Md Khairul Islam, the Local Government Division's additional secretary for the water supply wing, said only 33 per cent of households had hygienic latrines and 25 per cent had unhygienic latrines in 2003. "Open defecation was very common."
"Now in 2023, almost every family has access to latrines. The present status and sanitation of Bangladesh in coping with the challenges of climate change and global warming and in protecting the environment have been highly acclaimed by the development partners," he added.
Dutch ambassador to Bangladesh Anne van Leeuwen said her country and Bangladesh began a partnership with WASH in 2005.
"Our partnership with Brac began just next year in 2006. Some aspects of the Bangladesh Delta Plan are huge and expensive. But there are WASH solutions also that are not expensive, and they are innovative too, in terms of ensuring equitability and sustainability," he added.
Asif Saleh, executive director of BRAC, said, "We have progressed a lot but there are still 20 million ultra-poor in this country. The conversation has started everywhere that water is going to be the next scarcity. There is going to be a severe water crisis if we don't act now, and if we don't have serious planning in place."
The BRAC WASH programme implemented several projects with "innovative approaches and strategies" to achieve the goals of safe water and sanitation from MDGs to SDGs. In line with that, this new project is striving to improve the gap between access to and quality of services, especially for the marginalised communities in hard-to-reach areas.