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Patuakhali, Bangladesh


Our first project outside the African continent will take place in Patuakhali Sadar, Bangladesh. The biggest problem here is not the quantity but the quality of the drinking water. Bangladesh is struggling with a major problem: in large parts of the country, there is arsenic contamination of groundwater. In the coastal areas salinization of drinking water is also a common problem. Luckily, because the soil is soft, wells can be dug relatively easily to a depth of 300 meters where arsenic and salt play no role.

In 'Water for Patuakhali' we will support part of a larger program of Max Foundation, in which we contribute towards realizing access to clean drinking water for around 2.500 people in Madarbunia village. This will be realized by drilling 14 deep tube wells (DTW) in the community. Next to the DTW's, the community itself will build 468 latrines benefiting around 4.900 people. The ultimate goal of Max Foundation's program is to reduce child mortaility by eductating, realizing safe water, appropriate sanitation, safe motherhood and sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR). The implementation of the total program will take around 3 years and will eventually serve around 60.000 people. We are happy to be able to play our part in this program.


Location: Patuakhali, Bangladesh
Project: 14 deep tube wells
Number of People: 2.500
Local partners: Max Foundation SPACE

Partner OrganizationS

To prevent child mortality Max Foundation finances small scale WASH programs, implemented by local partner organizations, in the poorest and most remote regions of rural Bangladesh. In these areas they provide clean drinking water by building water wells, install latrines and provide education on hygiene. Their standard approach always incorporates training and equipping Traditional Birth Assistants (TBA's), and building school toilet blocks.

Society for People’s Action in Change and Equity (SPACE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening capacities, improving health and livelihood of the poorest of poor people with particular focus on underprivileged children and women.




Payra River © Ernst Coppejans

Installation of a Deep Tube Well: pulling out the casing before inserting a PVC pipe © Ernst Coppejans

Men from a local boring (drilling) group rotating the drill manually © Ernst Coppejans

One of the pumps in Madarbunia village © Ernst Coppejans

Entry point to the village © Ernst Coppejans

Local ownership

To increase a feeling of community ownership the beneficiaries are involved in every step of the project cycle; first they are involved in the ‘social mapping’ of their community. This means that together they look at the current and preferred situation on water, sanitation and hygiene in their community. They identify their needs and look at possibilities. Who can pay for their own latrine and who are poorest families who will receive subsidy to build a latrine. Following this, they will start to collect signatures as well as their own financial contribution to the well (100 EUR).

Committees are appointed and the actual location of the well is agreed upon. Once these preparations are in place and the drilling of the well can be done, it is the community who –together with our local partner- dig and place the well. It is this involvement, both financially as in responsibility which strengthens the sustainability of the program.


Sharing of knowledge

Once a month a courtyard session will be held to increase awareness on water, sanitation and hygiene practices. Also people will be trained to be able to form a Maintenance Committee, which will be involved in operation and maintenance of the realized facilities. Next to training within the beneficiary communities; Max Foundation is working with a pool of different local partners who are connected to each other, sharing relevant information too; at least once a year they meet on a specific topic.



Self sufficiency

By providing the people with safe drinking water nearby, they save time which can be spend on other activities. For instance maintaining a home stead garden for nutritional and economic purposes. Being healthier through safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene also means less money spent on doctor’s bills. Through organizing the communities in courtyard sessions and by appointing committees, people are emancipated and more aware of their rights and possibilities.



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