BRAC

BRAC

Saturday, 16 January 2016 18:00

Way Forward, Goals and Objectives

Girl-passport

Way Forward

BRAC plans to initiate a countrywide Safe Women Migration programme. BRAC’s future plan also includes intensive safe migration facilitation and advocacy initiatives at all 64 upazillas to ensure migration friendly environment as well as long term benefits for the migrant workers.

Programme Goal 

The goal of this programme is to ensure improved livelihood of Bangladeshi migrant workers and their family members through human rights promotion and protection.

Programme Objectives

• To ensure safe migration of Bangladeshi migrant workers through awareness building and education

• To reduce social vulnerabilities of migrants and their family members through increased access to essential information and services

• To facilitate socioeconomic reintegration of returnee migrant workers

• To influence migration policy and procedures through advocacy, networking and media mobilisation

• To promote innovation and best practices for improving safe migration from Bangladesh

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 18:00

Agricultural research

Development of hybrid crop varieties

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world where the demand for food is increasing every day. The agricultural land is decreasing due to various reasons such as urbanisation, industrialisation, rural housing, river erosion, etc. To achieve food security, we seek to increase food production through the development and cultivation of hybrid varieties of different crops.

BRAC has initiated research and development activities on hybrid rice and maize since the inception of hybrid rice research and development activities in Bangladesh.  It has also introduced parent materials from China and evaluated it under Bangladesh’s conditions. Until 2010, BRAC has released six hybrid rice varieties: HB 09, Jagoran, Shakti, Shakti 2, Alloran and Sathi. In addition, three hybrid maize and eight vegetable varieties were also developed and approved for commercial cultivation by the National Seed Board.   Out of the three hybrid maize, one is the quality protein maize (QPM). Hybrid seeds development programme will continue under AFSP. Due to the rapid development of poultry and fishery industries in the country, the demand for maize cultivation has escalated sharply. This demand can be fulfilled by growing hybrid maize. The potential yield and production of hybrid maize is much higher than that of rice and wheat. Currently, government organisations and NGOs are producing over 1.3 million tons of maize every year, and most of the hybrid seeds are produced from the imported parent materials from abroad.

Development of inbred crop varieties

Elite germplasm of cultivated crops having special characteristics of agronomic interest are collected from the relevant technology centres of the world to be preserved. Observational agronomic trials are being conducted on the germplasm evaluation and after screening, only the promising lines with specific agronomic traits are identified as genetic resources. These will be used for hybridisation to develop new varieties. Cross-breeding programmes will be continued to create promising varieties with specific agronomic traits of interest such as potential for high-yield and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress conditions. 

Huge numbers of variability are going to be created through hybridisation and/or induced mutation breeding techniques using gamma irradiation or chemical mutagens like ethyl methane sulphonate (EMS) or sodium azide. Early maturing and stress-tolerant (salinity, drought and submergence) lines are going to be selected to develop early maturing varieties (100 days) with moderate to complete resistance to pest and diseases along with high-yield potential.

Routine observation yield trial (OYT), advance yield trial (AYT), zonal yield trial (ZYT) and rapid generation advance trial (RGAT) will be conducted through farmers' participatory approach in the farmers' fields. New genotypes or advance lines will be tested. Varieties of selections will then be done on the basis of demand and location.

 

Plant biotechnological research
BRAC has a sophisticated plant biotechnology laboratory to produce disease-free plantlets through micro-propagation of various crops, using tissue culture, anther culture and other advanced techniques for rapid multiplication. The laboratory is associated with six green houses for hardening in-vitro plantlets before distributing the seedlings in the field, as well as for off-season seedling production to fulfil the increasing demand. At present, the laboratory is being used for producing plantlets of potato, banana, medicinal plants, fruits and some other ornamental plants like flowers and cacti.

Low-cost technologies are being developed for the establishment of protocol for micro-propagation of crop plants. This is for the purpose of rapid generation advance (RGA) of crops like vegetables, potato, banana, grape, papaya, stevia, flowers, cacti etc. with specific characters, through tissue culture, anther culture and other advanced bio-technological approaches.

