Women feriwalas at the forefront of inclusive WASH in Bangladesh

A smiling woman carries a basket full of menstrual health products on her head in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, World Vision has been helping women gain independence by strengthening local sanitation enterprises and supporting feriwala (peddlers) to sell menstrual health products door-to-door. (World Vision Bangladesh) 


Women feriwalas are part of an inclusive movement driving change and ensuring access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) including menstrual hygiene products, for communities in Satkhira and Jamalpur, Bangladesh, as part of Water for Women’s SHOMOTA project delivered by World Vision from 2018-2022.


Women and people with disabilities were among the entrepreneurs provided training and support to establish, strengthen and promote independent sanitation enterprises as feriwalas (peddlers) through the project, and who are now delivering menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) and WASH products locally door-to-door in their communities.


"In Bangladesh, lack of access to WASH services is an everyday reality for women and people with disabilities. The SHOMOTA project is changing this by breaking down barriers and creating access for those who have been left behind"

Fred Witteveen, National Director, World Vision Bangladesh


An inclusive community is an essential building block of climate resilience. Socially inclusive and cohesive communities are naturally more resilient, including to shocks from a changing climate, and they are more likely to have effective and sustainable water and WASH services and systems. Climate change will escalate risks and exacerbate impacts, particularly on vulnerable populations – inclusive water and WASH is a critical connector for community resilience and the ability to adapt and respond to increasing climate hazards.


The SHOMOTA project was one of 20 Water for Women WASH projects to be delivered by civil society organisation partners in 15 countries in Asia and the Pacific from 2018-2022. Over the course of this first phase of the Fund, Water for Women supported more than 3.4 million people with improved access to inclusive WASH.


In Bangladesh, 232,553 people were reached through the SHOMOTA project, which directly benefitted more than 120,928 women and girls, 111,625 men and boys, and 3,581 people with disabilities.


Throughout the project, World Vision worked with change agents across three districts to strengthen the capacity of subnational government officials, schools and community-based organisations to build sustainable institutions, improve engagement throughout the sector to increase efficacy and drive improved WASH behaviours.


Some SHOMOTA project highlights include:


To celebrate International Women's Day, we are pleased to invite you to our World Water Day event that will highlight Pacific voices for climate-resilient water and WASH and take these learnings and messages to the UN Water Conference 2023 in New York, a watershed moment for the water and WASH sectors.


Wednesday 22nd March

10am Melbourne | 11am Fiji | 6pm New York


Register now

A blue graphic tinted overlay of a scene of a rural village in PNG. There is an event title written in white: 'Women at the forefront: Valuing diverse voices, leadership and action on SDG6' along with event details

A climate-resilient future needs #WomenUpstream


Women are at the forefront of change - Recognising and valuing the critical contributions of women, including Indigenous women, as decision-makers, stakeholders, farmers, educators, carers and experts across sectors and at all levels is key to a climate-resilient future. Recognition and meaningful action on this front is a “game-changer” and the key to successful and sustainable solutions to climate change and achieving SDG 6.


Climate change will escalate risks and exacerbate impacts, particularly on vulnerable populations. Inclusive and equitable water and WASH are critical connectors for community resilience, equipping communities to adapt and respond to increasing climate hazards.


On International Women's Day we call for diverse perspectives at the decision-making table to strengthen prospects for more holistic and sustainable solutions to climate related issues at all levels – from global to local.


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