“It is high time to scale sustainable citywide sanitation services in urban areas to meet the new generation challenges of urban sanitation and reach the global sanitation target by 2030″, urged speakers in an event held on December 02, 2021, at the Council Building, BUET, Dhaka.
BUET has been supporting the Government and different sectors with engineering and planning solutions for decades. It is also working to build the capacity of the government and sector professionals through its departments, institutes, and centers. The International Training Network Centre of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (ITN-BUET) has launched a new project titled “Citywide Inclusive Sanitation Scaling and Sanitation Innovation” through the event. The project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is built on learnings and experiences from the previous partnership with the Foundation for national-level capacity-building on fecal sludge management and citywide inclusive sanitation (CWIS).
The occasion was graced by Mr. Md. Tazul Islam, MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as Chief Guest. Prof. Dr. Satya Prasad Majumder, the Honorable Vice-Chancellor of BUET, presided over the event.
“Inclusive Sanitation is not possible without engaging the mass people. Once they are aware of the adversities of open disposal, they will start cooperating and this will change for good forever”, said the honorable minister in his speech. He also added, “our biggest challenge is to rightly design and execute sanitation projects on time. We can meet these difficulties by working together. We do not want only citywide sanitation, but also countrywide inclusive sanitation, so that no one is left behind when we meet SDG targets.”-added Mr. Md. Tazul Islam. He mentioned the Government’s strong commitment to ensuring safely managed sanitation for all by 2030.
The Honorable Minister acknowledged BUET’s contribution as the center of excellence for providing many technical assistance or solutions. He congratulated ITN-BUET on achieving the new project and hoped that ITN-BUET, as a Capacity-Building Hub (CB-Hub) for CWIS and in collaboration with the CWIS-FSM Support Cell of DPHE, and other sector partners would play a key role in carrying out the agenda of promoting citywide inclusive sanitation.
Prof. Dr. Tanvir Ahmed, Director of ITN-BUET, shared the keynote presentation underlining the necessity of capacity-building for scaling CWIS, which is a public service approach for sustainable urban sanitation and adopted by many developing countries. Dr. Ahmed highlighted that the current phase intends to build the capacity of stakeholders to mainstream the CWIS approach in cities of Bangladesh and in partner countries like Nepal and Indonesia for sustainable sanitation. “ITN-BUET will act as a nodal capacity building and research agency for Bangladesh and selected countries in South and Southeast Asia for mainstreaming CWIS/FSM.” -said Dr. Ahmed. He also emphasized that a shift in mindset is now highly crucial, where infrastructure development alone is insufficient.
Prof. Dr. Satya Prasad Majumder, the Chairperson of the launching ceremony, stated, “ITN-BUET, in collaboration with our academic partners, can play a vital role in the field of research.” He opined that ITN-BUET has strong relations with national-level WASH programs, emphasizing that BUET always contributes to the nation and will continue to do so through this project. He further expressed his confidence in ITN-BUET of becoming an institute in the near future.
Special Guest of the event, Prof. Dr. Abdul Jabbar Khan, Honorable Pro-Vice-Chancellor, BUET, emphasized on sanitation scaling and innovation. He added that the Local Government Division, MoLGRD&C, DPHE, and ITN-BUET should work closely to attain sanitation scaling, while innovation has to be led by ITN-BUET. He further added that BUET has a large group of highly experienced researchers and innovation-focused faculties who can support ITN-BUET in this regard. Prof. Khan also mentioned that different steps are being taken to improve the Global University Ranking Status of BUET to be within 100, which will pave the way for more innovation and research.
Mr. Helal Uddin Ahmed, Senior Secretary, LGD, was the other Special Guest at the event. The Government is highly committed to ensure safely managed sanitation in the country utilizing all available resources and collaboration with sector actors- said Mr. Ahmed in his speech. Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha, Deputy Director of, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was present as the Guest of Honor of the event. He was hopeful about the investment that it would meet the capacity requirements of the sectors and create skilled human resources, scalable research, and useful knowledge products to reach decision-makers, implementers, and mass people. He encouraged the sector actors to utilize the resources and strengths of ITN-BUET to mainstream CWIS in Bangladesh.
Engr. Md. Saifur Rahman, Chairperson, CFSC and Chief Engineer, DPHE, was a designated speaker of the event. He reiterated the strong relation between BUET and DPHE and how ITN-BUET has been instrumental to DPHE for policy formulation, research, and capacity-building. He assured to offer all necessary supports to ITN-BUET to work as the CB Hub.
Engr. Taqsem A. Khan, Managing Director, DWASA, was the other designated speaker of the event. He provided a brief speech on the plan of DWASA to provide sewerage network service to 90% population of Dhaka City. He told that the remaining 10% people mostly living in the LICs will be served through FSM. DWASA has been working with national, regional, and international partners and has eventually become a learning ground on water supply and sewerage for others.
Ms. Bhawana Sharma, Executive Director, ENPHO, and the key partner of the project, expressed best wishes to the launching ceremony and expressed her commitments for the success of the project through a virtual message. She hoped to work together with ITN-BUET and utilize its expertise to make ENPHO a CB-Hub in Nepal. Representatives from the government, academia and the sanitation sector attended the event.
After the successful launching ceremony of the project, Honorable Minister, Mr. Md. Tazul Islam, visited the Environmental Engineering laboratory of the Department of Civil Engineering, BUET. In the Environment Lab, a Fecal Sludge Testing laboratory has been recently established with consent of the Department of Civil Engineering BUET, under the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation project of ITN-BUET. Faculty members of the Civil Engineering Department of BUET were present during the visit to showcase types of equipment and different test procedure of the lab. The Honorable Minister appreciated the intervention and hoped that this would encourage research on FSM and CWIS.