Strengthening gender equality and social inclusion through WASH in Bangladesh

A group of women stand outside in a village in Bangladesh, dressed colourfully

In a COVID-19 and climate change-affected world, women’s access to sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has never been more important. That is why Australia is supporting World Vision to strengthen gender equality and social inclusion through WASH in six sub-districts in Bangladesh, home to over 234,000 people. (World Vision Bangladesh / Md. Jobayer Hossain)


Water is a valuable resource. In communities, households, schools and workplaces, water means health, hygiene, dignity and productivity.


But today, 1 in 3 people – around 2.2 billion – live without safe drinking water. We must use and manage water responsibly to balance the water needs of society and ensure we leave no one behind. The sustainable and efficient use of water is critical in building resilience to climate change. Adapting to the impacts of climate change will help to protect health and save lives.


With support from the Australian Government, through Water for Women, our partner, World Vision is strengthening gender equality and social inclusion in schools and communities in Jamalpur, Gaibandha, and Sathkhira districts of Bangladesh. Cohesive and socially inclusive communities are naturally more resilient, including to shocks from a changing climate and they are more likely to have effective and sustainable outcomes in WASH. 


Part of this work includes promoting the gender equality within the community and schools through engaging events and workshops. Global days such as International Women's Day or World Water Day provide an opportunity to highlight and discuss topics of importance, some of which may rarely be spoken of. This event celebrating International Women's Day gave women within the communities a chance to celebrate, connect and learn.


“We learnt a range of women rights issues in our districts through games and cultural programs... we got to meet and know other women leaders whom we can look out for,” shared Namita Rani, part of celebrations on the day.


World Vision project staff held the activities in a structured way to allow participants to hear speeches and engage in discussions related to violence against women and girls, barriers faced by women & girls with disabilities and role of men and communities to support women rights.


The team also worked with the Department of Education to allow primary and secondary schools to be part of the celebration. The project team estimated about 2000 persons participated in the event with an increasing number of participants being women and girls. It was day of colour, laughter and learning and another step closer to achieving greater gender equality and social inclusion through WASH in Bangladesh.


This work is part of World Vision's SHOMOTA project.

The value of water is about much more than its price – in communities, households, schools and workplaces, water means health, hygiene, dignity, productivity and more.


Throughout March, for International Women's Day and World Water Day, we are celebrating the value of women and the value of water. Both are critical to building healthy and climate-resilient communities. 


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