The necessity of efficient collaboration among councilors and the mayor for sanitation conditions improvement through empowering women was highlighted in the dissemination workshop of the study titled “Measuring Urban Sanitation Empowerment (MUSE)” at Saidpur.
Saidpur Municipality arranged the workshop in collaboration with ITN-BUET and CWIS-FSM Support Cell (CFSC), DPHE. The workshop took place on March 20, 2023, at the Conference Room of the Fecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP) of the Municipality.
The MUSE study is a global study led by Emory University that is designed to assess women’s choices and voices in WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) elements. ITN-BUET conducted the study in the Meherpur and Saidpur municipalities of Bangladesh. In Saidpur, the study was conducted in collaboration with WaterAid Bangladesh. Ms. Makfie Farah, Knowledge Management Specialist of ITN-BUET, presented the results of the study and noted that the findings could be used as a reflection for future scaling of projects.
Ms. Rafika Akhter Jahan, Mayor of Saidpur Municipality, highlighted that Saidpur Municipality was chosen as a mentor city for promoting citywide inclusive sanitation owing to its sanitation development. She requested municipality representatives to take necessary actions in order to make Saidpur a green and healthy city. Ms. Jahan suggested that men should have equal roles in household sanitation to reduce the burden of sanitation-related responsibilities of women.
Ms. Rifat Binte Jia, Gender Expert of CFSC, DPHE explained how the study findings will be utilized for large-scale project proposals and work plan development. During the workshop, a representative from BRAC, Saidpur, expressed his concern regarding the inclusion of non-Bengali people in the study and informed the participants that the organization had implemented community toilets for 24 refugee camps to improve the sanitation conditions of Saidpur.
The representatives of the municipality also gave their feedback and requested improvements to the wastewater sewerage system, the construction of small drains with the master drain, and the distribution of operation and maintenance responsibilities of community toilets. A teacher from Saidpur municipality suggested holding awareness programs for women to make them aware of their rights towards sanitation.
Following the event, participants were given a tour of the FSTP at Saidpur. During the tour, the process of treating fecal sludge and turning it into a valuable resource through co-composting and the opportunity for women to get involved in different segments of the service chain was explained. The tour was supervised by a local municipality engineer.
A total of 50 participants attended the workshop, including the mayor, municipality officials, DPHE and NGO representatives, and community leaders.