In an increasingly urbanizing world, perhaps Water1st’s most significant discovery has been Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK)—our smart, compassionate, and highly-motivated partner in Bangladesh. DSK has pioneered an extremely effective means of providing water, toilets, and hygiene education in the urban slum environment.
We began funding DSK in two slums areas in Dhaka in 2006. Since then, they have demonstrated the ability to scale up and spread out. With increased Water1st funding, DSK now implements hundreds of projects a year in Bangladesh’s three largest cities of Dhaka, Chittagong, and Khulna.
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.
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