On-farm conservation of biodiversity

Local and exotic varieties with special premium quality and nutritional characteristics (fine and coarse grain) and resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses of different crops are going to be grown and maintained under field conditions. For the purpose of long-term conservation of the biodiversity of genetic resources, on-farm trials are going to be conducted with the high profile elite lines. Steps will be taken through the implementation of the project for the following reasons:

  • To ensure the long-term biodiversity conservation of plant genetic resources
  • To regenerate high-profile, premium-quality native and exotic varieties of rice, vegetables, pulses and oilseed crops
  • To create a database of all phytogenetic resources of cereals, vegetables, pulses and oil seed crops
  • To assist in preparing the national action plan for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for the improvement of agricultural commodities

Approximately 113 aromatic and 68 non-aromatic rice varieties are maintained for rice biodiversity conservation at BRAC’s agriculture research and development centre in Gazipur. This has also increased the diverse genetic pool for future genetic gain from these varieties.

Conducting agronomic experiments

Agronomic experiments and other field trials are going to be conducted for evaluation, generation advancement and stabilisation of selected lines/varieties of crops. Experiments will be conducted at different agro-ecological zones of Bangladesh to evaluate agronomic performance in terms of yield and other relevant traits of interest. Reaction to diseases and pest incidences with the varieties/advance lines will be properly addressed at the time of the evaluation trials. Experiments will also be conducted to validate and scale up the agricultural production technologies at farmers' fields.

Innovative research on agronomic management of different hybrid and inbred varieties will continue to advance the extension of hybrid and high-yielding varieties in unfavourable environments.

Aquaculture in gher and seasonal floodplains

Gher, or fish enclosures are predominantly used in polder areas of south-western parts of Bangladesh for aquaculture. BRAC is implementing development activities to improve the productivity of gher through better management of resources. Improved production packages are extended to participants through participatory demonstration and training. Diversified use of the gher through rice-fish culture, dyke farming (cultivating vegetables and fruits on each side of the gher) is also demonstrated to maximise the profit and improve livelihood. The year-round activities in gher aquaculture are now gaining popularity in small households in the polder areas of Bangladesh.

BRAC has taken the initiative to utilise large, seasonal floodplains for fish production through a community-based approach. This is aimed at bringing the large proportion of fallow waterbodies under production, fingerlings stocking of indigenous and exotic species at appropriate densities, meeting the protein demand, and engaging communities towards a sustainable production system. People from areas adjacent to a water body have been encouraged to form a group, which will be responsible for fisheries. This approach has been proven as socially acceptable and economically profitable, helping to boost household income and fish consumption.

Similarly, indigenous fish species, particularly the smaller ones, are on the verge of extinction due to various natural and man-made interventions. BRAC took initiatives to conserve the small, indigenous fish species through community-based fisheries in the seasonal floodplains of Bangladesh.

 

Publications:

Performance of DT-NERICA and GSR
Performance of hybrid and inbred rice
Performance of newly bred IRRI Hybrid Rice
Performance of Sub Tolerant Rice
Guidelines for Dry Seeded Rice (DSR) in Bangladesh (English)
Guidelines for Dry Seeded Rice (DSR) in Bangladesh (Bangla)

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 18:00

Agriculture extension programme

Technology validation and extension:
AFSP is trying to bring available and newly developed agricultural technologies to the farmers’ fields. Our approach is to disseminate agricultural technologies through large-scale block demonstration involving farmers’ participation. Our technology dissemination strategy is to convert single-crop areas into double to triple-cropped areas, introducing stress-tolerant crops and fish varieties to the cropping systems, and accommodating high-value non-rice crops in the rice-based cropping systems using shorter maturing rice varieties.

We organise groups of 40-50 marginal farmers and provide them partial grants to cultivate and use modern varieties of crops and fish along with new production technologies and practices. Our extension staff provides them with adequate training and up-to-date information on achieving better production. Presently, we are operating our extension activities at 51 sub-districts of 12 districts in Bangladesh. Most of the operational sites are disaster and stress-prone areas of the country. We have reached out to   88,000   farmers with improved technologies by the year 2015.

Agricultural extension services are provided through our trained extension personnel, comprising a diverse group of agronomists, technical assistants and aquaculture experts. We also take advice and expertise from government-owned research and extension institutions to achieve our objectives of technology extension to the farmers’ fields.

