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For Debendranath and his community, Water Means Life

WaterAid/ Fabeha Monir

With your group's support this Christmas, we can bring a reliable source of clean water to Bhetkhali, Bangladesh.

Water Means Life

In the mangrove forests of Satkhira, southern Bangladesh, water is both a gift and a curse.

When it’s clean and close to home, water means life.

But when it’s contaminated, it means sickness and disease. When it’s unpredictable, it means ruined crops and flooded homes. And when it’s a long, dangerous walk away, it means there's little time to spend on other things.

This is the reality for the Munda people, a marginalised ethnic group, living in the village of Bhetkhali – and, as climate change brings increasingly severe weather extremes, it's only getting worse.

The biggest issue that people in my community face is the lack of water

Debendranath Munda, community elder

The difference your group can make

We can't control the weather, but there’s one simple solution that can change its impacts for Bhetkhali.

A rainwater harvesting plant will provide people here with a reliable source of clean water – and with it, the power to transform their lives.

The technology is straightforward, sustainable, and, crucially, easy for local residents to maintain.

We know just how great an impact it can have, because we’ve already worked with the nearby community of Kholbari to install one there – and for people like Komola Munda, a mother and tailor who was elected as the plant’s caretaker, the difference it's made is huge.

I used to collect water from a pond. Almost everyone got a waterborne disease.

There have been lots of changes in our lives: medical expenses have decreased and we have more time. Since I now have time to work on my tailoring, I can earn a living.

Komola Munda collects clean water at the rainwater harvesting system pump, Kolbari, Bangladesh
Komola Munda, 23, fills a jug with clean water from the plant.
Image: WaterAid/ Fabeha Monir

With your group’s support, we’ll work with our local partner and the people of Bhetkhali to bring the same transformation here.

Together, we’ll build a rainwater harvesting plant, and train people in how to run and maintain it. We'll install climate-resilient taps and toilets, along with private bathing facilities for women. And we'll run hygiene awareness sessions, supporting people to develop good practices to stay healthy and well.

Fundraising resources

Use these resources to learn more about the difference clean water makes, and inspire your group to take part in our Water Means Life appeal this Christmas.

Learn more about our work

Bring the appeal to life with a talk or workshop from our Speaker Network.

Pay in your fundraising

If you've already collected some money for the appeal – thank you! There are lots of ways you can send it to us: