Press releases

Stimulating public toilets at CNG filling stations

Dhaka, 21 August, 2016: WaterAid Bangladesh in association with Dhaka North City Corporation has inaugurated a modern public toilet at Zaman Filling Station in the city, funded by H&M Foundation, today. It is one of its kind sanitation facility built at a CNG filling station to support travelers with a safe, clean and well-equipped washroom, free of charge.

Md Mesbahul Islam, CEO, Dhaka North City Corporation, inaugurated the public toilet in presence of Mr Masud Ali Khan, President, CNG Filling Station Owner’s Association and Dr Md Khairul Islam, Country Director, WaterAid Bangladesh, in a modest ceremony.

This is a full-fledged toilet facility equipped with modern amenities and a separate chamber for women. The entire area has been brought under CCTV surveillance and contains smoke detectors in the toilet chambers for user safety. There is also a safe drinking water facility in the compound, designed with water-efficient faucets in consideration of the environment. Two caretakers, including a female, have been appointed to maintain this facility on a shift basis, and boost the confidence of female pedestrians or passengers to use the facility without hesitation or fear.

Dhaka city has 142 CNG filling stations; most of them have no or very minimal toilet facilities except a very few, according to a study conducted by WaterAid Bangladesh. If these CNG stations can come up with useable toilets with separate chamber for women within their premises, they can serve a lot of people on the road. This can eventually change the landscape of the city.

In this backdrop, WaterAid Bangladesh sensitised Zaman Filling Station to undertake this initiative and build this modern toilet to help commuters. Notably, WaterAid Bangladesh has rebuilt a number of public toilets in different strategic locations of Dhaka with support of Dhaka North and South City Corporation under the banner of project SUNRISE funded by H&M Foundation.

Warm Regards,                                                       

ASM Shafiqur Rahman                                                          
Communications Specialist                                
WaterAid Bangladesh                                                                   
+880 171 303 6796

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National Budget 2016-17 Minimising Urban-Rural disparity is the main challenge for WASH sector

DHAKA, 14 June 2016: The proposed national budget for 2016-17 has  seen a slight rise in allocation for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, however, the challenge remains in minimising urban-rural disparity. Per capita allocation in urban area is Tk 1,121 against    Tk 55 for the rural. A massive 86% of the WASH allocation has been earmarked for big cities.

Good news is a project amounting Tk 500 crore has been proposed for hard-to-reach areas, however, it is yet to be funded. Although three new special projects for remote and disadvantaged communities and arsenic-prone areas has been proposed but no allocation has been made. Moreover, no allocation is kept in the proposed budget for cyclone-prone coastal areas, even though government project is there.

On Tuesday, 14 June 2016 in a press conference held at Dhaka Reporters Unity, representatives of various development agencies, donor agencies and network

organisations’ working in WASH sector, jointly called for action to minimise the growing urban-rural disparity in WASH allocation citing the national budget analysis done for the sector. They demanded for more allocation in Remote and disadvantaged chars, haors, coast, Chittagong Hill Tracts as well as rural settings to reduce the gap.

In the conference the speakers urged for considering vulnerable and marginalised people including rural poors, urban slum-dwellers, natural disaster victims and arsenic-affected communities while designing and allocating WASH projects. They plead for allocating budget for these special projects and demanded implementation of the same immediately.

The representatives from the WASH sectors urged for specific long-term WASH projects in line with government’s sector development plan to attain SDG. Need for a separate budget line for WASH to better track the allocation and implementation countrywide has also been proposed.

WaterAid Bangladesh, HDRC, UNICEF, WSSCC-B, FANSA-BD, BWA, BAWIN, EWP and NGO Forum for Public Health jointly organised the press conference.

For More Information

ASM Shafiqur Rahman, Communications Specialist, WaterAid Bangladesh

Mobile: +880 171 303 6796, e-mail:

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Youth are the key for community based adaption to climate

Climate change has a huge impact in Bangladesh in terms of loss and damage. To address the issue, youth are the key for community based adaption to climate Change as they are almost half of the part of population in Bangladesh.