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 18:00

Overview

Every year in Bangladesh, agricultural land is reduced by one per cent, while the population increases by 1.9 million. In addition, the country suffers from consistent climate threats, such as cyclones, floods, rising water levels, drought and river erosion. This results in damaged harvests and more landless and unemployed people, contributing to the rise of food prices and creating challenges in ensuring food security. We address these challenges in accordance with the government’s national agriculture policy. Our work directly addresses the sustainable development goals of ending hunger by achieving food, security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. Our work directly links to the goal of combating  climate change and its impacts.

BRAC’s agriculture and food security programme is working with agricultural research, development and extension activities. BRAC’s value-chain approach to agricultural development stands as a successful example, and is now being replicated in other developing countries. It plays an important role in attaining self-sufficiency in food production in Bangladesh. The ultimate goal of the programme is to enhance food security, improve nutrition and livelihoods. This is done through agricultural research and development, technology validation and adoption of appropriate climate-resilient agricultural technology. The programme has created significant impact to increase crop and fish production by research and extension activities in the northern and southern parts of Bangladesh. It has also promoted integrated agricultural practices in gher, or fish enclosures, and community-based culture fishery in seasonal floodplains to maximise the profit and improve livelihood, meet the protein demand, and to engage communities towards a sustainable production system.

Two agricultural research and development centres at Gazipur and Bogra have been established. Applied research to develop high-yielding varieties and better crop management are the key objectives.. Presently, the focus is on rice, maize, potato, pulse, oilseed and vegetables research including the development of inbreeds and hybrid varieties. Several advanced breeding lines of rice have been developed for quality grain, high-yield and short-growth duration and are ready to be released as new varieties. Newly developed genotypes are being demonstrated in the farmers’ fields in different drought, submergence and saline-prone areas of the country.

The combination of our efforts results in enhanced livelihood and increased food production in the country, which in turn ensures food security and progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals.

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

Donors and Partners

Donors

2006

Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), Government of the Netherlands / Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN)

2011

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)

2012

Department for International Development (DFID), Government of the UK and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australian Government under the strategic partnership arrangement (SPA)

2014

charity: water

Splash 

The first phase of BRAC’s WASH programme, operating in 150 sub-districts (now 152, due to two sub-districts each being split in half in 2013), was funded by the government of the Netherlands government for five years. The second phase of the programme (WASH II), which targets more isolated populations in an additional 25 sub-districts along with the original 150, is funded by the Netherlands government, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the support of the SPA, the programme started work in 73 additional sub-districts in 2012.

In 2014, charity: water, a non-profit organization based in New York City, USA, started funding work in 250 secondary schools in rural areas of Chittagong and Khulna to provide separate boys’ and girls’ latrines and safe drinking water supply for the students. Also in 2014, Splash, an international NGO based in Seattle, USA, started working with BRAC WASH in urban schools to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene education among the poorest children in Dhaka and Chittagong cities. 

 

Partners

IRC 
IRC is an international think-and-do tank that works with governments, NGOs, entrepreneurs and people around the world to find long-term solutions to the global crisis in water, sanitation and hygiene services. At the heart of its mission is the aim to move from short-term interventions to sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services.

IRC has been a BRAC WASH partner since the programme began in 2006. The collaboration has evolved into a partnership based on mutual trust and respect between the two groups, their roles and input. IRC is currently contributing to several aspects of the BRAC WASH programme, including monitoring and documentation. 

World Toilet Organization
Founded in 2001, the World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a non-profit committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. WTO empowers individuals through education, training and building local marketplace opportunities to advocate for clean and safe sanitation facilities in their communities. Breaking the silence on the sanitation crisis is at the heart of WTO's efforts. BRAC WASH and WTO became partners in 2013.  

American Standard & RFL Plastics Limited
In 2013, the plumbing-fixture company, American Standard, joined forces with BRAC and other NGOs to research, develop, and distribute the SaTo pan – a pioneering sanitary toilet pan that is easy to use and inexpensive to produce. The aim of the project was to create a pan which incorporates local bathroom practices, and effectively reduces the transmission of diseases. The pans are now locally produced by RFL Plastics, and provided at a subsidized cost for BRAC WASH supported rural sanitation centres.

Toilet Board Coalition
BRAC is a member of the Toilet Board Coalition, which is a global, business-led coalition of leading companies, investors, sanitation experts and non-profit organisations who have come together to accelerate innovative market-based solutions that deliver sanitation at scale, to those who need it most.

