WSUP awarded $500,000 grant by The Coca-Cola Foundation to improve access to safe drinking water for low-income communities in Bangladesh

Themes: Water
Countries: Bangladesh

Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has been awarded a $500,000 grant by The Coca-Cola Foundation to enhance water resilience amongst low-income communities in Bangladesh.

The project—to be implemented in Chattogram and Cummilla—will extend and improve safe drinking water points in low-income communities and catchment schools to more than 20,000 people, including women and school-going children, by December 2024.

In addition, the project will help improve residents’ water management, usage, and hygiene practices, pushing hygiene education messaging, including water stewardship and demand control, to 80,000 people. The project will see 40 utility staff trained in customer relationship management, non-revenue water management, and service delivery – as part of the capacity strengthening of city water and sanitation authorities.

The 12-month project builds on a 2023 pilot project between The Coca-Cola Foundation and WSUP, impacting 52,231 people living in low-income communities in Bangladesh.

WSUP Chief Executive Officer Mr. Ed Mitchell said the project will utilize a multifaceted approach to provide sustainable, safe, and city-wide water supply services and reduce non-revenue water.

“Building on the lessons of the pilot project, we seek to enhance infrastructure and services, foster greater accessibility to a clean and secure water supply, and cultivate improved water usage habits within the communities. We believe that by promoting water stewardship, we will reduce exploitation, contamination, and wastage and minimize the risks of water-related illnesses,” said Mr. Mitchell.

Among those who benefitted from the pilot project was Ms. Nur Jahan, a resident of Chattogram, who witnessed the transformative impact of access to clean drinking water.

“I cannot express enough gratitude for the water tank brought near my home. It has completely transformed my life, taking away the burdens of distance, long queues, and safety worries that I used to face daily. This incredible intervention has enhanced my everyday routine and my community’s security. Thanks to this wonderful initiative, I now have convenient access to clean water for drinking and cooking. It’s truly a life-changing gift,” said Ms. Jahan.

The Coca-Cola Foundation’s President, Saadia Madsbjerg, reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to bringing safe water to underserved communities.

“Through this partnership, we aim to accelerate access to safely managed water services in communities experiencing water stress. The foundation is dedicated to collaborating with local communities in Bangladesh to support affordable and sustainable access to drinking water,” said Mrs. Madsbjerg.

According to The World Bank, 46% of people in urban areas of Bangladesh do not have access to safely managed drinking water services.[1] In addition to significant health, social, and economic losses from a lack of clean drinking water, poor supply means people must turn to black market vendors, which can be up to eight times more expensive than local utilities. With an estimated 11% of Bangladesh’s population living below the poverty line, access to safe drinking water remains a major challenge for many disadvantaged individuals. Recognizing the urgent need to address this issue, WSUP has worked tirelessly to improve urban water and sanitation services.