BRAC and Unilever Bangladesh Limited jointly launched a public toilet with features for persons with disabilities at Shaheed Hadith Park in Khulna city Monday, 24 February. The facility will provide separate toilets for men and women along with standard hand-washing space and safe drinking water. In addition to these, there are options for women to change sanitary napkins and their babies' diapers and also safe and hygienic breastfeeding chamber.
The public toilet will be managed by Khulna Nagar Unnayan Mohila Samabay Samiti, a local women's cooperative with around 80 thousand members.
Talukder Abdul Khalek, mayor of Khulna city, inaugurated the toilet at an event also attended by Asif Saleh, executive director, BRAC, Kedar Lele, chief executive officer and managing director, Unilever Bangladesh Limited, and Liakath Ali, director, Urban Development Programme, BRAC.
Close circuit TV cameras have been installed at the entry and exit points of the facility to ensure security.
At the inauguration event Talukder Abdul Khalek said, “This public toilet sets a good example of collaboration between public, private and community. We have to ensure that this public facility is not used for any unwanted purposes. More such modern and inclusive toilets will be built in our city in future."
Asif Saleh said, “Safe sanitation is a major challenge in urban areas of Bangladesh, especially for women and girls. This initiative has aimed to address that very problem. This is a unique example of public-private-social sector partnership which brought a sustainable solution for people living in poverty in the urban space."
Kedar Lele said, “Access to sanitation is a basic human right, but not everyone is privileged enough to get it. With various features instilled in this toilet, this partnership not only aims to provide sanitation, but aims to develop clean habits, and provide ease. We believe only providing sanitation is not sufficient enough, but instilling hygiene habits is a necessity too. Through our products we focus on betterment of health, and saving lives. As Unilever we wish to see Bangladesh with proper sanitation and this is just the beginning of a revolution. I thank BRAC and honourable mayor of Khulna City Corporation for making us a partner for this initiative.”
The newly built public toilet will be maintained by professional cleaners and female caretakers with government supervision. BRAC Urban Development Programme under a memorandum with Unilever Bangladesh Limited constructed the facility on the land allocated by Khulna City Corporation, aligning with the government's public-private-partnership policy.