Active since 2006, the BRAC WASH programme provides hygiene education and increased access to water and sanitation in 250 sub-districts of Bangladesh. It also complements efforts of the Bangladesh government in its water and sanitation interventions. As of December 2015, the programme has currently provided access to hygienic latrines for 41.6 million people, safe water options for 2.3 million people, and hygiene education to an estimated 13.9 million people per year in communities and 2.9 million people per year in schools on average.
Village WASH committees
The programme helped form village WASH committees (VWCs) in each village it operates in, thus giving the community an independent role to mobilise and keep track of WASH-related changes in their areas. Each committee is made up of 11 members – six women and five men – representing all stakeholder groups. Each VWC conducts bimonthly meetings to assess the existing water and sanitation situation of the entire village and identify issues that need urgent action. They select sites for community water sources, collect money and monitor the latrine usage and maintenance. The committee members are responsible for identifying ultra poor households in their communities that need BRAC’s assistance and grants from Bangladesh government’s Annual Development Programme. The committee members are also responsible for selecting poor households which qualify for microloan support to install hygienic latrines and tube well platforms. To strengthen the capacity of VWCs, two key members from each committee (one woman and one man) are provided with leadership training at a BRAC facility. To date, more than 65,000 VWCs have been formed. Through these committees, women’s empowerment is also addressed by recognising women members through their voluntary contribution for society.
Extension and expansion of WASH
The BRAC WASH programme began in 2006 in 150 sub-districts, funded by the Government of the Netherlands. The programme started its second phase (WASH II) in October 2011, in 20 new sub-districts of Bangladesh which were challenging and expensive areas in terms of implementation. Meanwhile it continues working in the existing 150 sub-districts from the first phase (WASH I) to ensure that the gains made during that phase are sustained. Moreover, five more sub-districts were included due to low sanitation coverage, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since July 2012, the third phase (WASH III) began to expand its working areas in 73 new sub-districts under the strategic partnership arrangement (SPA) with DFID and DFAT.
In 2013, two sub-districts among the old 150 were each split into half and two new ones were formed. As a result, the total number of programme areas covered by WASH now stands at 250 sub-districts.
The final report for the first and second phases of the BRAC WASH Programme can be found here.
Please find a list of publications from the BRAC WASH programme here.
For more information onf how BRAC addresses gender and equity can be found here.
More information on village WASH committee guidelines and training, click here.