Locals, including ward councillors of Bauniabadh, Tekerbari, Shahidbagh, and Kalyanpur Porabosti areas, have recommended an extension of the Wash Crisis in Mirpur project.
Locals have suggested extending the "Addressing Wash Crisis in Low-income Settlements of Garment Workers in Mirpur, Dhaka" project initiated by Eco-Social Development Organisation (ESDO) and WaterAid Bangladesh.
Councillor Abdur Rauf Nannu of ward 5 under Mirpur 11 said, "You are working to implement exactly what Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said about hygiene rules and this is laudable."
Speaking about locals' comments on the project, he said the fact that the project had been effective could be understood from the words of those benefiting from it in the area.
The meetings were attended by secretaries of wards 2, 5, and 11, imams of local mosques, teachers, NGO representatives, health workers, volunteers, women entrepreneurs and other officials involved in the project.
They also discussed continuing the project activities and maintenance.
Md Abu Saeed Mia, headmaster of Abbas Uddin School, said, "The project has benefited students by providing water filters so that they can drink safe water, hand washing facilities, improved toilets, and special toilets for girls that they can use during menstruation. At present, the absence of girls in school due to menstruation has also decreased to a great extent."
He said through this project, the awareness that had been raised among students and the people of the community about proper hand washing along with other hygiene issues since 2018 had helped them a lot during the pandemic.
Pallabi thana Awami League General Secretary ASM Sarwar Alam said there is soil problem in Bauniabadh.
"As the soil in most areas has polythene, it is a big challenge to build a pucca toilet."
In this regard, he recommended making arrangements for mobile toilets and mobile hand wash, especially in the area. He also recommended extending the duration of the project.
The stakeholder meeting was attended by ward 11 Councillor Razia Sultana. At all meetings, we presented a detailed progress report on the project and discussed the highlighted activities in Kalyanpur over the past 2.5 years.
At the meeting, there was an open discussion session. Nasima Akhter, headmistress of Hakkani Mission School, said her school had benefited from the project.
She said they had received hand washing facilities and water filters that provided safe drinking water to students, which still continued.
They especially benefited from the project by getting special toilets for menstrual management, including improved toilets and MHM chambers.
She said the project had worked well in this regard.
The meeting was attended by female ward councillors of ward 11, local leaders, imams of local mosques, school teachers, NGO representatives, health workers, change agents, women entrepreneurs, and other officials of the project.
Community stakeholders said they have a responsibility to oversee these wash facilities. They said they are carrying out their responsibilities and will do so.
They also said they would work to oversee hardware facilities and ensure hygiene practices among people in their communities.
Local officials of wards 2, 5, and 11 made similar comments.
Stakeholder meeting in Kalyanpur
Mentioning that the Wash Crisis project would end on 31 March 2021, all councillors said the project had been very good and had benefited the people in slums and schools.
Women and men feel comfortable as they have separate chamber toilets. Now people do not have to wait in queues for long to go to community toilets.
Female students do not remain absent in class during menstruation as they have the opportunity to use the monthly management chamber.
Everyone said if the duration of the project was extended, that would have benefitted locals more, especially hygiene awareness would have become habits.
Capacity building events organised for duty bearers
Stakeholder capacity building meeting at Tekerbari ward 2:
A stakeholder meeting was held at Tekerbari slum on 21 November and 30 people participated in it. The commissioner of ward 2, community leaders, school teachers, imams from mosques, NGO representatives, and change agents attended the meeting.
The meeting objective was to support installation/renovation of safe drinking water sources, improved sanitation, and influence the community people to change their hygiene behaviour.
Community stakeholders said they have a responsibility to oversee this facility and they are doing this. At the meeting, stakeholders took up the responsibility to oversee hardware facilities and ensure hygiene practices among their community people.
The imam of Tekerbari mosque said he would take up the responsibility to talk about hand washing and other issues during the khutbah of Friday prayers. Also, other members have taken up the responsibility to follow up on how the community people practice hygiene in toilets and handwashing stations.
Moreover, they said they would discuss the WASH issue at their various committee meetings. They prepared an action plan at the meeting to overcome various WASH problems and sustain WASH services in their slum.