The World Bank and the government of Bangladesh on Tuesday signed a $200 million financing agreement to help 3.6 million people access hygienic sanitation facilities and about 600,000 people access clean water in rural areas.
The Rural Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) for Human Capital Development project will help improve water and sanitation services in rural areas in 78 upazilas, covering Sylhet, Chattogram, Rangpur, and Mymensingh divisions.
The agreement was signed by Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Fatima Yasmin and World Bank Country Director Mercy Tembon on behalf of the government and the World Bank, respectively.
Following a market-driven approach, the project will help build a more hygienic model, offset pit latrines for safe sanitation; and large and small piped water schemes for clean water, said a press release.
It will provide microcredits to both the households and entrepreneurs for water and sanitation facilities.
About 309,000 of the poorest households will receive fully subsidized toilets. Besides the household water connections, it will construct around 3000community piped water schemes.
“Over the last decades, Bangladesh has made commendable progress with almost universal access to basic water supply and elimination of open defecation,” said ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin.
“Further investments will ensure that all citizens—in cities and villages—have access to safe and improved water and sanitation facilities. This will help Bangladesh achieve Sustainable Development Goals.”she added.
“Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene practices are key for ensuring better health and building human capital,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“The project will help prevent diseases and protect citizens from COVID 19 and other infectious diseases by increasing access to quality water and sanitation services at home and public spaces as well as by promoting hand-washing behavior.” she added.
The project will install about 312 public toilets and 2,514 hand-washing stations at crowded public places, such as markets and bus stations. About 1,280 community clinics will have new or renovated facilities, both for patients and medical purposes. The project, in a quick and timely manner, will also help address urgent water and sanitation needs arising from COVID 19 pandemic.
The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then, the World Bank has committed more than $33.5 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country.