Women’s Role in Managing Household Water in Rural Bangladesh

The BRAC WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programme was initiated in 150 upazilas in three phases (50 in each phase) aiming to improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in rural Bangladesh. The study explores women’s role in managing household water i.e. collecting and storing water and maintaining cleanliness of the tubewells. Participants were selected through a two-stage sampling procedure. Respondents were the women of the households who had knowledge of the household day-to-day activities related to water, sanitation and hygiene. Most of the women (97%) were responsible for collecting water from both single-used and shared tubewells in baseline, which decreased significantly to 95% in midline. Putting cover (lid) on the opening of water vessels during fetching and storing drinking water increased significantly from 18% and 31% in baseline to 51% and 39% in midline, respectively. Besides, putting cover on the opening of water vessels for storing water for cooking increased significantly from 14% in baseline to 20% in midline. Multivariate analyses show that due to WASH interventions, the proportion of tubewells increased in the female-headed households compared to the male-headed ones in midline. Significant improvement in cleanliness of tubewell platforms was observed in midline where higher proportion of cleaned tubewell platforms was observed among non-poor households compared to poor and ultra poor households. The study reveals that WASH intervention has succeed in increasing women’s role in household water management and cleanliness of tubewell platforms, which may reduce the prevalence of waterborne diseases. Other household members except women should come forward to collect water or maintain tubewells, which may allow increasing participation of women in other productive work after taking break from tedious work. The ongoing WASH interventions should be strengthened and more emphasis should be given on the routine monitoring at household level to establish proper hygienic management of water by the women and other family members.

Related information

  • Writer Name: Nepal C Dey and ARM Mehrab Ali
  • Published Date: Sunday, 08 August 2010
  • Country: Bangladesh