Other memberships
BRAC WASH is member of several other alliances that are active in the sector: 
National Sanitation Task Force (Bangladesh)
Policy Support Unit (Bangladesh)
Local Consultative Group Bangladesh (LGC)
WatSan Committee at district, sub-district and union levels
Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
Freshwater Action Network (FANSA BD) 
Gender and Water Alliance (GWA)

 

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

Innovation and learning

Innovative activities have been undertaken to develop a sustainable and scalable model of operation that delivers cost-effective sanitation services and technology. BRAC WASH looks into new horizons and focuses on innovation and development of learning tools to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its activities. The programme has taken on several different action research projects in this regard. 

Reuse of faecal sludge as organic fertiliser 
All over Bangladesh pit latrines are filling up, and the waste is being dumped unsystematically. The WASH programme has taken on this challenge in order to avert a probable environmental issue resulting from it. A team from the programme has been exploring various ways to solve this matter. The most reasonable solution is reusing the pit content as organic fertiliser. The study has covered seven climatic zones of Bangladesh, and field trials have been conducted with vegetables and rice paddy to see if it is suitable for human consumption. 

Microbiological analysis of the organic fertiliser was conducted in the laboratory to minimise risk of cross-contamination. In addition, essential nutrient elements have been tested in the laboratory to determine its quality and standard. Despite the lack of laboratory facilities in Bangladesh, the research team developed the testing protocol and overcame the challenges by meeting both national and WHO standards. 

The key objective of this project is to identify and develop micro-entrepreneurship skills for the marketing of organic fertiliser from human faecal waste as a business model. To develop the compost business model, the project conducted surveys for market analysis to assess the entrepreneurial skills of people in rural areas and the demand for compost, in order to sell them to local farmers. Since national and WHO standards have been met, the project is going to start entrepreneurship upon approval from the concerned licensing authority.

For more information, please click here.

Feasibility study on the bioenergy project
An action research bio-energy project (Action Research on Commercially Viable Biogas System Using Fecal Sludge and other Agricultural Residues in Bangladesh) was carried out by Biosol Energy Limited on behalf of BRAC WASH. The objective was to test the commercial viability of producing biogas and organic fertilizer from faecal sludge on a large scale. Researchers tested the collection procedures for faecal sludge through the use of vacutugs in three different sub-districts of Bogra, in northern Bangladesh. It also piloted the collection of chicken manure and corn stovers. The study checked the feasability of producing 400kW of energy and estimated that it would be profitable to run a plant on that.  

Supply chain
To ensure that customers have access to low-cost, good quality sanitation products in rural areas, especially the more remote ones, BRAC WASH undertook supply chain management. The main purpose of this chain is to facilitate better functioning of the RSCs. These are usually the primary sources of sanitation materials in rural Bangladesh. Sanitation entrepreneurs are provided with training, which emphasises on the quality of production, as well as building their capacity by focusing on book keeping, administration and marketing skills. Beyond that, much effort is taken to strengthen linkages between communities and RSCs as well as the local government institutions (LGIs).  

The availability of sanitation entrepreneurs is crucial for an effective and sustainable programme. Thus supply chain analysis has been put in place to identify gaps, and to test current and future demands. It is a mechanism to check if the supply meets demand and prepare policies accordingly. 

Qualitative information system
In order to see the real impact of the WASH programme, BRAC and IRC have jointly developed and applied the qualitative information system (QIS) to measure the progress achieved in terms of outcomes. QIS quantifies qualitative process indicators, such as participation and inclusiveness, and outcome indicators, such as behavioural change, with the help of progressive scales (or ‘ladders’). Each step on the ladder has a short description, called a mini-scenario, which describes the situation for a particular score. The data is collected on smartphones by trained quality controllers. Further information on QIS is available here.

WASHCost 
WASHCost is a way for BRAC WASH to analyse expenditures, service delivery, and the outcomes achieved as a result of those services. It allows for a financial sustainability check by taking into account all aspects of a service, from initial construction to ongoing maintenance and eventual replacement. This approach helps to improve targeting future investments by assessing past performances. Moreover, it is a way to monitor the services delivered over time, thus resulting in a better value for money. Life cycle cost approach (LCCA) is a part of WASHCost project; it helps to calculate the life span and a better understanding of each service.

