Poor sanitation, unclean water and unhygienic practices cause millions of children in the developing world to suffer needlessly from disease. In a developing nation such as Bangladesh, salinity in ground and surface water, arsenic contamination of shallow aquifers, lack of aquifers, and difficulties in extracting saline free water are some of the major challenges faced.
10 million rural residents now have safe drinking water
To combat these challenges, HYSAWA, an international NGO that works with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD), has installed approximately 30,000 tube wells, hand-powered mechanical devices used to extract underground water, to ensure safe water supply for approximately 10 million rural inhabitants in the South-West regions of Bangladesh. A caretaker (volunteer) has been assigned to each tube well to keep them functional.
Grameenphone introduces SMS to report on the tube well status
Telenor’s operator in Bangladesh, Grameenphone, is supporting this initiative through an SMS-based solution that enables the caretaker to send a text message when a tube well is not working. This SMS will go to the HYSAWA Head Office as well as to local mechanics, alerting them to the need for repair. Afterwards, the mechanic can reply via SMS regarding the status of the tube well.
“Lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities are a significant barrier to improving the health and well-being of Bangladesh’s citizens and reducing poverty,” said Debashis Roy, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Grameenphone. “Many people believe that providing fresh and clean water will substantially reduce water-related illnesses. We hope that together as a nation we can work towards creating a healthier and safer environment.”
HYSAWA is a multi-donor funding mechanism for large-scale delivery of WASH (water and sanitation health) services in rural Bangladesh. The not-for-profit company was established in 2007 as an autonomous financial institution licensed under section 28 of the Companies Act, 1994 to mobilize resources and extend financial support to Local Government Institutions from a dedicated HYSAWA Fund.
HYSAWA works alongside the Government of Bangladesh to contribute towards reaching MDG targets and national commitments on poverty reduction through WASH interventions. The HYSAWA company emerged as a project of the Governments’ of Bangladesh and Denmark, following over 20 years of development cooperation in the WatSan sector. Since 2010 HYSAWA has also received funding from the Government of Australia.