This is the thinking of youth and organizers of the conference titled ‘Youth Conference on Community Based Adaptation (YCBA)’ held at North South University from 26 to 27 April. 

To encourage young people to be agents of change, particularly in addressing climate change issues in their communities, the youth conference was held. Organizers and participants said, empowering communities by adapting cause and consequences to climate change could be the best option to address the problem related to climate change.

The youth conference was organized by ActionAid Bangladesh, Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI), International Centre for climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Independent University, North South University, Plan International Bangladesh, Save the Children and WaterAid Bangladesh.

Addressing the issue of climate change in opening session of the conference, Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director of ICCCAD, said, ‘We, the old people, have made the climate change related problems and you, the youth, are the sufferer. As you are most part of the country in terms of population, you have to adapt the situation. So as a youth you have to lead the society in terms of adaptation, mitigation and resilience’.

Organizers facilitated eight sessions on Gender Equality and Urban Development, Health, Hygiene and Appropriate Sanitation, Youth Migration in Metropolis, Delta Plan 2100: Launching youth Competition, Capacity Building for Urban Industrial Entrepreneurs, Voice of Youth: Leadership for Resilience, Innovative Thinkers: Exploring Youth led Community Development in Cities to explore youth understanding, capacity and knowledge.

In addition, the event integrated the essentials of social entrepreneurship in climate change adaptation into the discussions and look at ways of building long lasting, beneficial, and sustainable systems that can benefit young people.

Youth Conference is a continuation of a journey where young people from all backgrounds are engaged in the fight against climate change by learning from experts and the field.

Mohmmed Aiyan Morshed, a youth participant in the conference, said after the conference, ‘Climate Change has a big impact on our life. From the conference, I feel adaptation can be one of the solutions to tackle the climate change impact. We have to do campaign for our rights. ’.

Annesha Habiba, a student of Norht South University, said in the closing ceremony ‘It is big opportunity for me to participate in the conference. I have come to know about climate change and its impacts. Now I can contribute to society in terms of adaptation. We are the big part of the country, so we have the responsibility to work for the victim’s people for climate change’. 

Mr. Nahim Razza, MP, Standing Committee, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Convener Youth Bangla said in the closing session of the conference on 27 April, ‘Climate change is a big issue and crisis for the country like Bangladesh. The effect of Climate change in Bangladesh is huge. We are in acute problem with Migration and Urbanization hazards. But hope is about our youth. Half of our population is now youth that we call demographic dividend. If these youth group take initiatives in their communities to adapt the climate change impact that will be very good for the country. We have been working on youth development issue so that they can be capable to contribute to the society’.

150 youth aged between15-25 participated in this two days long event where 20% is from school, 30% High school and 50% from Universities. By the conference, youth participants got the sense of the realities faced by vulnerable communities and community suffering from the adverse effects of climate change.

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Editor’s Note:

Youth Conference on Community-Based Adaptation is a parallel event of the 10th Community Based Adaption (CBA) Conferences which has been happening at Independent University of Bangladesh from April 21st to 28th. The theme of this year’s event is ‘Enhancing Urban Community Resilience‘.  CBA10 aims to share and unite the latest developments in community-based adaptation practices, policy and theory across sectors globally.

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WaterAid launches country programme strategy

Dhaka, 11 February, 2016: WaterAid Bangladesh has launched the “Bangladesh country programme strategy 2016-2021, reaching everyone, everywhere always, with improved WASH” at a city hotel in the capital today, 11 February, 2016 (Thursday).

Country program strategy of Bangladesh is the strategy document that will guide the programmatic approaches, design, partnerships and delivery mechanism of WaterAid Bangladesh in the next five years. Under this programme strategy WaterAid Bangladesh is to address WASH as a much more integrated component of overall development and achieving SDG 6 of which zero open defecation is only the beginning.

