The World Bank has approved $200 million loans to help Bangladesh improve access to safe water and sanitation services in rural areas.
The approval came from the lender’s headquarters in Washington on Friday, says a WB release received here on Saturday.The Bangladesh Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Human Capital Development Project will help about 600,000 people avail safe and clean water through large and small piped water schemes in rural areas. It will also provide access to improved sanitation services to over 3.6 million rural people.
Through providing better access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities at homes and in public places and motivating people to adopt proper hand washing practices, the project will help prevent diseases and protect from infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, it will address urgent WASH needs during the COVID 19 pandemic in a quick and timely way. “Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in providing access to basic water supply to all and end open-defecation. However the quality of water and sanitation and the link between safe water and sanitation and human capital development remains a challenge,” said WB Country Director Mercy Tembon
“This project will provide clean water and sanitation services that will reduce diarrheal diseases, improve nutrition, health, and reduce stunting among children under five, and especially benefit those in vulnerable groups. This will help the country to reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth,” she added.
In rural areas, only about 3 percent households had piped water connections in 2017. In addition to investing in large and small piped schemes, the project will facilitate loans for households to improve their water and sanitation facilities and for the local WASH entrepreneurs expand their business. Furthermore, to ensure the quality and sustainability of the piped water schemes and fecal sludge management, the project will train the local entrepreneurs.
In crowded public spaces—such as markets, bus stations and community clinics—the project will set up about 2,514 hand washing stations with overhead tanks for running water, drainage, and sanitation facilities, which will be equipped with soaps.