A new document  describes the key lessons learned from the large Coastal Belt Project, which was supported by Danida and the Government of Bangladesh during 1997-2009. The document highlights the processes, achievements and challenges of providing more than 12 years of extensive assistance to rural and small towns water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion in the coastal regions of Bangladesh. During the years the project gradually changed its implementation modalities towards a high degree of alignment with national institutions and systems, including use of national planning and budgeting processes and public procurement rules.
The Project was largely successful in achieving its physical targets of more than 30,000 arsenic-free deep hand tube wells (DHTWs) and promoting construction of over 300,000 household latrines, construction of piped water supply in core areas of nine pourashavas, albeit with delays and additional costs.
The Project was implemented as a bilaterally-executed project. This gives rise to inherent differences resulting from parallel management structures, multiple sets of roles and rules and differing personal and institutional loyalties.
Following the devastating cyclone Sidr (“The Eye”) in November 2007, the Project constructed 1,050 additional tube wells, 1,000 household latrines and other infrastructure in storm-ravaged areas.
Photo from the Danida report
The sustainability of DHTWs and household latrines in rural areas is seen as high. Additional management and technical support is required to ensure the long-term sustainability of piped water supplies in pourashavas and mini-piped systems in rural areas, as well as public toilets and school latrines.
The Project’s efforts to assist pourashavas to improve solid waste management and drainage was less than successful. The situation in pourashavas in these areas remains unsatisfactory. There are serious difficulties locating sanitary dumping sites, which pose a potentially serious environmental hazard.
Following the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in 2005, the Project’s planning process and management has been more closely aligned with GOB and DPHE’s systems and procedures.
During its long life, the Project produced a wealth of documentation; manuals, guidelines, training and IEC/BCC materials. This material constitutes an important part of the Project’s contribution to the sector. Some of the most important and useful of these materials are listed in the publication.
In spite of its long life, the Project leaves behind unmet demand and a number of unresolved issues which will to a large extent determine the long-term impact of the Project’s many achievements.
A number of factors are seen as contributing to the Project’s successful achievements.
- Conducive policies, strategies, regulations, rules and procedures adopted and practiced in implementing organizations
- Experienced and dedicated professional/technical staff
- Responsibility, commitment and accountability for results at all levels
- Firm commitment to guidelines and procedures for poverty targeting, social mobilization and siting of facilities
- Rate and quality of DHTW construction
- Social mobilization/customer briefings supported by high quality IEC materials
- Adequate cost-sharing to promote ownership
- Cooperation from DPHE and local government (pourashava mayors and UP chairmen)
- Appropriate and adaptable technologies to suit various hydrogeological conditions
- Thorough documentation, accurate reporting, MIS and database updated and used
- Baseline data, effect monitoring and impact assessments
- Post-construction technical and managerial support for urban and school WSS facilities
The Project has helped to produce a number of competent sector professionals who continue to make important contributions to the sector. Outside the coastal belt, this may prove to be one of the Project’s most important and lasting legacies.
 Pendley, C.J. and Minhaj Uddin Ahmad, A.J. (2009). Learning from experience : lessons from implementing water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities in the coastal belt of Bangladesh. Dhaka, Bangladesh, Royal Danish Embassy. 27 p.
Download full document [PDF file]
- Dr. Guna N. Paudyal, Danida Senior Adviser, Bangladesh. (e-mail: guna [at] hysawa.org)
- Dr. Niaz Chowdhury, Programme Officer, Embassy of Denmark (e-mail: niacho [at] um.dk)
- Mr. Jan Møller Hansen, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark, Dhaka. (e-mail: janmha [at] um.dk)