Support from MiiR is being used to construct water, sanitation and hygiene-education projects in an area just outside of Dhaka (the capital city) called Demra, where Water1st has been working since 2006.
Our local partner organization, Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK), has pioneered a world-class program for providing critical water and sanitation services to urban slum areas.
Bangladesh has one of the world’s highest rates of internal population migration from rural areas to urban centers. New arrivals settle in crowded, unplanned residential areas which lack basic services like water supply, connections to sewers, electricity, and stormwater drainage. DSK enters these communities and forms action committees comprised of local residents, who analyze their living conditions and prioritize their own needs. Access to clean water and toilets usually top the priority list, and DSK offers technical and financial assistance to anyone within the planning area to construct their own water system and toilet.
One of DSK’s brilliant moves has been incorporating micro-lending into its operations. Water systems and toilets are not given away. Users must repay the full construction cost to DSK over 1-2 years. Repayment rates have exceeded 96%. These repaid loans are then used to fund more projects. Currently, 49% of our annual budget for Bangladesh comes from repaid loans.