MAX-WASH II in Bangladesh

Problem:
Over the past three decades Bangladesh has made huge improvement in public health, especially in reducing infant and child mortality and towards eliminating open defecation. However, water-borne diseases, poor hygiene, arsenic pollution and salinization related to climate change hold back health and development, especially in the hard to reach South Coastal areas. The areas of the Max-WASH I programme where the Max Foundation wants to continue and the 38 unions in the Blue Gold polders where we wish to expand are all hard-to-reach areas where populations face tough problems in achieving and sustaining good quality water and sanitation facilities. On top of these challenges WASH in Bangladesh suffers from weak governance especially at local level where Union Parishads have many responsibilities but where WASH has not been a priority. Furthermore, improvements in WASH in rural Bangladesh have been largely driven by donations and subsidies, which poses a challenge for sustainability when programmes are phased out.

Goal:
This is a WASH-led programme linked with child and women’s health with interventions to create maximum synergy. The programme goal is to reduce water- and faecal-borne diseases for the whole community and to improve child health in a sustainable manner, thereby contributing to the long-term goal of the Government of Bangladesh to improve the health of children and reduce child mortality.

Objectives:
- Sustain progress in current Max-WASH I area
Establish sustainability in the current Max-WASH I areas to reach the last mile and to prevent slippage.

- Increase coverage in new programme areas
Implement the programme in 38 unions in Blue Gold Polders and its surrounding areas that currently do not yet have sufficient access to clean water and sanitation.

- Learn by innovation to increase effectiveness and sustainability
Further test, share and scale up Max-WASH II innovations and some new innovations, including carrying out research to learn from existing practices, to further increase effectiveness and sustainability.

- Strengthen governance
Improve governance of WASH by further strengthening collaboration with the three key stakeholder groups; community, local government and the private sector.

Overall the programme will deliver increased sanitation coverage to 441,000 people and safe water to 307,000 people and knowledge linked to better hygiene practices to 1,3 million people.

Program:
Max Foundation implemented its Max-WASH I program through an integrated approach, combining WASH with nutrition and sexual reproductive health (SRH) components, among communities in the Blue Gold Polders in the south coastal hard to reach areas in Bangladesh during the period September 2012- August 2016. The program was aimed to reduce child morbidity and mortality by serving over 890,000 people, particularly targeting the poorest (i.e. women and children).

Building upon the success and demonstrated prospects of Max-WASH I program implementation, Max Foundation now wishes to scale it up (in the name of Max-WASH II programme) reaching 1.3 million additional people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, in the Blue Gold Polder and its surrounding areas of south-western Bangladesh.

Max-WASH II adopts a community-led development approach, which shifts the focus from grant dependency towards one where communities can access flexible funding that contributes to overall community wellbeing. Through capacity building, advice and funding, Max-WASH II will create an enabling environment in which changes led by the community are supported by local government and partners with a view to embedding changes that endure when the program ends. In this way, we leave behind more resilient and stronger communities and local government institutions and a self-confident, efficient and entrepreneurial private sector.