Nine-month development cooperation in Khulna lifts sanitation conditions for 36 slum settlements

banner toilet in slum

SNV and local organisation Nabolok applies SNV’s Urban Sanitation and Hygiene for Health and Development (USHHD) approach to improve management and maintenance of 200 toilets servicing 15,500 slum dwellers.

Between April and December 2019, SNV and Nabolok partnered to revive the proper functioning of the 200 Toilet Management Committees (TMCs) responsible for the day-to-day management of toilets across 36 slum settlements. Following an evaluation conducted by Khulna University, it was established that all 200 TMCs (and its sanitation champions) were delivering to their responsibilities. All but one of the 200 toilets were found to be in order.

Before the partnership’s interventions, only 22 TMCs were operational. More than half of all toilets were in poor condition (109).


Within those nine months, the following activities were undertaken by the partnership as part of SNV’s CWISE project, which is being financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

WASH governance regulations and enforcement: To aid Khulna City Corporation (KCC) authorities in performing their role as duty bearers of the human right to WASH, an updated database of toilet locations (GIS-IMIS database), list of TMCs (complete with names of sanitation champions for each of the 200 TMCs), and a list of 80 septic tanks (complete with focal person’s contact details) were transferred for KCC management.

Smart finance & investment: In collaboration with the Khulna Community Development Organization (KCDO), small sanitation business loans were made available for community-led TMCs and their members. Today 25 committee members are proud entrepreneurs, offering hygiene products such as sanitation pads, soaps and toilet-cleaning materials. There is also growing interest amongst some TMCs to offer toilet cleaning services.

BCC & awareness: A door-to-door mobilisation campaign on slum-specific sanitation and hygiene inter-related issues was conducted. Issues explored with community members and TMC sanitation champions include 1) activating a TMC in slums, 2) engaging community members in toilet operations and maintenance (O&M) to sustain accessibility, and 3) improving menstrual hygiene management [1], 4) handwashing with soap after defecation and 5) safe and regular emptying practice.

toilet renewal
toilet renewal

Safe and affordable services: KCC and CDC vacutug services receive subsidies to lower emptying costs for slum dwellers. On average these subsidies would range, depending on negotiations, between 10% and 20%.

Treatment, disposal and reuse: Through TMC champions, links were made  with KCC officials and the Community Development Committee to facilitate open dialogue and ensure that vacutug services rendered are not only affordable but meet quality standards. Increased awareness and collaboration led to the emptying of 16 septic tanks; an outcome of this nine-month collaboration.

With an active TMC and an environment that enables its members and sanitation champions to perform their O&M roles – the sanitation futures of slum dwellers are looking brighter. In order to sustain this progress, at the start of 2020, the KCC started taking a leading role in monitoring TMC and slum development activities.

Photos: (banner) Merelin Adhikari Keka, SNV in Bangladesh Capacity Building & Training Advisor showcasing one of the slum settlement toilets that have benefited from SNV's nine-month collaboration with Nabolok; (photos in-text) TMC members undertaking renewed responsibilities and activities to ensure maintenance, cleanliness and hygiene of toilets.

1 View menstrual hygiene management educational video here. Only available in Bangla.