Improving and Promoting Access to Safe water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IMPACT)

The rapid growth in the urban population has led to uncontrolled and unplanned urbanization. Metropolitan Dhaka is overwhelmed with demand for increasing basic services and it is putting a pressure on existing infrastructure and services. Even when demands are met, the marginalized homeless population living in the streets of the city remains excluded from basic services such as safe water and hygienic sanitation facilities. This poor and deprived segment of the population lives in dire conditions in pavements and other public spaces such as parks and railway platforms.Having no access to safe drinking water they are forced to drink water from street water supplies. They are also subjected to public defecation as they are unable to afford the fees charged for using public toilets. SAJIDA Foundation’s Improving and Promoting Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IMPACT) program aims to address this gap in services for two groups of people: pavement dwellers in different locations of Dhaka city and working children in old Dhaka and Keraniganj.

Launched in October 2012, this 5 year project funded by Water Aid has four components: Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Advocacy (WASH). The provides safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation facilities, while advocating for improved hygiene practices for these two segments of the city’s population. Drop in centers (DIC) have been exclusively established for working children where they can access water purified through ultra violet (UV) technology. The DICsare also equipped with proper sanitation and bathing facilities and center staff promotes hygienic practices among the children. The centers are located in Lalbagh, Chunkutia, and Kamrangichar areas of the city. Factories where these children work are provided jars to collect purified water from the center for the children’s workplace. The project has also installed UV water purification technology at the Pavement Dwellers’ Centers (PDC) under SAJIDA Foundation’s Amrao Manush project. Pavement dwellers accessing the center for its various facilities and services have access to purified water. In order to promote hygienic sanitation the project has successfully established three chamber washroom facilities, with a separate chamber for toilet, bathing, and washing, in the DICs as well as the PDCs. All the facilities are child friendly with separate facilities for men and women. The project also organizes trainings and awareness sessions at the DICs and the PDCs. The sessions promote basic hygiene such as regular hand washing, menstrual hygiene for females, and other personal hygiene topics. The sessions are conducted using engaging behavioral change communication tools such as puppet shows and activities.