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Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC, has been awarded the prestigious 2018 LEGO Prize in recognition of his extraordinary contribution towards improving children's lives and their opportunities to play, learn and develop.

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, chairman of the board of Lego Foundation, handed over the prize to Sir Fazle at an event last evening (Tuesday 10 April 2018) in Denmark.

The LEGO Foundation, a Danish corporate foundation, has been awarding this prize since 1985 to individuals and organisations who are committed to the lives of children and are champions of learning through play.

The prize is accompanied by a cash award of USD 100,000, which will be used to strengthen BRAC’s support for children living with neuro-developmental disabilities and their families.

From the beginning of his career and the establishment of BRAC, Sir Fazle has viewed education as a crucial catalyst for change. He firmly believes that it is about more than just schools and books, and constant innovation is a cornerstone of BRAC’s approach. Since launching its non-formal education programme in Bangladesh in 1985, more than 11 million children have graduated from BRAC’s primary and pre-primary schools.

BRAC has set up more than 1,400 play-based early childhood development centres across Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda, where close to 40,000 children aged 1 to 5 years are presently enrolled. Of these, some 1,200 centres known as 'Khelar Jogot' (‘World of Play’ in English) are in Bangladesh. In these centres, pre-school children have access to age-appropriate play materials, a play-based curriculum, and play spaces that ensure their holistic development.

“It is an honour to receive the esteemed LEGO Prize. Every child deserves the opportunity to grow and develop. This generous financial contribution will support the holistic development of an underserved group of children in Bangladesh with special needs,” said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.

“At BRAC, we pride ourselves on taking an innovative approach to early childhood development and education and share the LEGO Foundation’s passion for learning through play. Through our Play Lab programme, we have seen first-hand the power it can have in a child’s development,” he added.

Finnish educator and scholar Pasi Sahlberg, educationist and president of Reggio Children Carla Rinaldi, and founder of Right To Play International Johann Koss are among the earlier winners of the LEGO Prize.

In addition to its early childhood development centres, BRAC operates some 10,000 pre-primary schools, 3,200 non-formal primary schools, 8,700 primary schools, and a university. BRAC also provides technical support to 3,846 primary schools.

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Focus on building skills workforce to achieve SDG target

Nearly 87 percent of the country’s total workforce are involved in farming, small businesses and other forms of informal occupation. A large segment of the workforce is not being properly utilised in the skilled sectors. Many of these people are unable to enter the formal employment sector due to a lack of demanded professional skills and knowledge. This is a considerable barrier for the entire country in terms of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

These insights were revealed at the inauguration ceremony for BRAC Institute of Skills Development held in the capital’s Uttara area today, 10th April 2018. The Honourable Minister of Education, Nurul Islam Nahid MP inaugurated the event as the chief guest.

Among the other guests present were Alfaz Hossain, Project Director at the Bureau of Non-Formal Education, ABM Korshed Alam, Chief Executive Officer of National Skill Development Council Secretariat, Beatrice Kaldun, Head of UNESCO Dhaka Office, Dr. Muhammad Musa, Executive Director of BRAC. BRAC’s Senior Director for Communications, Strategy and Empowerment, Asif Saleh, gave presentation on the skills context in Bangladesh.

It was mentioned in the presentation that more than 2 million people are entering the workforce every year in Bangladesh. The number of people readily seeking employment is estimated to rise up to 76 million by the year 2025 in Bangladesh. With almost 60 percent of the current population entering the workforce being 30 years and younger, close to 40 percent of these young people are being left unskilled and unemployed. To tackle these issues with innovative and impactful interventions, BRAC launched the Skills Development Programme in 2015. BRAC Institute of Skills Development is starting its journey as an extension and scaled up model of the programme.

BRAC-ISD provides market driven skills training covering a wide range of sectors – from information technology to hospitality and tourism. Learners receive certification that is nationally accredited by the Bangladesh Technical Education Board as well as internationally by City & Guilds. After graduating, BRAC-ISD also supports its learners to secure full-time employment.

Outside of Dhaka, BRAC-ISD operates training centres in Narayanganj, Pabna, Manikganj, Rangpur, Magura, Cumilla, Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram.

Nurul Islam Nahid MP said, "education is our utmost priority. But technical skills education also needs considerable attention. However, a big challenge in this field is changing social perceptions surrounding it. Most of our people strongly hold the belief that acquiring a higher education degree is the gold standard to landing decent employment. Some of the other barriers to proliferation of skill based education include interest from women to get involved and shortage of trained instructors."

