In Shambhuganj, Bangladesh simple technology is offering improved health and hygiene to village people who, until now, have had to suffer from a high rate of infant mortality and infectious disease simply because of lack of sanitation that those in the developed world take for granted.
Two years ago Conscience International and its partners built a multi-purpose Center in Shambhuganj that supports a school, women empowerment programs, and, most important, a health clinic. But without proper sanitation, the health clinic’s efforts are compromised.
Recognizing, themselves, that 90% of their village’s residents (50 families) continue to face huge health hazards due to the lack of proper sanitation, the entire community is ready to do something about it. They solicited help from Conscience International’s Program Director for Southeast Asia, Richard Sarker, who asked the villagers if they would be willing to participate in the construction of a simple sanitation system if materials were provided. The response was a collective “yes.” Families agreed to provide land and free labor for construction and maintenance, so Sarker immediately made his way to the local market to scout out materials and estimate costs (less than $100 per unit).
“Our efforts for proper health care through our Center will not be successful if we ignore the fact that safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are key to the people’s health,” Sarker notes. “I was struck by the fact that although several people have hand pump wells for drinking water, most people in this village do not have a sanitation system. The odor makes that obvious.”
Sarker, who was born and grew up in Bangladesh, well understands the problem. “The people are so poor; they do not have the financial means to invest in a sanitation system, even a simple one. It is all they can do to meet needs for daily provisions.”
The proposed self-absorbing system for each family is, indeed, simple but adequate considering the limitations of the area, but it is approved by UNICEF/WHO and involves concrete rings and slabs, a tank, a commode, and four-sided walls of corrugated sheets covered with a roof for privacy—far better than using bushes, fields and holes.
The progress being made in this village through better education, self-empowerment through job skill training, volunteerism, and healthcare, is instilling new life and opportunity to the region because caring donors are contributing to its development.
Will you help bring improved health and hygiene to the villagers of Shambhugani? Please go to our GIVE NOW link to donate on-line, or send your donations to Conscience International directly, marked ‘Bangladesh Sanitation Systems’. All donations are tax deductible.