Pro-poor market-based solutions for faecal sludge management
Improving the health conditions and living environment of more than 1 million people in Bangladesh by piloting innovative sanitation strategies and systems citywide.
With backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), SNV's Pro-poor Market-based Solutions for Faecal Sludge Management in Urban Centres of Southern Bangladesh project piloted new strategies for citywide safe sanitation in Khulna city, and two smaller towns - Kushtia and Jhenaidah.
The four-year phase one of the project aimed to improve the health conditions living environment of more than 1 million people. The project enabled safe sanitation conditions, contributed to human waste management reform, built government capacity to develop and implement waste management services and policy, and increased the productivity of and protected the health and dignity of people working in this sanitation sector.
The project covered four key components for change.
The bulk of human waste in some of the world's fastest developing cities is dumped untreated in local waterways, on marginal land or in open drains close to people’s houses – polluting the local environment and posing a huge health risk to communities. In Bangladesh, while 42% of the 30 million urban residents have ‘improved sanitation’ (latrines or septic tanks), the vast majority of waste still goes untreated. As a result, ground water reserves are increasingly contaminated by salinity, faecal matters, arsenic or industrial chemical waste, with statistics showing that over 25 million people in Bangladesh lack access to an ‘improved’ water source.
Without a working sewerage system, for many, the only option in Bangladesh’s dense cities is waste removal by hand, a task left to the nation’s poorest and most marginalised. These 'sweepers' play a vital role in managing human waste, but their jobs are poorly paid, unregulated and harmful to their health. The problem is immediate and impossible to ignore, which is why an SNV initiative in Bangladesh is working on solutions to both cleaning up the nation’s cities and building sustainable livelihoods in the waste business.