He also added, "currently we have 49 polytechnic colleges across the country that offer four-year long programmes. With the aim of enhancing skilled workforce, the Government is also planning to establish 38 more polytechnic institutes." The Minister stressed on the fact that institutional training should focus more on modern methods instead of outdated practices.

Beatric Kaldun stated, "A significant emphasis is being placed on creating long-term decent employment opportunities to meet the targets set in SDG 8. From today's discussion it is clear to me that a large portion of people in Bangladesh entering the workforce are below 30 years of age. It is not enough to just give them skills training, but rather to ensure that the training given fulfills the needs of the market."

Dr. Musa also emphasised on improving the skills development scenario and better quality training to ensure greater opportunities both locally and abroad.

To know more about BRAC ISD click here.

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BRAC received a contribution of USD 1.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2017 to build its preparedness and emergency response capacity in BRAC International’s head office, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Myanmar. BRAC will employ a community-based approach to assist women, children, youth and local government representatives to build resilience against disasters.

 

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed shared that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been a key partner in building the emergency response capacity of BRAC. The partnership becomes stronger with this fund commitment. He also mentioned that right now, we are facing the greatest conflict around the world since the Second World War: the crises in Syria and South Sudan require large-scale humanitarian responses, so we have to work not only for Bangladesh, but also for other countries. BRAC International is now focusing on building capacity and preparedness in order to be able to respond effectively in humanitarian emergencies.

 

BRAC has developed the capacity of staff working in Bangladesh for the last 10 years, providing rapid humanitarian assistance to help more than 2 million people around the world recover from disasters. As Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said, “As we live and work in disaster-prone environments, we need to build our capacity to understand the nature of disasters and how to act in emergency situations, keeping BRAC’s principles and values in mind, and act accordingly".

 

Researchers have shown that a dollar invested in building local preparedness reduces at least eight dollars in losses from disasters. Studies have shown that the preparedness approach is highly effective and has positive long-term impacts. The funding will allow BRAC to develop a model of disaster preparedness in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Myanmar to strengthen localisation, an approach that focuses on community ownership. The localisation agenda was recognised at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016 and received funding commitments from development partners, foundations, international organisations, UN and philanthropists. BRAC aims to build the resilience capacity of six local governments, six schools and six communities using this model and plans to replicate it in other countries.

 

Monday, 26 March 2018 00:00

BRAC ranked top global NGO of 2018

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BRAC tops NGO Advisor’s list of the best non-governmental organisations in the world for the third year running.

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BRAC, an international development organisation and global leader in developing cost-effective, evidence-based programmes in conflict-prone and post-disaster settings, was today ranked the number one NGO in the world for 2018. The ranking was done by NGO Advisor, an independent media organisation based in Geneva. BRAC took the top spot for the third year in a row as part of the 2018 Top 500 NGOs World rankings.

“We are deeply honoured to be ranked as the Top Global NGO for the third consecutive year,” said BRAC Founder and Chairperson, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. “This accolade belongs to all BRAC staff for championing the BRAC values of integrity, innovation, inclusiveness and effectiveness in everything we do. Our 110 million plus programme participants worldwide, who play an active role in their own transformative journeys, are the real winners. We are inspired by their resilience and spirit to continue striving for a just and equitable world.”

NGO Advisor releases the Top 500 NGOs World rankings each year to highlight outstanding organisations in the nonprofit sector. It conducts exhaustive research, evaluates hundreds of NGOs against a rigorous set of criteria, and ranks these organisations according to a robust methodology. This marks the fourth time in five years that BRAC has earned the number one ranking.

“For any organisation to be a part of the top 100, not to mention the top ten, they need to score strongly in the three pillars of our methodology: innovation, impact, and governance. BRAC continues to chart new territory in all three, pioneering creative, cost-effective, and sustainable interventions that reach millions of the most vulnerable people worldwide,” said NGO Advisor Editor-in-Chief Jean-Christophe Nothias in a statement.

BRAC is one of the few development organisations based in the global south that operates worldwide. Founded in Bangladesh in 1972 and today active in 11 countries, this distinct perspective ensures success for an organisation that runs programmes in microfinance, education, healthcare, legal rights, girls’ empowerment, and agriculture; socially responsible businesses; a bank; a university; and one of the world’s largest mobile money platforms, bKash.

