April 1, 2020

Sustainable Solutions for the Delivery of Safe Drinking Water (SDSD)

SDSD was a project started in 2004 with the financial support from Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC). After the first discovery of arsenic contamination of ground water in late 1993 communities were mobilised since 1998 in Village Development Committees (VDCs) to improve their water and sanitation situation, in Rajshahi and Chapai Nawabgonj districts under WATSAN Partnership Project (WPP). DASCOH together with WPP partners CARE and IDE took care of the testing of arsenic in the rural areas of the districts. The tests revealed that 117 out of 123 Unions were contaminated. Responding to that WPP was able to meet some but not all-safe water drinking needs in the project area. Also, it was realised that governance bodies like Union Parishad and its committees responsible for water and sanitation and arsenic could play a crucial role in ensuring delivery of safe water to their communities. Moreover, Unions Parishads capacity of service delivery is often limited. These gave SDSD a basis to propose a way to meet safe drinking water need in 17 Unions.

With arsenic interventions as entry point the project looked forward to building capacity of Union Parishads to deliver services. Experience in community management showed that quality participation leads to increase access to resources for those who previously were not able or not in a position to get a fair share. So, the project aim was to strengthen local participatory governance in order to contribute to sustainable and equitable reduction of poverty.

It linked effective mobilisation with increasing safe water service delivery capacity of Union Parishads (UPs). The Union Parishads in SDSD was activated through effective community participation to solve arsenic projects in Rajshahi and Chapai Nawabganj. Therefore, selection of the project unions was based on the arsenic contamination situation plus experiences in building local governance capacity in WPP time. SDSD project worked in 3 Upazillas in Rajshahi Districts and 2 Upazillas in Chapai Nawabganj Districts and covered 457 villages in 7 and 10 unions respectively from the two districts.

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