Roxana Quader, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Karin McDonald, Head of Development Cooperation, SIDA and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden; Breate Elsaesser, Director of Cooperation, SDC and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland; Shaulee Kamal Khan, Head of Legal and Regulatory Compliance, HSBC Bangladesh; Tim Clark, Chair, Board of Trustees, WaterAid; Anna Segall, Trustee, WaterAid; Barbara Frost, Chief Executive, WaterAid and Dr Md Khairul Islam, Country Representative, WaterAid Bangladesh were present at the launching ceremony. 

Commenting on the launch of the strategy Roxana Quader, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; said, “I highly acknowledge the contribution of WaterAid Bangladesh towards the development of WASH sector and its intention to integrate WASH with health and nutrition.”

Talking about the country program strategy Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid said, “We designed the strategy based on the SDG targets of WASH aligning local context of Bangladesh’s changing development landscape. We call for government, development partners, sector actors and civil society to act on strengthening WASH sector of Bangladesh.”

MoU signed with Dhaka University 2016

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between University of Dhaka and WaterAid Bangladesh for the construction and maintenance of a public toilet in TSC Chattar at Vice Chancellor's Office today (7 February, 2016 Sunday). This public toilet, supported by WaterAid Bangladesh & H&M Conscious Foundation will have separate male and female chamber, hand washing facilities, sanitary napkin etc.

Professor Dr Md Kamal Uddin, Treasurer, University of Dhaka and Dr Md Khairul Islam, Country Representative, WaterAid Bangladesh signed the MOU on behalf of their respective organisation. Honourable Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University Professor Dr. AAMS Arefin Siddique and WaterAid’s Global Chief Executive Barbara Frost, Chair of Board of Trustees Tim Clark and Anna Segall - Trustee member who are on an official visit in Bangladesh were also present in this signing ceremony.

Though within the last decade Bangladesh has become an open defecation free country, increasing the sanitation coverage from 34 percent to 99 percent in household level but ensuring WASH in institution and public domain is still a big challenge. In response with that, WaterAid Bangladesh is advocating to go beyond building toilets to climbing up the sanitation ladder, with long-term support and shared investment involving government, development partners, civil society, the private sector and communities.

On this event Barbara, Chief Executive WaterAid said, “I am delighted to see such an initiative being taken in a place of historical value and I believe it will set an example itself for the community.“

Professor Dr. AAMS Arefin Siddique, Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Dhaka University said, “Dhaka University has always played a decisive role in making a difference and it is essential to strengthen the participation of youth, as important actors for bringing change in the community.”

WaterAid CEO visit 2016

Dhaka, 5 February 2016: Chief executive officer of International NGO WaterAid Barbara Frost, along with Chair of the Board of Trustees Tim Clark and Trustee Anna Segall arrives Dhaka today (6 January 2016 Saturday) for a six-day visit.

During the tour, they would visit WaterAid Bangladesh’s different WASH programme focusing low-income communities in urban slums and in the northern part of the country that emphasizes access of WASH services and rights to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people of rural Bangladesh. They will also meet different high officials of the government, development partners and donor communities and discuss how better Bangladesh can be prepared to face the upcoming challenges of achieving SDG.  

They will inaugurate WaterAid Bangladesh country programme strategy for 2016 to 2021 - reaching everyone, everywhere with improved WASH. On the eve of shifting from MDG to SDG, this new strategy will address WASH as a much more integrated component of overall development and achieving SDG 6.

Barbara who has Been Chief Executive of WaterAid UK since September 2005 is playing a vital role in increasing the organisation's coverage from 15 countries to 27 countries in Asia and Africa. Tim is serving as Chair of Board of Trustees, was Senior Partner of the leading international law firm Slaughter and May and holds responsibility of many other philanthropies. Anna, a human rights lawyer with 25 years' experience on good governance, international law, human rights and protection with international organizations like the United Nations.