BRAC has an annual global expenditure exceeding $1 billion. The organisation is also unique in that the majority of its programmes are self-financed. In Bangladesh, more than 75 percent of its budget comes from its own social enterprises. In 2017, this was a key determinant for NGO Advisor, which noted this innovative cost-recovery model and focus on sustainability.

“Dynamism is one of our core strengths,” said Dr. Muhammad Musa, Executive Director of BRAC. “BRAC goes beyond the traditional NGO definition and has a unique, integrated model to drive positive social change, including development programmes, social enterprises, investments and university. 2017 has been a landmark year for BRAC as we have also extended our work in humanitarian crisis management to support almost a million Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals, or Rohingyas, coming into southern Bangladesh. We will continue to evolve and focus on a humanitarian development approach, to maximise the impact for both displaced people and host communities. In the long run, we aim to leverage our expertise to support people in crises anywhere in the world."

BRAC is ranked alongside NGOs at the forefront of the international development sector, with Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders; the Danish Refugee Council; the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, both of which support and enable social entrepreneurship worldwide.

 

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Sunday, 25 March 2018 00:00

80% TB patients remain undiagnosed

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Although the government's overall success continues in tuberculosis treatment, control of multi-drug resistant TB or MDR TB remains a major challenge, mainly due to complications in diagnostic process. Still now, Estimated 80% of the patients with MDR TB infection cannot be diagnosed. Moreover, treatment cannot be reached to 33 per cent patients contracting any kind of TB. However, despite there are diagnostic problems, treatment success for pulmonary TB in the country is as high as 95 per cent.

Experts revealed the information at a press conference today on Thursday (22 March 2018) at the National Press Club. Health and family welfare ministry, National TB Control Programme (NTP) and BRAC organised the event on the occasion of World TB Day to be observed on 24 March.

Dr Md Abul Khair Basher presented the keynote paper at the press event. NTP Medical Officer Dr Nazis Arefin Saki gave a presentation on the NTP management, while its Monitoring and Evaluation Expert Dr Ahmedul Hassan Khan gave the welcome speech. NTP line director Professor Dr Samiul Islam moderated the question and answer session with the press.

Among other guests present at the press conference were World Health Organisation Medical Officer Mya Sapol, National Anti-tuberculosis Association of Bangladesh (NATAB) president Mozaffar Hossain Paltu, USAID Senior Adviser for infectious diseases Dr Charles Lerman, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh scientist Dr Sayra Banu and BRAC Director Dr Md Akramul Islam.

Speakers mentioned shortage of GeneXpert machines used for MDR TB detection as a major hindrance in this regard. Lack of awareness and length of MDR TB treatment duration are also important factors for many not completing the full treatment course.

According to the NTP, 2 lakh 44 thousand and 201 patients were detected with TB and received treatment in 2017 through this government entity. Of them, 10 thousand and 189 are less than 15 years old. Further, 12 patients have been diagnosed as extensively drug resistant (XDR).

The keynote speech stressed that in Bangladesh 221 individual’s contract TB infection every year and 40 die of the infection (Global TB report 2017). The statistics itself highlights the urgency of deploying sufficient equipment as well as strengthening the mass awareness campaign in this regard.

Professor Dr Samiul Islam said the country's success in diagnosing and treating tuberculosis between 1993 and 2018 bears the evidence of the achievement of the National TB Control Programme. Under NTP, the rate of diagnosis is 77 per cent per one lakh population and that of recovery 95 per cent per one lakh.

He further said that despite the success Bangladesh is still one of the 30 countries most vulnerable to this infection. He called for all to work unitedly to free the country from TB.

Mya Sapol stressed collaborative effort between the government and the non-governmental sector in controlling TB.

Dr Md Akramul Islam called on the mass media to play a stronger role in TB control campaign through dissemination of information about the efforts undertaken at both the government and the non-governmental level. He further said, prevalence of TB infection is high among urban and elderly population. Giving special emphasis on urban TB control he said, this initiative are under expansion in the slums among floating population, industrial areas, prisons and private sector.

The speakers also highlighted a number of challenges in controlling TB, which include constraints in diagnosing child TB, increase in urban TB prevalence among elderly and workplace people, shortage of GeneXpert machines and lack of human resources in diagnostic activities, lack of involvement of the private sector, and diagnosis yet to be made compulsory in the treatment regimen.

This year's slogan for World TB Day is “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World. You can make history. End TB”

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Improved early warning system, long-term farming plan, embankment construction and repair and alternative employment stressed

Establishment of manufacture plants to create alternative employment opportunity, assistance for women entrepreneurs and effective measures to prevent and control river erosion include the essential measures for the development of the people haor areas in the north and northeast of Bangladesh.

