The World Bank on Saturday approved $200 million to help Bangladesh improving access to safe water and sanitation services in the rural areas.
The Bangladesh Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Human Capital Development Project, to be implemented with the loan will help about six lakh people to avail safe and clean water through large and small piped water schemes in rural areas, according to a WB press release.
It would also provide access to improved sanitation services to over 3.6 million rural people, it said.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.
Through providing better access to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities at homes and public places and motivating people to adopt proper handwashing practice, the project will help preventing diseases like COVID-19.
Further, it will address urgent WASH needs during the COVID 19 pandemic in a quick and timely way.
World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon said that Bangladesh had made remarkable progress in providing access to basic water supply to all.
Still, the quality of water and sanitation and the link between safe water and sanitation and human capital development remained a challenge, she said.
‘This project will provide clean water and sanitation services that will reduce diarrheal diseases, improve nutrition, health, and reduce stunting among children under five. This will help the country to reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth,’ she said.
In rural areas, only 3 per cent households had piped water connections in 2017.
In addition to investing in large and small piped schemes, the project will also facilitate loans for households to improve their water and sanitation facilities and for the local WASH entrepreneurs to expand their business.
Besides, to ensure the quality and sustainability of the piped water schemes and fecal sludge management, the project will train the local entrepreneurs.
In crowded public spaces—such as markets, bus stations and community clinics—the project will set up about 2,514 handwashing stations with overhead tanks for running water, drainage, and sanitation facilities, which will be equipped with soaps.
In Bangladesh, only about one in every four women have access to proper menstrual materials and the usage of unhygienic napkins during menstruation leads to infectious diseases.
The project will facilitate micro-finance loans to about 150 female entrepreneurs to sell sanitary napkins at the doorsteps. It will also promote women’s representation and leadership in water management committees at the community level.
The project will cover 78 Upazilas in Mymensingh, Rangpur, Chittagong, and Sylhet Divisions.
The project will impart a behavioral change campaign for better WASH practices and utilise community health workers to deliver regular training on handwashing, baby WASH, and menstrual hygiene.
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