A Short Step From Improved Wash To Healthier Communities

The project pursues to provide communities with high-quality hygiene education, improved sanitation focused on zero open defecation (ZOD) and access to safe drinking water in order to give them basis for healthy and productive life through continuous community mobilization and engagement. Heading for the long-lasting goal of the Dry Zone program level outcome to achieve improved nutrition, the project aims to create an enabling environment to contribute to two major programme outcomes: safeguarded access to and sustainable use of natural resources, and improved nutrition, sanitation and hygiene practices.

The project will work to improve access to safe drinking water, aiming at decreasing the incidence and intensity of diarrhea and water-borne diseases in order to improve nutrition. Overall, the project is structured alongside three expected accomplishments:

  • Local government improves policy and includes in their villages plans WASH-nutrition sensitive interventions (EA1)
  • Communities are utilizing and running functioning and sustainable WASH services and their capacity to use and maintain these, and improve hygiene practices in general, is strengthened (EA2)
  • Empowered communities practice healthy behaviors with incidence of water-borne and fecal-transmission diseases reduced (EA3)   

Access to improved sanitation with zero incidence of open defecation and to affordable, suitable and sustainable water supply is crucial to improve basic health. Hence the project outputs aim at strengthening community's knowledge and attitudes regarding hygiene practices, stressing on ZOD, and that communities do not only have access to affordable suitable and sustainable WASH services  - from a better understanding of how to identify, prioritize and materialize them - but communities are empowered to manage those, and are responsible for their sustainability. The project interventions will build an enabling environment in which communities are aware of their roles and responsibilities, it will center on Behavior Change Communication (BCC) by implementing Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), where communities themselves promote awareness and practice improved hygiene behavior.

PHAST will strongly campaign for Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) to eradicate this problem.  By developing Water Safety Plans (WSPs) communities will be able to strengthen their capacities and capabilities for cost-effective management of their water supply resources; this will also help them sustain WASH services after the project phases out.

Empowering communities means making sure that the voice of the community is being heard, and that the interests of all community members, without any difference, are being represented. The project will support communities to jointly engage in the construction/upgrading of water supply quality services and create demand for construction of latrines to eliminate open defecation that badly increases women and children's malnutrition. The project will empower communities' skills capacity through various trainings and will hire trained artisans throughout the project.

Improved WASH do not only require good and feasible design, they require adequate and sustainable management therefore their financial capacity will be enhanced to operations and maintenance. Moreover, the project will support community water management planning (Water Safety Plans, WSP) thus communities become aware of their water resources within their village for more efficient utilization. It also aims at engaging communities in advocacy with local authorities for improved policy and budget allocation for WASH-nutrition sensitive interventions to be included in future village plans, especially those to be developed by DRD.

Actions under the project will benefit 165,314 people as direct beneficiaries in targeted villages (total population of each village) as they will benefit both from water supply systems and improved sanitation (zero open defecation, ZOD), and approximately ten per cent of surrounding villages' population as indirect beneficiaries (40,676 people).

The project proposes to support 212 targeted villages in 6 townships.  The project will also benefit surrounding villages. Out of 212 villages 164 villages will receive support for both water and sanitation facilities through community based implementation. Remaining 32 villages will receive mostly sanitation facilities as these villages have already received community based water solutions under the ongoing UN-Habitat WASH initiative (yet not in totality), the Shae Thot program funded by USAID.

The project will advocate with policy makers and development partners for the stronger scaling up of nutrition-sensitive intervention; highlighting that is worthwhile investing on improved WASH services to reduce malnutrition, stunting and children's health issues. The project will advocate with the Government of Myanmar not only for the integration of nutrition-sensitive interventions but also for conducting quality research to better understand different WASH disease-related pathways of transmission and how it affects health and long-term development.

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Region: Asia
Donors: United Nations Office for Project Services
Theme: Multisector aid for basic social services
Project Timeline
End Date: 30th June 2020
Start Date: 1st January 2016
Budget Utilisation
Budget: $4,400,000
Expenditure: $4,400,000
Outputs / Results

Improved policy dialogue and design for increasing access to basic services at local and national levels

Increased availability of sustainable water supply services

Increased awareness and availability of services to promote access to basic sanitation