The speakers stressed these points at a presentation event on a research titled 'Lives and livelihood issues of haor dwellers' organised at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital today on Wednesday (14 March 2018). Probal Saha, water resource management specialist of the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER), delivered the keynote presentation at the programme. The C3ER, a research body under BRAC University, carried out the research.

Water resources minister and lawmaker Anwar Hossain Manju attended the event as the chief guest, while state minister for finance and planning and lawmaker Muhammad Abdul Mannan was present as special guest. Moderated by BRAC Advocacy for Social Change programme's director KAM Morshed, the event was addressed by among others, senior secretary of water resources ministry Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, Save the Children deputy country director Dr Ishtiaq Mannan, Integrated Development Programme's head Shyam Sundar and World Vision's humanitarian and emergency affairs director Dolon Josef Gomes.

C3ER conducted the study between 7 February and 15 March this year under the 'Flash flood recovery project'. BRAC, Save the Children and World Vision International are implementing the project with funding from the UKAID and managed by the UN office for the project services (UNOPS). The project was undertaken last year (2017) in the context of flash flood in the vast haor areas, severely affecting the life and livelihood of the local community.

The study was conducted among nine communities in three upazlias of two districts which are: four communities of Tahirpur upazila and three communities of Dirai upazila, both under Sunamganj and two communities of Itna upazila of Kishoreganj district. The study followed mainly a qualitative methodology in which 126 community members and 9 (nine) representatives of the local government bodies took part.

The participants mostly emphasised creation of alternative employment opportunities as an urgent measure to tackle the crisis of lack of employment in the vast haor area. Their suggestions in this regard include establishment of manufacturing units and support to promote entrepreneurship among women through training and materials such as sewing machines. They also identified a faulty market management system as a major impediment for the farmers not being able to sell their farm produces.

The study recommendations include among others, low-interest bank loans for the haor dwellers, construction and repair of embankments, long-term planning to boost agricultural production, opening 'jolmohal' (water-bodies under government jurisdiction that are leased out for fish culture) for affected people during emergencies of flash floods and other natural disasters allowing them to catch fish, and technological improvement of early warning system in weather forecast.

The water resources minister, Anwar Hossain Manju, said at the programme, 'The haor areas are affected by a complicated set of problems that cannot be solved all in one go. To effectively address the problems they need to be prioritised. Since we have resource constraints, we cannot prevent erosion in all rivers, nor can we dredge all the rivers. However, under the guidance by the honourable prime minister we are giving special priority to river dredging.'

He further stressed collaborative effort, saying, 'We would have achieved GDP growth 10 times more if we could work in coordination at all levels, including districts and unions. And, if we could prevent "wastage", which however is termed "corruption" by many, there was GDP growth 2 times more.'

State minister for finance and planning Muhammad Abdul Mannan said, 'I have much doubt about the sustainability of the crop insurance in the haor area. It is because, an insurance means that the clients will have to pay the premiums. So we have to think more how realistic option the crop insurance would be for the poor farmers of the haor.'

Dr Ishtiaq Mannan said, 'Time is extremely valuable in haor livelihood management. Resource damage cannot be prevented unless we are able to take timely action. For this involving the local community is essential for effective infrastructure management in haor.'

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Ninety-four per cent (94%) women commuting in public transport in Bangladesh have experienced sexual harassment in verbal, physical and other forms, a study by development organisation BRAC has revealed. A somewhat surprising revelation of the study is that males belonging to relatively older age group of 41-60 years have been identified as the major perpetrators. This group has been identified as perpetrators for 66 per cent of such incidents. The study also mentions factors including lax implementation of laws, excessive crowds in the buses and weak or no monitoring (such as absence of close circuit cameras) as the major causes behind sexual harassment in roads and public transport especially in the buses.

The findings of the study titled 'Rods free from sexual harassment and crash for women' was presented at a press event today on Tuesday (6 March 2018) at the National Press Club in the capital. BRAC with assistance from BRAC University carried out the research.

Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Professor Simeen Mahmud, Fahmida Saadia Rahman and Kabita Chowdhury conducted the research.

Hasne Ara Begum, programme coordinator of GJ&D programme and Kabita Chowdhury, research associate of the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development under BRAC University, presented the keynote on the research findings. Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb and Ahmed Najmul Hussain, director of BRAC Road Safety Programme, spoke among others at the event. GJ&D programme coordinator Nishath Sultana moderated the programme.

