To improve the health, quality of life and future prospects of 10,000 people living in Kaliganj, an impoverished area of south-west Bangladesh where less than 44% of the population have access to sanitary latrines and where only 42% have access to safe water. High levels of naturally occurring arsenic also contaminate the water supplies in this area. We are working with local communities, local organizations and local government to achieve 100% household sanitation and access to a safe water supply within 1 kilometre of every home. The project is underpinned by a hygiene education project to transform attitudes and habits, and a capacity-building programme to ensure that new practices and services will be maintained and sustained long after the project itself has ended.
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Hygiene practices in Kaliganj are poor due to lack of awareness, poor facilities and poverty. Defecation in open areas in and around the villages leads to contamination of surface water which may be used for cooking, drinking or washing. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera and dysentery. Poor sanitation and lack of clean water not only threaten health; those who are sick are unable to work and earn money to feed themselves and their families; sick children cannot go to school. Poor sanitation facilities in the schools themselves also have a negative impact on children‚Äôs attendance at school, particularly that of girls. Our project focuses on ‚Ä¢ a hygiene education programme with the community and in schools to raise awareness of the connection between poor hygiene, ill-health and water-borne diseases; ‚Ä¢ a skills capacity-building programme with the community and local officials to ensure that new behaviours will be sustained and new equipment and services will be maintained after the project ends. It also includes ‚Ä¢ installation of household latrines for the 56% of the population that do not have them; ‚Ä¢ installation of 25 safe water supply facilities (deep hand tube wells or pond sand filters, to suit location); ‚Ä¢ renovation of approximately 150 tube well platforms to ensure safe water from existing sources ‚Ä¢ construction of 10 public toilets and renovation of toilets at 25 schools. Local people will be trained as rural sanitation engineers to help villagers build and install their latrines; others will be trained to become community caretakers of the new water supplies, testing water quality and maintaining the tube wells. The technologies used will be simple and the spares required for maintenance are readily available. The cost of this 5-year project is ¬£102,000, just over ¬£10 per person. Ten thousand people will have better health as a result of safe water supplies and improved hygiene. Better health will open the door to improved living standards, better education and a route out of poverty. Equipping communities to take long-term responsibility for their own water and sanitation needs and services will mean that such benefits will continue long beyond the life of the project.
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