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Nurjahan’s Story: How Community Toilets have improved the health of families in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, 61.7 million people do not have access to basic hygiene facilities such as toilets. Many of these people live in informal settlements and slums.  

Nurjahan Akhter Namza (32) is a resident of Beguntila informal settlement in Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Like most other families living in Beguntila, Nurjahan’s family of four lacked access to basic services and facilities, severely impacting their day-to-day activities, their health,wellbeing and their overall quality of life.  

The existing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in Beguntila were barely accessible, were not hygienic and were used by more than 1200 families living in the settlement.  

Nurjahan and her husband Yakub (35) have two children and both work from home, crafting hand embroidery. For Nurjahan, having to wait in long queues in front of these WASH facilities took a heavy toll on her working hours, especially with young children. 

“There is always a queue in front of the [existing] toilets and water collection points. Not only it is inconvenient, it is also time consuming, especially for us mothers in the community.” said Nurjahan.  

In partnership with Habitat Australia, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’ #ANCP and implementing partner, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh, we were able to make the lives of residents like Nurjahan a little easier. To improve the WASH condition in Beguntila, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh recently constructed a community toilet in Nurjahan’s neighbourhood, which has greatly benefitted ten different families.  

“For years we have used a substandard toilet. It had broken walls and severe clogging issues.” Said Nurjahar. She also noted how having a functional toilet has impacted her surroundings, keeping her home clean and healthy. 

“Thanks to Habitat Bangladesh, the toilet we now use is clean and has water all the time. We pray for you [Habitat] from the core of our hearts.” Nurjahan said with a resounding smile. 

This project, Building Resilient Urban Slum Settlements in Dhaka, Bangladesh receives support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and is in partnership with our implementing partner Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh to provide access to safe WASH facilities.