Promotion of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Hard-to-Reach Areas of Rural Bangladesh

Project Description Target Population Results Images Contact Us

Funding Organization:
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Implementating Organizations:
NGO Forum for Public Health (NGOF)
Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS)

Duration: December 2011 – December 2015

Description: Keeping its commitments to the MDG targets, NGO Forum for Public Health and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies have been facilitating the implementation of the project ‘Promotion of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene in Hard-to-Reach Areas of Rural Bangladesh’ with the support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Project is under implementation covering 47 hard-to-reach unions under 5 agro-ecological zones in Bangladesh. Starting in December 2011, the Project is set to be continued up to December 2015.

Rationale: It is quite impossible to reach the national goal ‘water and sanitation for all’ keeping any particular area deprived of water and sanitation facilities. But the reality is that millions of people still living in dire necessity of water and sanitation facilities in the hard-to-reach areas i.e. the exposed coastal area, drought-prone area, haor area, char area and the flood-prone area of Bangladesh.

The salient aspects of the project include:

  • Reaching the hard-to-reach
  • Governance - linking the local government
  • Contribution to poverty reduction
  • Reducing climate change risks on water supply, sanitation and health
  • Focusing on health and hygiene habits
  • Women empowerment through WatSan intervention
  • Advocacy and communication
  • Addressing good governance
  • Sustainability with innovations
  • Scaling up of learning through HLP


  • Poor and excluded population are able to demand context-specific water supply and sanitation services with special focus on climate vulnerabilities in rural hard-to-reach areas.
  • Poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable population in selected hard-to-reach areas have established their access to sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
  • Policy-makers, local governments and service agencies are sensitized and respond effectively in promotion of sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene services.

Target Population: Disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the selected hard-to-reach areas with special focus on the women and children of the poorest and excluded groups.

Hard-to-Reach Areas Definition: By taking into consideration the economic, geophysical and social context, the term ‘hard-to-reach’ is defined from two separate perspectives; hard-to-reach areas and hard-to-reach people. For this project it is defined as taking into account both hard-to-reach in terms of communication and in difficulty including the population in development actions.

Project Approach: The project is being implemented following a community-managed approach and, at all levels, participatory and bottom-up communication is being promoted for the adaptation of sustainable service delivery. Apart from the direct service delivery through local partners of NGO Forum, the project puts more of an emphasis on advocacy issues and on placing Union Parishads as accountable and playing a lead role in the initiative. The project emphasises a balance between service delivery and better management of services.

Partners in Operation

  • Local Government Institutions (LGIs)
  • Partner NGOs
  • Village Development Committee (VDC)
  • Union WatSan Committee (UWC) and Ward WatSan Committee (WWC)
  • Private Sector Operators
  • Journalists of mass-media
  • Local allies (school teachers, students, religious leaders, cultural groups and so on).

Project Management – Steering Committee

The project implementation isbeing guided by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is comprised of the following:

  • NGO Forum – Executive Director
  • BCAS – Executive Director
  • Focal points from the implementation partners

Stories from the Field: Results:

Overall Project Progress: (01 December 2014 to 31 December 2015):

The Project approaching into the Phasing out Phase has contributed to the promotion of WaSH services through scalable alternative WatSan options and policy directions in favor of the hard-to-reach population especially in the climate vulnerable coastal &drought zones. Exploiting the accountability of UPs in promotion of WaSH governance, the Project has contributed in increasing safe water supply and sanitation coverage by 32.2% (HHs- 48,300, p-227,010; m-116,343, f-110,667) & 51.6% (HHs-77,400, p-363,780; m-186,437, f-177,343) respectively from its base status of 28% (HHs-42,000, p-197,400; m-101,168, f-96,232) for water supply & 11% (HHs16,500, p-77,550 people; m- 39,744, f-37,806) for improved sanitation. The present safe water and improved sanitation coverage in the intervening areas are now 60.2% and 62.6% respectively. This contributed to reaching the Goal of the Project as 11.6% of HHs (17,400 HHs) reported that prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases in their families took place in last 1 year (against base status 49%, 73,500 HHs). Average amount of money spent for diarrhoeal treatment in reporting 1 year was found to be Tk. 659 which was Tk. 750 during baseline study. In terms of loss of work-days due to diarrhoea-related illness in 1 year is reported by 9.3% of HHs (1,618 HHs) which was 85.7% (62,990 HHs) during baseline.The Project has been successfully phased out from the field level through transferring ownership of all resources to the concerned LGI authority, CBOs and community groups.

Main results achieved :

  • 92,726 (m-37,681, f-55,045, among them poor-45,082; m-16,261, f-28,821) beneficiaries addressed under community mobilization and capacity building initiatives during the reporting period.

  • 249,142 (m-123,871, f-125,271) among them poor 207,820 (m-102,987, f-104,833 and disadvantaged 4,842 (m- 1,769, f-3,073) beneficiaries got access to water supply and sanitation facilities through UP, project support &self-initiatives during the reporting period against the annual target 204,958 people. The benefit is measured through improved health & environmental hygiene conditions and positive impact on poor beneficiaries’ livelihood.

  • School attendance (90% days/year) of girl students increased to 22% in 2014 from the base status 3% in 2012 because of improved WaSH facilities promoted by the Project in respective 83 school campus at the union level.

  • The present coverage of functional, adequate and safe water supply facilities in project areas is 60.2% (424,410 people; m-217,510 and f-206,900) and improved sanitation coverage has reached to 62.6% (441,330 people; m-226,182 and f-215,148).

  • UPs have distributed 963 water and 8,695 sanitation options among the poor & disadvantaged in response to 9,381 demand applications submitted by VDCs on behalf of their community.

  • Advocacy and networking reached 70,026 (m-47,182; f-22,844) relevant stakeholders (direct & indirect) sensitizing policy-makers, LGIs and others on WaSH rights& policies and especially context-specific allocation for the hard-to-reach.

  • 23% WaSH budget increased in 2015-16 based on community demand while open budget was conducted by all the 47 UPs.

  • 42 UP WaSH Standing Committees were found active and contributing to increased WaSH services in an equitable manner.

Images:Please see our images page

Contact Us:
Head of Advocacy & Information and Project Coordinator,
NGO Forum for Public Health

4/6, Block-E, Lalmatia

Tel: +88 02 8154273-4, +88 02 8128258-9
Fax: +88-02-8117924

At a Glance

Theme: Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

Region: South Asia

Goal: Contribute to the achievement of national goal on WaSH through context-specific and scalable water supply, sanitation & hygiene services in hard-to-reach areas.

Funding: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Partners: 15 selected Partner NGOs of NGO Forum for Public Health

Target Population: Disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the selected hard-to-reach areas har, haor, exposed coastal areas with special focus on the women and children of the poorest and excluded groups

Duration:  December 2011 – December 2015

Cost: BDT. 355,078,526 (including partner’s contribution)

Contact: Head of Advocacy & Information and Project Coordinator
NGO Forum for Public Health
4/6, Block-E, Lalmatia
Tel: +88 02 8154273-4,
Fax: +88-02-8117924

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