Improved WASH services in Dhaka

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. It currently has 12 million inhabitants and absorbs an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 migrants every year. About 28%  of Dhaka’s total population (some 4 million people) is poor and lives in slums and squatter areas. These are defined as a low-income community (LIC).

The water supply, sanitation, wastewater and solid waste disposal practices in these slum and squatter areas are poor and unhygienic, resulting in a high prevalence of (waterborne) diseases. These conditions cause serious challenges for the livelihoods of urban LICs. Mortality of children under 5 is 44% higher than amongst children in rural areas, and children living in LICs are 7 times more likely to drop out of primary school, resulting in a 27% lower literacy rate than in rural areas.

Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is an autonomous and commercial organisation, entrusted with the responsibility of providing water supply, sewerage disposal (wastewater) and storm water drainage services in Dhaka. The pressure from this fast-rising urban population presents DWASA with an ever-increasing demand to scale-up its operations and deliver water and sanitation services to the entire population.


continue to objectives

Overall objective

Enhance the operational performance of DWASA and support DWASA in providing water and sanitation services to urban low-income communities.

Specific objectives

  1. Improvement of design, construction, operation and maintenance practices of deep tube wells (DTWs);
  2. Absorption of new distribution networks and district metered areas (DMAs) in MODS-Zone 5 (delivered by the ADB financed Dhaka Water Supply Sector Development Project), and strengthening of capacities, operations and asset-management practices within these DMAs;
  3. Provision of integrated and sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH) services to Dhaka’s low income areas;
  4. Provision of several on-demand services that support effective implementation of the three objectives above and DWASA’s Turnaround Programme at large.

Simavi and its local partner DSK support WOP on the provision of sustainable WASH services to LIC areas (specific objective 3). The project will run until September 2016.


continue to approach

The Water Operator Partnership (WOP) is a Public Private Partnership. Vitens Evides International (VEI) is the private partner, collaborating with public drinking water company DWASA, and NGOs like Simavi and local partner Dustha Shasthya Kendra (DSK).

All the groups work together to enhance DWASA’s operations and performance, with a focus on capacity building of public drinking water, sewerage organisation and realising sustainable WASH-efforts in Dhaka.

Simavi’s activities
Together with DSK, Simavi will support the Low Income Community (LIC) unit of DWASA in implementing an integrated WASH approach in selected slum areas to create a healthy living environment from a local water resources perspective. They contribute to extending water and sanitation services to LIC areas as well as exploring possibilities to extend sustainable WASH services to squatter areas around textile factories in Dhaka. The FIETS principles are implemented to ensure sustainable change. Proposed activities include:

  • Construction and installation of physical WASH facilities to increase access to, and coverage of, water and sanitation services; and to improve service levels;
  • Hygiene promotion, advocacy and awareness building activities to increase knowledge, change attitudes and ensure adequate hygiene practices;
  • Support and capacity building activities for the community and DWASA, aiming towards sustainable ownership, operation and maintenance of WASH facilities.

Within the Water Operator Partnership, Simavi offers extensive expertise in Pro Poor WASH to ensure community based WASH management. Simavi and DSK mobilise, organise and empower the community to form a Community Based Organisation (CBO), that assumes responsibility for managing the WASH facilities. In this so-called CBO Model, CBO enters a contract with DWASA, in which DWASA ensures continuous water provision to LIC and CBO ensures that water bills are paid to DWASA.

continue to result

These are several key  indicators that Simavi tracked with its partners in 2016:

# persons trained to build awareness: 2,538
# people who participated in awareness raising: 2,645
# members of community group trained: 45
# public places with improved WASH facilities: 17


A complete programme results overview of 2016 can be found here.

Situation Approach Result

Programme information

  • Simavi Budget

    € 150,000

  • Overal Budget

    € 6,687,953

  • 4 years

  • Location

    Bangladesh: Dhaka

  • Target groups

    Simavi aims for the provision of integrated sustainable WASH services for 20,000 people in Low Income Communities in two slum areas, with the goal of reaching up to 60,000 people.

  • Alliance partners

    Vitens Evides International (VEI), Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA).

  • Implementing partners

    Dustha Shasthya Kendra (DSK).

  • Donors

    Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands (EKN), foundation Water for Life (WfL), VEI and Simavi.

  • Role of Simavi

    As implementing partner, Simavi will support the implementation of an integrated WASH approach in the selected LICs. Simavi is also one of the members of the Steering Committee and provides strategic guidelines for the LIC.

Do you want to know more about the improved WASH services in Dhaka?

Please contact our colleague Sara Ahrari.
+31 (0)88 313 15 85

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