Water management: an example of Bangladeshi-Rohingya cooperation

In partnership with The European Commission
Water management: an example of Bangladeshi-Rohingya cooperation
By Monica PinnaRobert Hackwill
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Inside the community setting an example of Bangladeshi-Rohingya cooperation


Unchiprang rose from scratch only last year following the latest military crackdown in Myanmar. This makeshift camp in Southern Bangladesh hosts 23,000 Rohingyas.

The sudden presence of such a large population of refugees created stress on local resources like firewood and water. The French NGO Soldarités International, financed by the EU Humanitarian Aid Department, installed three water points here and makes sure that the insfrasturucture is used both by Rohingyas and the host community.

"We work in a participatory manner where we use local committees for water, for sanitation, made up of the local population and of the refugee population, and they would advise us on the best locations on the usage, on the sources of water, on the problems that they might find and then we implement our solutions that way," says Soldarités Internationale's Reda Bendahmane.

Mister Chackma is a local Bangladeshi, whose house is close to the camp. He is part of the water managment committee for one of the water points. We could see in practice how this system works, as there was a problem with the water quality at one fountain.

"When we came here yesterday we found the water was dirty. All the commette members came here to identify the problem. We are now checking the pipes hoping we are going to solve it," says water management commitee member Ongtacing Chakma.

Chackma was joined by the other Commettee members and a technician from the French NGO in order to identify the source of the issue faster.

"I’m here to help them, to give them some technical support, maybe the problem is a major issue. So I’m here to check if the issue is major or minor ," says Soldarités International's Saiful Bari.

In this case the problem was easy to find and solve, and the Committee was able to sort it out by itself.

"We’ve trained them technically, basic technical éléments ..so that they could repair it by themselves if there is a basic problem. Like today, they just opened a valve and checked if there is mud or there is a new leak, and they can," adds Saiful.

Solidarités International is looking for innovative solutions in order to reduce water contamination and waterborne diseases. The challenge is to adapt to the new needs according to how the situation evolves.

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