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Project to provide water, sanitation to Chandpur ‘Bedey’ people

Published : Saturday, 12 June, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 511

A more coherent and inclusive policy approach to mainstreaming the needs of the Bedey (river gypsy) communities is imperative, said experts on Friday at the inaugural ceremony of the workshop of a new project by Oxfam and the Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS) in Dhaka.
The new project, supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency's (KOICA) civil society cooperation program, will provide safe drinking water and hygiene through 34 floating water and sanitation centers - reaching 1,400 people dwelling on boats in Chandpur.
KOICA, Oxfam in Korea, Oxfam in Bangladesh, local government officials, beneficiary groups and local partners attended the workshop and shared feedback on how to best address the needs of the community.
"Oxfam is committed to finding respectful and just solutions to address the ongoing barriers the communities face in accessing their rights with dignity," said Dipankar Datta, Oxfam in Bangladesh's country director.
Datta urged greater cooperation to provide communities living in boats across the country with basic amenities.
The Country Director of KOICA's Bangladesh office, Doh, Young-Ah; the CEO of Oxfam in Korea, Kyungyoung Chi; fisheries expert of CNR, Masood Siddique; the Mayor of Chandpur Municipality, advocate Zillur Rahman; spoke at the occasion, among others.
 "We will actively review the opinions from today's workshop so that the voices of Chandpur boat dwelling communities learned through this workshop can be well reflected in this project implementation," said Chi, Kyungyoung, CEO of Oxfam in Korea.
"We will make efforts to improve the water and sanitation environment in the most appropriate way for the local area, and to ensure that residents can have capabilities to prevent infectious diseases like Covid-19, and support to improve abilities to maintain their better livelihoods," he said.
Country Director of KOICA Bangladesh, Doh, Young-Ah said, "This project is thoroughly tailored to the needs of boat dwelling people in Chandpur, so KOICA's expectations are high for this project.
"The project will provide environment-friendly floating water and sanitation centers and support promoting women's empowerment and health awareness among the boat dwelling communities.
"Ultimately the project aims to strengthen local people's ability to prevent infectious diseases," he added.
KOICA will continue to provide monitoring and support so that projects can proceed without any setbacks through thorough safety management, including prevention of Covid-19.

The project has begun in close cooperation with the Department of Public Health Engineering, Bangladesh NGO Affairs Bureau, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Chandpur Municipality, Chandpur Zila Parishad, and several companies that provide water and sanitation facilities.
During the workshop, Oxfam officials outlined the project plan to boat dwellers of Chandpur and listened to the opinions of those who participated as representatives of the community, including adult, teenagers and children, and people with disabilities.
"We are very happy that finally some aid is coming to resolve the long-standing sanitation and water problems of our community," said Shahanaz Begum, a woman from the boat dwelling community of Chandpur.
"We hope that the government will also consider supporting our land rights and right to fish in open water bodies and providing social security and education for our community.

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