BRAC organised the press event on the occasion of International Women's Day to be celebrated on 8th March and in alignment with its broader objective of promoting the agenda of creating safe public space and facilitating safe mobility for women.

Ahmed Najmul Hussain in his welcome speech said, 'BRAC is working in 100 schools along the Gazipur-Tangail highway to raise awareness about sexual harassment on road and public transport. Students and teachers will be informed on the issues of road safety and sexual harassment risk on road and will be trained raise their capacity of preventing such incidents'

The research was conducted in a three-month period between April and June last year (2017). A total of 415 women participated in the research as respondents in its quantitative and qualitative stages. In terms of localities, the study covered the women from low and lower-middle income background in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, who commute by public transport and on foot to go to workplace and other destinations. The geographic areas covered in the research are Gazipur, Dhaka and Birulia of Savar upazila in Dhaka district.

According to the research, 35 per cent respondents using public transport said they faced sexual harassment from males belonging to the age group of 19-35 years. Around 59 per cent respondents faced such harassment from the males who are 26-40 years old. The forms of sexual harassment experienced by the respondents include deliberate touching of victim's body with chest and other parts of the body, pinching, standing too close to the victim and pushing, touching of hair of the victims, putting hand on their shoulder, touching private parts of the victims. In response to the question 'What do women do when they are victim of such harassments?' 81 per cent women said they have kept silent while 79 per cent said they moved away from the place of harassment.

The research also observes that the present education system in which male and female children attend institutions separately restricts the scope for learning gender equality lessons as well as building the attitude and habit of treating both the sexes equally and with respect. To help children learn such attitude adequate training and counselling of teachers and counsellors are essential, it also observes.

Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb said that the pervasive nature of sexual harassment on road and transport calls for a much larger study that will reflect the nationwide scenario in this regard.

Habibur Rahman, programme head of GJ&D said in his closing remarks that the recommendations and observations made by the journalists at the press event will be taken into consideration for conducting studies in a larger scale.

Speakers at the event also observed that although commendable progress has been made in the country in terms of women's education and professional engagement, the feeling of insecurity among women is pervasive. To address the existing issues they demanded for stricter implementation of laws besides initiatives to raise public awareness.

Sunday, 25 February 2018 00:00

Ultra poor programmes

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In the Balochistan province of Pakistan, the most vulnerable people suffer severely from seasonal income crisis, acute food insecurity, severe malnutrition, and scarcity of water and sanitation. Due to unfavourable weather and under utilisation of resources, most of these people survive on low purchasing power with diminished economic opportunities.

We launched the ultra poor programme in Lasbela district in Balochistan to graduate people out of extreme poverty, in collaboration with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.

Our programme is specially designed to meet the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised, who are deprived of social and economic opportunities. We use an integrated model to provide a holistic environment conducive to socioeconomic uplift of ultra poor, poor and marginalised communities. The objective is poverty reduction through creation of sustainable conditions of social and economic development, including increased income and production capacity and social support.

Our holistic model has interventions in all sectors. We create social mobilisation for strengthening of community institutions. We increase health coverage by developing qualified paramedical staff and improving government health facilities. We promote education through community sensitisation, teachers’ training, establishing school enterprises and supporting government schools. We build communities through physical infrastructure development in renewable energy schemes, irrigation schemes, and drinking water schemes to collectively provide a sustainable enabling environment. Finally, we improve livelihood through productive assets transfer, skills and enterprise development trainings, with eventual graduation to microfinance.

Our projects:

ProgrammeProjectDonorStarting DateDuration
Ultra Poor Programme Programme for Poverty Reduction Government of Italy’s Facility and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund July 2015 3 years

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One in three women worldwide have been beaten or raped during their lifetime, according to a publication by the World Health Organisation. With a world population of 7 billion, that is more than one billion women and girls. At BRAC, our vision is a world free from all forms of exploitation and discrimination where everyone has the opportunity to realise their potential. This vision can only be achieved if men and women around the world work together to end violence, exploitation and discrimination against women.

One Billion Rising (OBR) first launched on Valentine’s Day in 2012 as a call to action to end violence against women. The theme of the 2018 campaign is “Solidarity Against the Exploitation of Women”. On the 14 February 2018, BRAC in Uganda, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan rose in solidarity with the one billion women and girls who suffer due to violence against women.

