Improving living conditions in low income communities in Bangladesh

Banglabazar is one of thousands of low income communities that have cropped up next to factories in Bangladesh in recent years. Living conditions in these communities are poor, not least in relation to water, sanitation and hygiene.

H&M Foundation and WaterAid have started this project to improve the wellbeing and living conditions for approximately 10,600 residents in Banglabazar. This was achieved by improving the access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the targeted communities.

In Banglabazar only 10% of the households have access to piped drinking water and half of the households share a toilet with more than 9 people. Most households lack proper drainage systems and faecal sludge management and throw their waste in a heap or pit in open spaces The lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene causes diarrhoea and other water-related illnesses. This results in higher death rates as well as people spending time and money on being sick instead of going to work or school.

The ones affected the most are babies and young children for whom diarrhoea is one of the main causes of death. Women and girls also suffer from infections and diseases because of the lack of facilities and knowledge on managing their periods, especially at school and work.

The interventions within this project not only improved the immediate situation for residents, but also demonstrated a feasible solution for the whole of Banglabazar and similar areas, which can be replicated by Bangladeshi decision makers.

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“The new toilets brought hope”

11 year old Mossammad is one of the students in nine different schools in Banglabazaar outside of Dhaka, who are provided with proper toilets and clean water through the H&M Foundation’s joint project with WaterAid. So far, almost 10,000 people have been reached with improved access to sustainable water, toilets and hygiene (WASH) facilities. As part of the work, nine schools have improved their water and sanitation facilities.