WASH Change Makers - the Community Disaster Response Team in Tebaria, Bangladesh

Australian Red Cross (ARC) | Jenni Lillingston from Australian Red Cross (ARC) Lesotho, on 10/08/2017 15:26 AEST

In Tebaria, a village in the Gopalgong district of Bangladesh, the Community Development Initiative 2 - WASH is being implemented by Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), funded through Civil Society WASH program.

The project approach recognizes that community members are more than beneficiaries – collectively and individually they are agents of change.

Community ownership is facilitated through formal groups and committees including representation on WASH Committees, Mother’s Clubs, Community Development Committees (CDC) and Disaster Response Teams (CDRT). BDRCS supported formation of these groups and has strengthened their capacity to plan, facilitate and monitor WASH interventions. Through these groups, members play a key role in encouraging community change and monitoring WASH behaviors and practices.

The CDRT in Tebaria has 25 male and female volunteers who are students from schools, colleges and universities. BDRCS trained them in WASH planning, monitoring and reporting as well as disaster response. They worked with the CDC and WASH committees to support the priorities set by the WASH Committee, identify key issues, and develop action plans to improve their community. The young CDRT volunteers have been able to play an active and significant role in the changes occurring.

CDRT members help site selection and installation of latrines and tube wells. After implementation, they monitor usage and maintenance, conduct house-to-house visits to promote hygienic behaviour and help address any problems people are facing. They are currently helping households understand the importance of safe water and the benefits of reducing levels of arsenic and iron to an acceptable ratio in water. 

Raju, a CDRT member says “While visiting houses if we find any bad WASH behavior, we immediately gave feedback in a convincing way. We found people are positive to accept recommendations and changed themselves as early as possible.”