Identifying the sustainable and affordable water source(s) is one of the main objectives of this study. Water collection is one of the major challenges due to the distance of water source. Since rural areas are rapidly adopting an urban setup, the necessity of safe drinking water is also increasing. It has therefore, become an urgent need to understand the true costs (capital expenditure, recurrent expenditure, capital maintenance expenditure) of existing water sources.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

WASH in schools

Ensuring proper sanitation in rural schools is still a challenge. Access to safe water and provision of proper sanitation in schools are as important to acquire a quality education as books and pencils. Moreover, schools are an excellent platform for hygiene education and the learning of overall proper hygiene practices, such as handwashing, drinking safe water, and using hygienic latrines. BRAC WASH promotes hygiene education in all the schools in the programme’s areas. Additionally, the programme helps provide separate latrines for girls in secondary schools, since most girls reach their menstruating age during this time. For better management and maintenance of the facilities, school WASH committees and student brigades work in more than 5,600 secondary schools. Additionally, the schools are encouraged to create a fund to meet water and sanitation-related expenses.

Separate sanitation facilities for girls 
The lack of separate latrines for girls and menstrual hygiene facilities in secondary schools were major factors in disproportionate rate of absence and dropout of adolescent girls. To address this issue, WASH aims to convince the secondary school authorities to provide separate latrines that have adequate water and waste disposal facilities for girls. As a result, more than 5,600 secondary schools throughout Bangladesh have constructed separate toilet facilities for girls since 2008. These schools have two toilets and washbasins which were installed through a cost-sharing basis.

Teachers at these schools hold regular sessions on menstrual hygiene, which were initially conducted by the programme staff. Sanitary napkins are now kept in schools in case of emergencies and girls can use them whenever necessary. They can also purchase BRAC’s sanitary napkins from their teachers, at a much lower cost than the commercially branded products. Moreover, aside from the cost difference, BRAC has found that many girls are more comfortable with buying napkins from the school rather than at the market.

Boys’ latrines and other new initiatives 
Identifying the need for boys’ latrines in schools as well, BRAC WASH recently started providing separate latrines for boys along with pipe water systems in schools in rural areas. The programme has also started working in 71 urban schools to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene education for the poorest children in the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong.

School WASH committee 
To ensure sustainability of the WASH facilities in schools, school WASH committees comprised of 14 members are formed in each school, with the headmaster as chairperson and a female teacher as member secretary. In order to represent all stakeholders, members include teachers, parents, representatives from the school management committee, and the school cleaner. The committee meets on a monthly or a bimonthly basis to review activities, including latrine use and maintenance. The overall responsibility of the committee is managing, maintaining and mobilising funds for the school’s sanitation.

Student brigade
In addition to the school WASH committees, student brigades are established in these schools for better management and maintenance of the facilities. Each student brigade consists of 24 students, selected from classes 6 to 9. They receive a three-day long residential training along with their teachers. Student brigades are responsible for proper usage and maintenance of latrines as well as the overall cleanliness of the school premises. They also carry out WASH promotion activities with full participation from other students.

Training of teachers and hygiene lessons
In order to sustain good hygiene practices, WASH conducts hygiene sessions through school teachers on a monthly basis. One male and one female teacher from each school are trained on WASH activities and teaching methodology. The teachers are provided with specially designed flip charts and posters in order to educate their students on health and hygiene issues. They develop an action plan for effective implementation of and follow-up on WASH activities, and are assisted by BRAC’s WASH staff when required. 

For more information, please click here.

 

 

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

Hygiene

Installation of water supply systems and sanitation facilities are not enough to improve people’s health – good hygiene practices are essential to serve that purpose. BRAC WASH adopted a number of practical approaches to promote hygiene messages that are based on socioeconomic and hydrogeological conditions, culture and existing practices. Cluster meetings conducted by field staff raise awareness on the use of safe water, hygienic latrines and good hygiene practices through the use of various communication tools. Imams (Muslim leaders) of mosques are trained to promote hygiene activities to reach out to people through religion. Local folk media and popular theatre teams are used to deliver crucial messages from the WASH programme to communities by incorporating hygiene issues in their drama scripts.

