To achieve the Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) targets, sanitation measures must be implemented properly, focusing on gender and social inclusion.

On 14 March 2023, an orientation workshop for strengthening leadership skills aimed at CWIS for women leaders was held at the ITN-BUET seminar room. The event was jointly organized by ITN-BUET and UCLG-ASPAC. Members of The Gender, Equity, and Social Inclusion (GESI) Unit of the Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB) attended the event.

Ms. Uma Chowdhury Jolly, Convenor of GESI unit and Mayor of Natore Municipality highlighted the significance of gender equality by reciting two lines from the poem “Nari” by Kazi Nazrul Islam which states that “I sing the song of equality; In my view gender difference is essentially a triviality. Everything great in the world, all the beneficial and good works, half must be credited to woman, and half only to man.”

Mr. Dewan Kamal Ahmed, President of MAB and Mayor of Nilphamari Municipality emphasized that MAB is vigorously working on addressing gender inequalities and empowering women in the sector, including increasing the presence of women in decision-making roles and will continue to work harder to achieve these goals in the future. He urged all participants to work together to create a more equitable and sustainable future.

At the event, Prof. Dr. Tanvir Ahmed, Director of ITN-BUET, and Ms. Makfie Farah, Knowledge Management Specialist of ITN-BUET, delivered two technical presentations. The first presentation covered the sanitation scenario in Bangladesh while the second covered the framework and principles of CWIS. Ms. Rifat Binte Jia, Gender Expert of CWIS-FSM Support Cell DPHE presented the dimension for safe sanitation in the country.

Women Leaders Orientated  to Lead CWIS

An experience-sharing session was also held at the event to encourage women leaders to take measures to involve the women of their municipality in all stages of sanitation decision-making.

Asha Rani, a sanitation worker living in Meherpur’s Harizon community, stated that owing to the support of the Mayor of Meherpur Municipality and Practical Action, the female sanitation workers of the community are finally recognizing their own earning rights.

Begum Rokhsana Akhter Banu, a female entrepreneur from Rangpur, discussed her experience with the organization she founded, “Shafi Enterprise.” The company focuses on providing cleaning services for septic tanks at household levels.

Representatives from various organizations, including CFSC DPHE, WaterAid Bangladesh, Practical Action, SNV, BRAC, and WSUP, acknowledged the importance of increasing the participation of women in decision-making processes related to sanitation, addressing gender disparities and promoting the inclusion of marginalized groups in sanitation management. The representatives shared their experiences working towards these goals and emphasized the need for engaging local female leaders to remove gender inequalities and empower women in the sector.

The participants also worked in groups to create an action plan for the GESI Unit. They identified its role and requirements to achieve goals like incorporating sanitation in municipal committees and disseminating success stories of women and safe sanitation.

The event’s chief guest was Mr. Dewan Kamal Ahmed, President of MAB and Mayor of Nilphamari Municipality. Special guests were Mr. Md Khalid Hossain, Secretary General of MAB and Mayor of Madaripur Municipality, Ms. Uma Chowdhury Jolly, Convenor of GESI unit and Mayor of Natore Municipality, Ms. Jakeya Khatun, Mayor of Panchagarh Municipality and Ms. Yasmin Sultana, Member Secretary of GESI Unit and Panel Mayor of Narshingdi Municipality.

Women Leaders Orientated  to Lead CWIS-02
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