BRAC in Uganda pledged its support to the One Billion Rising campaign through writing short yet powerful slogans in a number of languages. The question 'What message would you depict to call for the end of violence against women?' was posed to country office staff to find out their attitudes towards violence against women. There were a number of clear favorites, such as "Pamper her, don't batter her" and "Humankind = Womankind Mankind. Women are human too".

uganda-one-billion-risingBRAC Uganda country office staff promote OBR

nepal-one-billion-risingAdolescent girls’ club members and female community health volunteers rally for OBR in Nepal

myanmar-one-billion-risingBRAC Myanmar staff at their stall for OBR in People’s Park, Yangon

pakistan-one-billion-risingBRAC Pakistan promotes OBR through a learning and awareness session

In Nepal, 100 adolescent girls’ club members, female community health volunteers and BRAC staff participated in rallies ending at three local government offices. Videos of ‘Break the Chain’ and past OBR events in different parts of Nepal were shown. A collective appeal letter signed by more than 200 adolescent girls and women of the community was presented to the ward chairpersons with the aim of ending child marriage in the community.

BRAC in Myanmar supported the cause at an OBR event organised by the Men Engaging Working Group Myanmar at People’s Park, Yangon. Awareness of the campaign was raised through games, music and dance. The staff of BRAC Myanmar wrote slogans and distributed pamphlets from a BRAC stall to show their support of OBR and gender equality.

BRAC in Pakistan held a learning and awareness session with OBR coordinators and special guest Kishwar Sultana, CEO of Insan Trust Foundation. Women’s right to property was the main topic of discussion to promote ‘Property For Her’, a new OBR campaign in South Asia which aims to secure land and property rights for women. In south Asian culture and Pakistani societies, women are mostly given dowries and denied their property rights. Participants shared their experiences of instances where the birth of a girl was not welcomed. Videos, speeches and poetry were presented to highlight how property rights for women can change these perceptions which discriminate against women and girls.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 00:00

Water, sanitation and hygiene

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46% of Tanzanians lack access to improved drinking water and 87% have no access to improved sanitation. 20% of the population wash hands with soap before preparing food and 16% are practicing open defecation. Alarmingly, 56 pupils on average share one latrine in public and private primary schools nationwide. 84% of the schools do not have functional hand washing facilities. Water borne diseases like cholera, malaria, trachoma, bilharziasis and diarrhoea are on the increase in Tanzanian communities. Children are the most affected. These diseases not only affect their physical development but also school attendance and academic performance.

When it comes to serving the urban poor, research shows that most municipal governments in developing countries prioritise portable water provisioning over sewage removal. Water is usually provided via community taps (standpipes shared by a group of households) that have led to improved availability of portable water to many slum settlements. However, it is in what we refer to as ‘the last 100 meters’ where water is carried from standpipe to home that problems arise. Unserved by sewerage systems, slum-dwellers rely on toilets draining into poorly constructed pits or septic tanks. The settlements are commonly located on low-lying and poorly drained lands, and the dwellers lack awareness of and provisions for safe handling and disposal of faeces, resulting in leakage of faecal material into local environments. Through various pathways (e.g. dirty buckets, unwashed hands, insect and rodent vectors) potable water and food is contaminated, causing ill-health.

BRAC in Tanzania, through our water, sanitation and hygiene programme is implementing a research project on Safeguarding Potable Water Provisioning to Urban Informal Settlements “The Last 100 meters” in collaboration with Lancaster University of UK and a network of institutions including the University of Manchester, the University of Dhaka, Ardhi University, CSE, WaterAid and DSK. The research is funded by the British Academy through its Global Challenge Research Fund.

The 16 months research project is developed on the rationale that, the last two decades have seen much improvements to potable water supply to millions of poor urban people across the developing world. However potential benefits of improved water supply are severely compromised by sewage contamination at a critical zone around the point of use – ‘the last 100 meters’- where water is taken from the standpipe to home.

The research addresses a critical challenge about how to transform water and sanitation infrastructure and practice in a relatively small space leading to measurable improvements to quality of water and sanitation management for poor urban people.

Our projects:

ProgrammeProjectDonorStarting DateDuration
Water Sanitation and Hygiene The Last 100 Meters British Academy through its Global Challenge Research Fund March 2017 16 Months


Highlights:

  • Social survey and system assessment carried out covering 800 households
  • A network of 600 households and community leaders of 4 settlements have been established and engaged to ensure their role in the community
  • Arranged 3 behavioural change awareness campaign in targeted urban settlements with street drama having participation from local government authority and DAWASCO officials
  • Trained 24 community change agents

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