They are responsible for identifying the water and sanitation situation and underprivileged population, allocating loan and grants or subsidy for poor and hard core poor, site selection and collection of contribution money from clients and overall monitoring and progress of use and practice by the villagers.
WASH photo story
BRAC WASH diary, October entry: Celebrations and Reflections on National Sanitation month
WASH Programme is implemented in 248 upazilas under 53 districts. Rallies and seminarswere held where participants marched together to celebrate and spread awareness on theNational Sanitation Month in each WASH upazila. In addition, district advocacy workshopswere organized in 29 districts
As a member of the National Sanitation taskforce, BRAC WASH organizes various events every year during theNational Sanitation month of October to spread mass awareness on sanitation and hygiene.Here, District Commissioner, Mr. Mezbauddin is speaking at the National Sanitation month workshop held atKhulna on the 17th. He spoke on the relationship of a healthy lifestyle and safe hygiene practices, adding thatawareness and education were key tools to bring behavioral changes and build a safer and healthier Bangladesh.
Participants that included schools students, community members, governmentofficials and members from over 40,000 Village WASH Committees participated atthe Global Handwashing Day on October 15th by washing their hands at the sametime all over Bangladesh.
To stimulate a bottom-up approach in planning and participation, Village WASH Committees whosemembers represent their entire communities, were made in every village where the programme is beingimplemented. Members gather on a regular basis year-round to ensure proper implementation andmaintenance of the programme by identifying needs; allocating loans/grants/subsidies; selecting sites andcollecting money from clients; and overall monitoring facilities and the practice of villagers
Area maps such as these allow VWCs to keep a record of and monitor sanitationfacilities such as latrines and safe water sources in village households
Members of the Village WASH Committee (VWC) in Dhamrai, Dhaka discuss importantupdates at their meeting. VWCs have an all-inclusive membership, that particularly focuson poor women who are increasingly becoming instruments of social change in theircommunities
Salma Ali works to promote safe hygiene practices and to encourage households to install proper latrines.When she first started, men from even her own family used to tell her to mind her own business and go backto her kitchen. “But things are changing now,” she says.“The village has moved to an 83% sanitation coverage from 40% before,” says Salma, adding, “A few years ago,adults would not wear sandals before going to the toilet, but now every five year old in the village knows towear sandals before going to the latrine. They know how to wash their hands and as a result, diseases likediarrhea have gone down.”
Another member, Moazzem Hossain, is trying to arrange for a latrine to be installed at a housenearby the masjid. “People used to think that the VWC was all talk and no action, but now theyknow that is not true because everybody has seen the results. People’s thoughts are changingand so are their behaviors,” he says. Moazzem gives an example of how before, the belief invillages was that people should stop drinking water if someone had diarrhea. “Now they knowbetter because they try to hydrate as much as possible by drinking salt water, molasses and oralsaline, and practice safe hygiene practices” he adds.
Shomik Ahmed and Dolly Akhtar, both in class nine, represent the faces of many student brigades all overthe country who are advocating for sanitation facilities and proper hygiene practices among their peers.“After separate toilet facilities for girls were installed in our school with BRAC WASH’s support, girls feelmore comfortable to come to school. In today’s age, we cannot allow girls to fall behind,” say the twoclassmates.
Their Principal, Tofazzal Hossain, stresses on the importance of addressing sanitation issues. Headinghis school proudly, he says that even though it is a tough obstacle, proper facilities need to beintroduced to all schools in the country. Speaking fondly of his student WASH brigade, he realizes howambassadors like them are very important, saying, “Kids talk more freely with other kids. The best wayfor information to be received is when they are given by somebody you can connect to.”
Women regularly sit down at meetings to discuss and learn about sanitation and hygiene issuesthat are conducted by Programme Assistants. Rural women play the very important roles of caregivers in their families and have become valued agents of the BRAC WASH programme.
Fatema Akhtar, a Programme Assistant, teaches a young mother and her son the proper way towash their hands.
Special session for adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene, which is a key issue affecting girls’ dropoutrates in schools
The women of the village who attend WASH meetings help each other by monitoring proper sanitationand hygiene practices. The meetings have also become an outlet for them to socialize and make goodfriends.
WASH teaches households to share the task of maintaining and installing theirfacilities, which used to be perceived as a “woman’s job”.
Handwashing for every member of thefamily, is particularly important in reducingthe burden of infectious and parasiticdiseases. The hands are the last line ofdefense against exposure to pathogenswhich can occur either directly from thehand to the mouth, eye, nose, or other areaof the skin, or indirectly by “handling” offood or water. Villages where theprogramme has been implemented all notea great reduction in the number of water-borne diseases.
The Programme’s bottom-up approach ensures that there is an open communication of ideasand practices at all levels of the organization. Trainings have become a very important channelwhere management level staff are able to take inputs from field level staff and vice versa.
From the ultra-poor to the well off, every household that is covered by the programmeis monitored by WASH staff in order to ensure their facilities are maintained and theirknowledge is retained
Research is being conducted to make bio fertilizer out of fecal sludge in order to make the WASH programmeeven more sustainable in the near future