Demra, Bangladesh

Published on in Impact
Published on in Impact
Project #21 in Demra, Bangladesh

Demra, Bangladesh


MiiR's Contribution


Lives Empowered


Funding Date


Together, Water1st and MiiR are partnering to implement 40 water, toilet and hygiene education projects in Demra, Bangladesh, anticipated to benefit almost 1,400 people.

Granting schedule:
$15,000 benefitting 356 people (January 2017)
$15,000 benefitting 387 people (March 2017)
$15,000 benefitting 401 people (September 2017)
$15,000 benefitting 260 people (November 2017)

Experience a community driven project in 360

Get a glimpse into courtyard activity and see the easily accessible water access point. Take a peek into the production of beautifully woven Jamdani sarees from the region. Sit with young girls as a community health worker teaches on the importance of sanitation and hygiene, just one of several education programs offered alongside the new water systems.

The Approach

Water1st has been working in slum neighborhoods on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, since 2006. They bring crucial water and sanitation services to this area through their local partner organization, Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK). DSK enters communities and forms action committees comprised of local residents, who analyze their own living conditions and prioritize their needs, clean water and toilets being identified most often. DSK offers technical and financial assistance to anyone within the planning area to construct their own water system and toilet.

Each water project entails drilling a deep well (about 200 feet deep) and installing a submersible pump. The quality of the groundwater is tested for arsenic, coliforms, and nitrates. Once it is determined that the water is safe, groundwater is pumped to a storage tank.

The water is then piped to several faucets within the compound, including the toilets. A toilet will be built that has a porcelain bowl for easy cleaning and durability, a water seal to isolate waste from the living environment, and a large settling pit which provides several years of storage before it requires emptying. These toilets are simple, but vastly superior to latrines, which are totally unacceptable solutions for urban density living. The superstructure of the toilet is constructed of brick, which provides a structurally sound platform for the water tank.

Community members receive training in operation and maintenance of the water system and toilet. They also receive comprehensive hygiene education to emphasize ways to use the water and toilets to prevent illness. These systems provide huge health and economic benefits to the residents of the living complex. One water system usually serves 30-50 people.

The Problem

Bangladesh has one of the world’s highest rates of internal population migration from rural areas to urban centers. 150,000 to 400,000 new residents arrive each year from rural areas seeking a better life for their families, settling in crowded, unplanned residential areas lacking basic services like water supply, connections to sewers, electricity and stormwater drainage.

The Goal

DSK has supported the construction of over 500 water systems and toilets in the Demra area, serving roughly 30,000 people. MiiR’s financial support will allow them to complete an additional 40 projects in the Demra area in 2017, serving approximately 1,300 people.

Upon the completion of a project, the average time spent collecting water drops from 45-60 minutes to 10-15 minutes (the time it takes to fill buckets, pans, etc.). The amount of water used increases 400%-1000% while the cost decreases. Money spent on medicine to treat illnesses (usually diarrhea) decreases from 1000 taka to as little as 100 taka ($1.25) per month. Because of these projects, families spend less money and enjoy better health and quality of life.

About Water1st


In their words:
Water1st was started in 2005 by a group of professionals with solid experience in the water and sanitation and fundraising sectors. Our focus was simple: build an organization from the ground up with the ability to consistently implement high-quality water and sanitation projects that provide permanent solutions for the world’s poorest communities. We are fulfilling that vision, one community at a time. We’ve completed 2,297 projects, and not one has failed.

Meet Feroza

Feroza lives in Khadun. Her husband sells goods from a street stall to make a very modest living. Feroza must keep her family clean and fed on a very small budget. She spends two hours every day just collecting water. 

Read Feroza's story here.

May 2018

Throughout 2017, MiiR partnered with Water1st to fund the construction of water, hygiene and sanitation projects for people living in the urban slums of Demra, Bangladesh. Thanks to the incredible work of DSK, Water1st’s local partner, a total of 1,384 people were able to construct affordable, highly-functional water systems and toilets, transforming their living environments.


Specifically, with MiiR’s 4th quarter funding, DSK and Water1st constructed 9 water systems serving 260 people, and two toilets serving 57 people. Each water system and toilet constructed dramatically improves health and relieves women from the daily stress of collecting water. Not only can families now avoid collecting water from highly polluted surface water sources, but women in the community now save between 1-2 hours each day which previously would have been used to collect water. Imagine having two extra hours every day to focus on the health and prosperity of your family!


Because assistance in the form of water and toilets yields extra time, economic benefits soon follow. Families can meet their basic needs and begin to accumulate savings.


Thank you for helping improve the lives of families in Demra!