More public-private partnership needed for improved sanitation for the mass: Experts
The suggestion came at a roundtable discussion programme on “World Toilet Day 2021” held at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden on Thursday (18 November)
Experts have suggested that more public-private partnership (PPP) programmes are needed to ensure access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for the general mass.
The suggestion came at a roundtable discussion programme on "World Toilet Day 2021" held at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden on Thursday (18 November). The programme was organised by Bhumijo and WaterAid Bangladesh and supported by Unilever's toilet cleaning brand Domex, Kimberly-Clark and a social enterprise Transform, said a press release.
The round table discussion was moderated by The Daily Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta, while Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam was present as the chief guest.
"We will take legal action against the owners of the buildings that are not following the rules of having proper sewerage and waste lines," Mayor Atiqul Islam said.
While welcoming the collective efforts of organisations including Water Aid, Bhumijo, Unilever, to build hygienic public toilets and assuring cooperation, he said, "Initiatives have been taken to build public toilets for citizens and CCTV cameras are being installed outside of the public toilets in order to ensure security."
"Dhaka North City Corporation has launched a digital platform called Dhaka App for the convenience of the citizens of Dhaka City. Citizens will be able to find out the location of the public toilets by using this app," he added.
The speakers also emphasised the need to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6.2 target which is access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and highlighted the existing system of public toilets operation and maintenance in the city.
WaterAid research showed that for 5 million people on everyday Dhaka Street has only 49 public toilets, most of which were not usable. After that initiative to improve situation was taken. WaterAid Bangladesh is the first organisation who started the movement of "making the public toilet work". In partnership with Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) they have built 30 Public toilets. Bhumijo is the only social impact organisation in Bangladesh, working on constructing, refurbishing and maintaining public toilets. With support from BRAC, Bhumijo started journey in 2017 by creating countries first women only toilet at Gausia market, Dhaka. Currently serving around 3500 people with their 14 facilities.
Speaking on the occasion, Unilever Bangladesh Marketing Director Md Shadman Sadikin said: "Unilever believes that access to sanitation should be a basic human right for all, not a privilege for some. And Unilever is contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 on achieving adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all – through the power of its leading toilet cleaner brand Domex. Since the beginning of the launch in Bangladesh, Domex partnered up with government and organizations like Bhumijo, Brac and WaterAid to raise mass awareness about improving sanitation through behavioral change campaigns (BCC). And in future, Unilever & Domex will continue to support our govt and partners with impactful and insightful BCC campaigns to drive mass awareness and improve sanitation hygiene habits with its brand messages."
"Policy should support advertisement as additional revenue, engagement of more private sector, permission for testing different business model are the key to bring visible changes. Also, more financing is required to increase number of facilities for which commitment from government and development sector," said Farhana Rashid, the founder, and CEO of Bhumijo.
One dollar invested in basic sanitation returns up to five dollars in saved medical costs and increased productivity, and jobs are created along the entire service chain, she added.
Tanzeen Ferdous, Independent Director of Bhumijo and Director of Unilever said: "for the privileged few like us, we only value toilets, when we get out of our comfortable homes and try to find a clean one to go to. But if Bangladesh has to reach its potential, we need to address this problem together – private sector, government, NGOs and donors, need to create sustainable business models such as the one initiated from TRANSFORM and Unilever which also supported the maintenance, through outdoor advertisements with our Domex brand."
"WaterAid has been involved in providing clean water and installing public toilets for a long time. We will continue this type of initiatives in the future as well," Water Aid Bangladesh Country Director Hasin Jahan said.
Tariq Bin Yusuf, Additional Chief Engineer of DNCC; Atal Kumar Majumder, advisor of ESDO; M A Hakim, director WASH of DSK along with other dignitaries attended the event. In addition, Ishita Alam Abonee, urban development specialist of World Bank; Pushkar Srivastava, project management specialist of ADB; Amit Datta Roy, senior project officer of ADB also joined the programme virtually.