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In Bangladesh, nearly half of 55 million urban residents lack the sanitation infrastructure to properly process human waste. The result: massive amounts of raw waste is unsafely dumped, fouling the environment and posing major public health risks. There’s an urgent need to find safe and affordable ways for waste to be collected and treated.
Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) works alongside local providers, enabling them to develop their own services, build infrastructure, and attract the funding needed to reach low-income communities. Since its inception in 2005, WSUP has helped nearly 14 million people access clean water and sanitation services across six countries.
Dhaka is the only city in the country with any sewage infrastructure (just 20 percent coverage), and nearly all non-sewered households rely on manual sweepers–workers who remove the waste at high risk and with little equipment–to empty their on-site pit latrines or septic tanks. More hygienic, mechanical emptying options are limited.
Based on the lessons learned from SWEEP scaling up in Bangladesh, WSUP has planned a later expansion of the model to Madagascar and Kenya. In Bangladesh, Skoll funding will provide start-up capital to purchase vacuum tankers, train and build capacity of the local FSM entrepreneurs, and local utility providers, coordinate policy and implementing bodies, and disseminate open source lessons learned across the FSM sector. With the track record to date and the interest and demand from the public and private sector players involved, the Skoll Foundation believes in the potential for SWEEP to create systemic change in the sanitation landscape of urban Bangladesh.