPACE) and Concern Universal (CU) have improved WASH facilities in 20 schools in Chandpur Municipality. But there are another 48 schools that do not have WASH facilities. The project could be replicated in these schools.