Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP)

Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP)

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Resource Integration Center
YEARS: 2009-2010
THEMES: Infrastructure; Natural Resources

The Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (BRWSPP) is funded by the World Bank and has a lifespan of four years, from July 2012 to June 2016. The project aims to ensure reliable access to arsenic-free, safe water in the rural areas of Bangladesh. The BRWSSP project included the construction of water supply systems, technical assistance for stakeholders and rapid response for disasters, emergencies and other catastrophic events. The project has realized significant challenges in terms of access (e.g. irregular activity, planned wells never constructed), quality (e.g. iron in water, irregular quality control mechanisms), and sustainability (e.g. water user committee functioning, weak systems for user fee collection).

Under the CARTA program, the Resource Integration Center solicited community feedback to improve the responsiveness of the service providers. The specific objectives were to:

  • Monitor and compare the quality and results of existing social mobilization processes through a Citizen Report Card (CRC) survey in targeted areas
  • Introduce community score cards (CSC) to facilitate constructive engagement between service users/recipients and providers to monitor water supply services in completed pipe schemes

The third party monitoring conducted through the sub-project collected data and provided recommendations on, inter alia, community awareness, water accessibility and quality, transparency and accountability of the water user committees (WUCs) and scheme sustainability.

The primary outcomes included:

  • Water User Committees reformed to include 30% of female members
  • Communication among user groups, water user committees (WUCs), civil society organizations (CSO) and the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) increased
  • Monitoring increased to improve service quality
  • Damaged water purification plant repaired through a water user committee initiative

As a result of the sub-project, officials realized the value of functional water user committees for the proper implementation of BRWSSP and the sustainability of the project. Eventually, these committees will have to take over the management and operation of the water system once an 18-year concession ends. Thus, it is likely that the service providers and users may want to capitalize on the improvements made to the BRWSSP project. In addition, many local officials expressed their interest for extending the TPM in other development projects in order to improve the quality of services.