On a sunny morning in March, Md. Shamsul Alam, the Executive Engineer of Faridpur Paurashava and his team, started a mission. They were roaming around the city on their bicycle to see the condition of the waste workers, who had worked the previous night and gifted the city dwellers a cleaner city. The team was touched by the fact that the workers did not have any safety gear and, as a result, were exposed to different infectious diseases. “The waste and sanitation workers perform a crucial duty, which no one else in the society can do. Despite that, their health and safety issues are always neglected. The goodwill of the city authority is impacted due to the lack of adequate resources.” said Md. Alam in an online Training of Trainer course.

Photo: Interactive online sessions of the ToT

Targeting city professionals like Md. Alam, ITN-BUET, in association with CWIS-FSM Support Cell (CFSC) of DPHE, organized Training of Trainers (ToT) on Infection Prevention & Control and Occupational Health & Safety of the Waste and Sanitation Worker. The training events were conducted using an online platform amid the COVID-19 pandemic from February to June 2021. The course focused on the health and safety practices of the workers and the officials during work. Resource persons from a pool consisting of 35 Master Trainers trained the city-level officials. The course was conducted at the field level by the city-level officials using a specialized module developed by ITN-BUET on health and safety protocols during work and proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The mayors of different Paurashavas motivated their city officials with their guidance and suggestions during the ToTs. Mr. Anwar ALi, Mayor of Kushtia Paurashava, stated, “The waste and sanitation workers are one of the main driving forces of a city. We need to emphasize ensuring the proper facilities like PPEs and medical health care for them.” Shaikh Mahtab Ali Methu, Mayor of Faridpur Paurashava, also expressed the same view and expected to make his city clean like developed nations. “Clean Mongla City means clean Sundarbans. This training will accelerate our efforts to improve the environment of the Sundarbans, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which remains under the purview of Mongla Port Paurashava”, said Mr. Amal Krishno Saha, the Mayor of Mongla. Mayor of Satkhira, Mr. Md. Tajkin Ahmed appreciated the training module for its pictorial representation of information, which will benefit workers who cannot read.

Photo: Honorable Mayors of Kushtia, Satkhira, Faridpur, and Mongla Paurashavas delivering speeches (Clockwise)

Sector partners working in Kushtia, Faridpur, Satkhira, Laksham, Sakhipur and Khulna City Corporation collaborated in organizing and delivering the ToTs in respective cities. 45 cities, of which 3 were city corporations and 45 were Paurashavas (including 30 Paurashavas under the 23 Towns Project and 32 Towns Project of DPHE), received the ToTs. Total 381 officials, including 23 females from these cities and relevant DPHE engineers, were trained on the module who are expected to build the capacity of the sanitation and waste workers through field-level training. ITN-BUET and CFSC aim to train and provide PPE to 5000 workers through these field-level training events.

Participants expressed that the interactive sessions and provision of PPE enhanced the effectiveness of the training. With the commitment of conveying the learnings to the workers, the city-level trainers are expected to bring positive change in the lives of the workers.

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