Cluster meetings 
Cluster meetings are held separately for men, women, adolescent boys and girls, and children to spread hygiene education at all levels. These meetings are conducted by designated field staff, and key messages on good hygiene behaviour are shared. To make sure that all the households in a given village receive the information conveyed, the meetings are organised in small groups and the participation of members from each invited household is ensured. 

Moreover, as each of these groups play different roles in the society, reaching out to them separately helps behavioural change messages to be communicated in more effective ways. Messages are tailored to what each group is most interested in, eg, appealing to mothers by informing them of the benefits of good hygiene on their children’s health. Likewise, as children can be very effective carriers of messages to their families, it is crucial to have separate sessions to create awareness among them. 

Training of imams 
As the majority of the Bangladeshi population is Muslim, reaching out to the rural population through religion is an effective means of spreading hygiene messages. Mosques have a significant influence on the religious rural population. Thus, khutba (sermon) guidebooks  have been developed based on verses from the Quran and Hadith that refer to cleanliness and hygiene. More than 18,000 imams, who are key religious and opinion leaders in rural Bangladesh, have been trained on hygiene promotion, and are delivering these messages during the Friday prayers.

Menstrual hygiene management 
Menstrual hygiene is a topic surrounded by taboos and superstitions, and a matter which is often avoided in rural Bangladesh. Practices such as using rags instead of sanitary napkins still take place, and superstitious beliefs, such as eating less during menstruation, still exist. The programme has taken several steps to improve these issues. BRAC’s health volunteers sell sanitary napkins door to door. BRAC’s sanitary napkin production centre (one of its social enterprises) has been supplying affordable, biodegradable napkins since 1999, to meet the public health needs of poor women and girls in rural areas. 

In BRAC’s WASH programme areas, school teachers hold regular sessions on menstrual hygiene, which were initially conducted by the programme staff. The programme assistants discuss menstrual hygiene issues when they hold cluster meetings for women and adolescent girls. They also educate women and girls on issues like eating healthy and iron-rich food during their periods. Women who cannot afford to buy sanitary napkins, and still have to use rags, are taught to wash the rags thoroughly with soap and dry them under sunlight. Through these meetings, women and adolescent girls not only learn, but also speak up about menstrual hygiene issues, something that was nearly unthinkable just a few years ago. 

Mobilising health volunteers, local folk media and popular theatre teams
Among BRAC’s health volunteers, more than 14,000 have been trained to deliver crucial WASH messages. In addition, local folk media and popular theatre teams are used to deliver these messages to communities by incorporating hygiene issues in their drama scripts, which have been found to be effective among rural populations.

Tea stall sessions
Since 2014, regular hygiene promotion sessions are taking place in tea stalls to reach those men who are not being reached through the cluster meetings. Experience shows that these men are either not interested in participating in cluster meetings or are unable to attend due to their working hours. Tea stalls have been proven to be effective spaces to reach out to them as most men frequent these shops after work. It is essential to ensure men’s participation to meet the programme objectives since they are, in many instances, the decision makers of the household expenditures and often provide a significant part of the household income. 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

Sanitation

BRAC WASH raises awareness on sanitation issues, which creates demand among the community for facilities such as hygienic latrines and associated hardware. The programme supports local entrepreneurs by providing loans to existing privately-owned sanitation shops, or rural sanitation centres (RSCs).Experts from BRAC and the government’s Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) are also providing training on production technology to local entrepreneurs, enabling the latter to produce quality latrine parts. BRAC WASH helps provide technical assistance to those who can afford and are willing to construct latrines, ensuring proper design and site selection. Loans are provided to those who cannot afford to pay the full cost of hygienic latrines. Two-pit latrine construction materials, including superstructures and mini water tanks, are offered to ultra poor families free of cost.

Rural sanitation centres 
BRAC WASH has helped establish RSCs in each union to increase access to latrine materials in remote areas. BRAC WASH provides orientation to all latrine producers in its programme area in order to support more suppliers. Till date, more than 2,400 rural sanitation entrepreneurs have received loans and more than 5,500 have received orientation from BRAC WASH. Loan support of BDT 10,000-15,000 is provided to one RSC from each union to increase access to production centres and ensure standard quality of latrine materials. 

