SHOMOTA - strengthening gender equality and social inclusion in WASH in Bangladesh

From 2018 to 2022, Water for Women partnered with World Vision Australia, World Vision Bangladesh and partners in the delivery of SHOMOTA - strengthening gender equality and social inclusion in WASH in Bangladesh, reaching over 232,500 people. 

This project came to a close in December 2022.

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.

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.




Bangladesh has a population of 166 million people, making it the eighth most populated country in the world. Despite having made significant gains in increasing water and sanitation coverage, there are still many who are unable to access basic WASH services that meet the national standard. This includes communities, particularly those in areas that are hard to reach due to geographical location, and marginalised populations, which include minority groups, women, elderly, and persons with disabilities.

While Bangladesh has made significant improvements in reducing open defecation, access to improved sanitation is still an area of concern.


"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


From 2018 - 2022, Water for Women partnered with World Vision in delivering SHOMOTA - strengthening gender equality and social inclusion in WASH in several communities in Bangladesh, reaching over 232,000* people. 

The goal of SHOMOTA was to improve gender and disability inclusive WASH in schools and communities.  The project worked with change agents to strengthen the capacity of sub-national government officials, schools and CBOs to build sustainable institutions, improve engagement throughout the sector to increase efficacy and drive improved WASH behaviours.  

The Project also:

  • Created space for women and people with disabilities to influence decisions related to resource allocation, design, and monitoring of WASH services. 
  • Facilitated the uptake of innovation and technologies by strengthening collaboration between different actors to increase demand for hygiene products and WASH technologies and providing incentives to local WASH entrepreneurs to supply them.
  • Through greater representation and meaningful participation, women and people with disabilities were able to influence social norms, institutions and communities to prioritise their needs. 

In total, the project worked across three districts covering a total of six sub districts and twelve unions, including: 

  1. Fulchari and Gaibandha Sadar sub districts in the district of Gaibandha, covering 4 unions.
  2. Islampur and Jamalpur Sadar sub districts in the district of Jamalpur, covering 4 unions.
  3. Assasuni and Sathkhira Sadar sub districts in the district of Sathkhira. 

Regional map of Bangladesh

SHOMOTA  ultimately contributed to the goal of improved Gender and Socially Inclusive WASH in Schools and Communities in Jamalpur, Gaibandha, and Sathkhira districts of Bangladesh.


Project activities of SHOMOTA were designed to achieve four key end-of-project outcomes:

Outcome 1: Change agents actively support inclusive WASH services in schools and communities.

  • intermediate outcome:  public sector to play a leadership role in alignment with their mandate to provide WASH facilities and services
  • intermediate outcome: Citizens and CBOs WASH engaged and advocating government for inclusive planning, implementation and monitoring in schools and communities
  • intermediate outcome: private sector maximizes its potential role in providing market driven solutions to supplement government services for inclusive WASH.

Outcome 2: Increased equitable access to and use of inclusive WASH facilities and services in schools and communities.

  • intermediate outcome: schools and communities undertake WASH services
  • intermediate outcome: schools and community change agents are championing improved hand washing and hygiene behaviour, sanitation, water safety and water security practices.

Outcome 3: Increased dignity and meaningful engagement of women and people with disabilities in household, community and school decision-making.

  • intermediate outcome women and PWD are participating in community and schools
  • intermediate outcome: women and PWDs have increased individual agency in household WASH decisions
  • intermediate outcome: increase knowledge and provision for menstrual hygiene management for women and girls in target communities. 

Outcome 4: Evidence generated by the project on sustainable, inclusive WASH promotion is shared and implemented.

  • intermediate outcome: national WASH/INGO forums regularly hold GESI focused discussions
  • intermediate outcome: government systems, schools and communities outside project area are influence to improve GESI WASH.  


Key Achievements

SHOMOTA contributed greatly to strengthening gender equality and social inclusion in WASH in three districts of Bangladesh over the five years of the project.

Through hard work and dedication to leave no one behind, more than 232,550 people living in and attending schools in Jamalpur, Gaibandha and Sathkhira districts now have improved access to inclusive WASH facilities and services, including more than 120,920 women and girls and 3,580 people with disabilities.

The project has also strengthened the capacity of sub-national government officials, schools and community-based organisations to build sustainable institutions, and improved engagement throughout the sector to increase efficacy and drive improved WASH behaviours for lasting impact. 

Some SHOMOTA project highlights include:


 A water and WASH response is a COVID-19 response


In 2020, the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene was underscored as the globe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from Australia's Partnerships for Recovery, our partners pivoted their projects and worked collaboratively to support countries in their COVID-19 responses and to embed COVID-19 preparedness into their WASH projects.


In Bangladesh, World Vision built on its existing WASH work in Bangladesh by supporting new WASH technologies and strengthening collaboration between local actors to increase availability of hygiene products. They collaborated with community leaders, government officials, the Union Parishad, the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), National Council for Disabled Women (NCDW) and Samaj Kallyan Sangstha (SKS) and the Disability Rehabilitation & Research Association (DRRA).


At the onset of the pandemic, hygiene kits were distributed including soap and hand sanitiser to vulnerable households including people with disabilities, transgender, ethnic minorities and the poor. World Vision also supported partners to relay personal hygiene kits and disseminate targeted messaging through loudspeakers to cover hard to reach areas to an estimated 126,000 people in three districts. The World Vision team developed messaging in Bengali in line with WHO and Government of Bangladesh approved messages.


Australia continues to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities across the Indo-Pacific region to secure our region's health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times.


An unprecedented crisis requires a coordinated response. Through our water resources management and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects, we are not only delivering safe, equitable and sustainable water and WASH, we are also building healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. We're supporting individuals, communities and countries to endure, and recover from, the COVID-19 crisis as well as to future extreme events and natural disasters. 



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Australia's development assistance program is proud to have partnered with World Vision Australia and World Vision Bangladesh in the delivery of SHOMOTA to achieve these outcomes. Other partners included SKS Foundation, Centre for Disability in Development, Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association, National Council of Disabled Women, BBC Media Action and Unilever Bangladesh.

*Project targets are based on partner Civil Society Organisations (CSO) baseline studies. Project targets are updated periodically in response to changes in context as appropriate. To see our latest progress towards targets, see our progress.

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