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Sanitary by 2010

29/06/2004 | Down To Earth

Sanitary by 2010 During the recently held un Commission on Sustainable Development meet (csd-12) at New York, most developing countries were crying hoarse over lack of basic data and financial resources to meet the millennium development goal (mdg) of sanitation by 2015 (see: 'Another opportunity lost', Down To Earth, May 31, 2004). But amid these voices was the lone non-complaining one of a small developing country, Bangladesh. It claimed it had a baseline survey ready and declared it had surplus resources to meet the challenge. Its confidence levels are so high that it has preponed the sanitation coverage target to 2010.

How did this wonder happen? Explains A Y B I Siddiqi, former secretary to the Government of Bangladesh (GOB), who spearheaded the campaign, "We decided to go in for a baseline survey with support from non-governmental organisations (ngos), donor agencies and local government representatives. The survey told us the exact nature of the problem. The next step was allocating funds and finally creating effective partnerships between government, donors, ngos and communities.'
Surveying the problem The credit for generating the survey goes to Bangladesh's department of public health engineering (dphe) and local government representatives. The latter were asked to go to their respective villages and find out who had latrines. They were also told to identify defects in the existing latrines. In cases families did not have latrines, the surveyors had to find reasons for the lack. "We ensured that the names of all family members are noted so that they can be traced in future,' says Siddiqi.

The survey generated important information. For instance, it showed that in Dhaka

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