Loans and grants 
The programme makes provisions for families who cannot afford to pay the full price of a hygienic latrine at a time. Loans have been provided to more than 214,000 families. Furthermore, WASH has helped mobilise access to grants from the government’s annual development programme for around 1.3 million ultra poor families.

BRAC WASH is unique in the national water and sanitation sector because it provides grants to the ultra poor for building two-pit latrines. In addition, it also provides superstructures along with the latrine materials, since it was found that when the ultra poor were provided with materials for building latrines without provisions for the superstructure, they tended not to build the latrines and instead used the materials for other purposes. 

Two-pit latrines 
Since 2008 BRAC WASH has been providing two-pit latrines instead of single pit. The size of each pit allows it to last two years for a family of four to five. The two pits can be used in rotation; when one fills up, the other one can be used, while content of the filled up pit is digested into organic fertiliser for the next 18 months. This approach ensures good hygiene practices, along with a method for sustainable management of human waste which has been a significant issue till now. 

Conversion of unhygienic latrines to hygienic latrines 
In households with unhygienic latrines, instead of entirely replacing the latrines, adding a water seal or replacing a broken one converts it into a hygienic latrine. In very simple terms, a hygienic latrine is one that separates faecal waste from human contact. This can be achieved by means of a water seal, such as a U-shaped siphon that is partially filled with water underneath the pan, which keeps away flies, mosquitoes and odour. 
 

Saturday, 16 January 2016 00:00

Water

To increase access to safe water, BRAC WASH undertakes a range of activities. This includes establishing water safety plans, installing deep tube wells and other alternative water options, and testing water quality. Arsenic and saline-prone areas are prioritised when creating these provisions.

Deep tube well
Safe water supply is a critical issue due to highly arsenic-contaminated groundwater in Bangladesh. As a result, the demand for it is much higher than its supply. Deep tube well is the most suitable safe water option as it is affordable and user-friendly. In view of this, BRAC WASH has provided more than 6,000 deep tube wells in Bangladesh. Each tube well covers 36 households on average. In order to ensure sustainability and ownership in the community, 10-12 per cent of the cost is shared by the community members.  

Laboratory analysis of the quality of water is done before installing the tube wells and after handing them over to the community. If the test shows arsenic contamination, then the tube well is sealed off and people are restricted from using the water for drinking and cooking.

BRAC is actively involved in educating the community on water safety; and in addition, BRAC WASH also keeps a record of the number of tube wells installed by the government and other agencies to avoid work duplication in BRAC WASH programme areas.

Two-headed and three-headed tube wells
Another BRAC WASH initiative is the installation of two-headed and three-headed tube wells. They are installed so that larger population groups can access safe water from the same tube well. In rural Bangladesh, women are usually the ones who collect water, sometimes travelling long distances every day to obtain water for drinking and household chores. The two-headed and three-headed tube wells make their water collection process easier and less time-consuming. Once these tube wells are installed, the community receives an orientation on maintenance, and a water management committee is set up locally.

Piped water supply systems
BRAC WASH constructs piped water supply systems in areas where deep tube wells are difficult to install, such as hilly areas. This type of water supply system makes use of one safe aquifer which delivers water to the households via an elevated water tank. Piped water supply systems also help address problems with high arsenic content and salinity in shallow aquifers. To date, WASH has set up nine piped water supply systems.

A trained caretaker is hired at each supply system to ensure its smooth operation. A water management committee is set up for each piped water supply system to oversee the maintenance and monitor technical disturbances, sometimes hiring local mechanics when needed and bearing the expenses for repairs. These committees collect a monthly tariff from each family served by the system. The people living in extreme poverty are exempted from this payment and in addition to that, there are standpipes available for their usage.

Pond sand filter
Pond sand filters are an efficient and low-cost option, as they have the ability to purify pond water and allow a major portion of an area to be served based on the size of the ponds. The WASH programme has installed 35 pond sand filters so far, allowing access to safe water in saline and arsenic-affected areas.

Arsenic removal filter
During the first phase of the programme, BRAC WASH provided 647 household-based arsenic removal filters to arsenicosis patients as well as to people living in arsenic-affected areas. These filters were provided to meet the immediate demand for safe water, which is a critical necessity for people living in those areas. Known as Sono filters, these were invented by Dr Abul Hussam, a chemistry professor, using composite iron matrix (CIM) as the active arsenic removal component.

 

 

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