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.
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.