The World Bank and Bangladesh on Tuesday signed a $200 million financing agreement to help 3.6 million people get access to hygienic sanitation facilities and about 600,000 people to access clean water in rural areas, reports news agency UNB.
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, according to a press release.
The agreement was signed by Economic Relations Division secretary Fatima Yasmin and 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.
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 subsidised toilets. Besides the household water connections, it will construct around 3,000 community piped water schemes.
“Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene practices are keys for ensuring better health and building human capital,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
He said that the project will help prevent diseases and protect citizens from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases by increasing the access to quality water and sanitation services at home and public spaces as well as by promoting hand-washing behaviour.
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 will also help address urgent water and sanitation needs arising from COVID-19 pandemic in a quick and timely manner.
“Over the last decades, Bangladesh has made commendable progress with almost universal access to basic water supply and elimination of open defecation,” said Fatima Yasmin, secretary, Economic Relations Division of the finance ministry.
She said that further investments will ensure that all citizens -- in the cities and villages -- have the access to safe and improved water and sanitation facilities. This will help Bangladesh achieve sustainable development goals as well.
The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association has a 30-year term including a five-year grace period.