Creating a sustainable FSM service does not stop at infrastructural measures; steps like creating public awareness are much needed for proper implementation, emphasizes Mr. Tushar Mohon Shadhu Khan, Additional Chief Engineer (Planning), DPHE in an online Dialogue and Interactive Sessions with Paurashava Mayors on awareness-raising campaign on FSM in Paurashavas on 5 November 2020. The dialogue focused on the importance of municipality-led awareness campaign strategy for creating public awareness about FSM.

Mr. Tushar Mohon also highlighted the role of DPHE and CWIS-FSM Support Cell in FSM related activities in the country and expressed determination to make this awareness campaign a successful one.

CWIS-FSM Support Cell, ITN-BUET and Municipal Association of Bangladesh jointly organized the event.  Around 60 participants, including mayors and representatives from 17 Paurashavas, sanitation sector experts, officials of international and national development partners attended this event.

Prof Dr. Tanvir Ahmed, Director of ITN-BUET and Professor of Civil Engineering Department of BUET, talked about the objective and expectations of this interactive dialogue with Mayors. He emphasized on the importance of creating public awareness at local level.

“It’s time to replicate and scale-up the best practices in Bangladesh”, says Mr. Roshan Raj Shrestha, Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He encouraged the mayors to implement the IRF-FSM with the help of strong regulation and by-laws and optimizing the resources and development projects in hand.

Mr. Md. Khayrul Hasan, the consultant on behalf of the working committee, shared a brief presentation on “FSM Awareness-raising handbook for Paurashavas”. This handbook contains a 3-year long detailed FSM awareness campaign strategy for Paurashavas. Mr. Hasan described the critical approach and campaign materials recommended in the handbook.

Mayors of different paurashavas shared their views about the awareness strategy and showed enthusiasm for its implementation at local levels. Mr. Shyamal  Dutta, Editor of Bhorer kagoj, moderated the open discussion session and summed up the dialog.

Dr. Md. Mujibur Rahman, sanitation expert, expressed that this Handbook will be a milestone for the sanitation sector. He talked about the existing policy-level document like IRF, NAP, Local Government Act, and the FSM awareness strategy’s relevance and importance.

Mr. Dewan Kamal Ahmed, Mayor, Nilphamari Paurashava and President, Municipal Association of Bangladesh, said that the handbook/awareness strategy is very timely and important as such extensive awareness-raising initiative on FSM is first of its kind. Mr. Gazi Kamrul Huda Selim, Mayor of Manikganj Paurashava, says, “Publicity begets advancement.” He mentions that this initiative will significantly help evolve the ongoing projects and activities on FSM.

Mr. Md Rafiqul Islam Kotwal, Mayor, Shariatpur Paurashava and Secretary General, hoped that MAB would play a pivotal role in giving strong support in carrying out the awareness program. He asked for cooperation from Paurashava level. Md. Shafiqul Hassan, Project Director, DPHE, and Co-Chair, CWIS FSM Support Cell, shared that this handbook will be refined upon receiving their valuable feedback and will be open for its use. The event concluded with his sincere thanks to the participants.

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