Babar Kabir is the Senior Director at BRAC and programme director of the BRAC WASH programme. He talks to IRC’s Joep Verhagen about this huge programme, the importance of the Village WASH Committee, and emerging sanitation innovations.
Could you briefly describe the BRAC WASH programme?
BRAC WASH II aims for a sustained change —a measurable leap – in personal/family hygiene, sanitation and water safety for all. We aim to create a sanitation and hygiene movement in Bangladesh that is lasting and will benefit everybody. However, such changes in practices (such as hand washing with soap, continued use and maintenance of latrines, using safe water sources or keeping water safe from source to mouth) take time to root. Behaviour change takes time and does not move at the same speed everywhere.
The first BRAC WASH programme was funded by the Government of the Netherlands (DGIS) and over a period of around 5 years in 150 Upazillas we managed to ensure that around 25 million people were using hygienic and safe latrines, we reached more than 38 million people with our hygiene promotion programme and about 1.8 million people were assured of access to safe drinking water. The BRAC WASH II programme is jointly funded by Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands (EKN)/DGIS and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). This programme seeks to sustain the outcomes of the BRAC WASH I programme in the 150 Upazillas of the BRAC WASH programmes and we will be covering the last mile in these Upazillas. In addition, it targets 25 new hard-to-reach Upazillas. In these new Upazillas, we aim that 2 million people will be using a safe latrine and 0.5 million people at the end of the programme. In addition, our hygiene promotion programme will promote safe behaviour to 4.2 million people. Recently, work has started in 73 Upazillas with support from DFID. So in total, BRAC is implementing its WASH programmes in 248 Upazillas and reaching out to 55 million people. That is about half the rural population of Bangladesh. During the last 2 years we are collaborating intensively with IRC who are providing inputs in various areas, including monitoring and documentation. It is a partnership that is based on mutual trust and respect for each other’s roles and inputs.