Bangladesh's water and sanitation crisis
Bangladesh has one of the fastest growing economies in South Asia, however its economic growth has not benefited all areas of the country equally. Out of its population of 165 million people, 68 million people (41% of the population) lack access to a reliable, safely managed source of water, and 100 million people (61%) lack access to safely managed household sanitation facilities. And 29% of the population lives below the poverty line on less than $3.10 a day.
Bangladesh is a global leader when it comes to microfinance and is known as the birthplace of this innovative financial model. Since the 1970s, vibrant and sustained growth in the microfinance sector has resulted in enormous impact on financial inclusion of those living in poverty, particularly women.
Bangladesh’s high need for water and sanitation improvements, along with its healthy microfinance sector and government support, make it an ideal market for Water.org’s financial solutions to the water crisis.
Our impact in Bangladesh
Since 2003, Water.org has partnered with some of Bangladesh’s leading microfinance institutions – including ASA, BURO Bangladesh and TMSS – to empower more than 7.6 million people with access to water or sanitation through small, affordable loans, contributing significantly to the country’s progress towards improved water, sanitation, and hygiene.
To date, Water.org has partnered with 11 leading microfinance institutions and one apex microfinance organization to implement our WaterCredit solution. More than 1.6 million loans have been disbursed by our partners, mobilizing more than $540 million in capital to help people living in poverty get access to safe water and sanitation solutions.
This impact helped build the case for the importance of water and sanitation financing at the national level. We have strong engagement with peer organizations and sector stakeholders in Bangladesh, such as the Ministry of Planning, UNICEF, Swisscontact, and apex microfinance organization, InM. Through our systems level work, including sharing best practices through sector learning platforms, the government of Bangladesh increased water and sanitation funding by 30% starting in 2019.
A vision for future impact in Bangladesh
Water.org has demonstrated success in microfinance-based water and sanitation lending in Bangladesh, and we continue to expand impact with our current partners and create new partnerships with additional microfinance institutions and commercial banks to help get affordable financing for water and sanitation solutions to more families in need.
We also recognize that constraints on water and sanitation access are broader than inadequate household level financing. In addition to our core work, we are exploring partnerships with other types of organizations that can serve to increase access. In Bangladesh, we are seeking to work directly with public and private financial institutions, WASH small and medium enterprises (SMEs), water and sanitation service providers, and utilities to catalyze commercial investments in the sector and enable partners to improve services and expand their overall coverage areas, reaching a greater percentage of people at the base of the economic pyramid and supporting climate resiliency for people in need.
Stories of Impact
Now Tahmina and her baby can play
For many years Tahmina walked to and from her in-law’s to fill vessels, cups, and buckets of water for cooking and cleaning. This was time-consuming and for Tahmina, often difficult. Read about how her life changed after getting affordable access to safe water and improved sanitation at home.Read more
Stories of Impact
Parul's family is healthy and safe
At the intersection of the water crisis and the sanitation crisis are often stories of severe illness. The consequences of using unsafe water can hardly be managed without a toilet at home. This is why increased access to improved safe water and sanitation solutions for families living in poverty, like Parul’s, is critical.Read more
Stories of Impact
Lessons learned, lessons taught
As a mother, Nadia wanted more for her children. She wanted a life opposite of the one dealt her by the global water crisis. She wanted safe water and a toilet at home. Read more about how a small loan helped change Nadia's family's lives and inspired a valuable lesson.Read more
Bangladesh impact statistics
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