Swisscontact Inaugurates an Innovative Safe Drinking Water Initiative at a School in Satkhira

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Swisscontact rises against the water crisis of Satkhira establishing a renewable, energy efficient and smart safe drinking water plant in a secondary school in Baikari, Satkhira.

H2O, a water project of Swisscontact in Bangladesh, inaugurated a safe drinking water plant and hygiene corner at Baikari Union High School, Satkhira, on 16 June 2023. Muhammad Humayun Kabir, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Satkhira district, attended the inauguration ceremony as the chief guest. He was joined by other dignitaries, including Fatema-Tuj-Johra, the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Satkhira Sadar, Md. Zahangir Alam, the Assistant Director – Finance and Procurement from the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE), and Eliane Herrmann, the Head of Development Programme of Swisscontact. Dr. Urs Grütter, the founder of Lokales Wasser 37, the Swiss bottled water company that funds the H2O project, also graced the event with his presence. The event was also presided by Ajit Kumar Sarkar, the District Education Officer of Satkhira.  

The alarming high-water contamination in coastal areas of Satkhira has impacted the availability of safe drinking water in communities like the Baikari Union. The ‘Baikari School Drinking Water and Hygiene Corner’ is implementing an innovative school-based model that uses renewable resources like rainwater harvesting and solar power for running the plant to reduce carbon footprint.

Students and staff members can access safe drinking water free of cost during school hours, and the community residents will have unlimited access to safe drinking water at a marginal rate. A smart hygiene corner has introduced a vending machine for distributing free sanitary napkins that will encourage adolescent girls to safe hygiene practices. 

Bipasha S. Hossain, team leader of the H2O project, welcomed the guests highlighting the sustainable water enterprise model that will drive the community towards a Smart Bangladesh. In appreciation of the initiative, Muhammad Humayun Kabir, the Deputy Commissioner of Satkhira district said, “We must keep innovating to minimise the effects of climate change, a dire example of which is the acute water crisis in Satkhira, and the Baikari school water plant is such a timely initiative in this regard.” Following that, Dr. Urs Grütter, founder of the H2O project, delivered words of encouragement for all saying, "If we all work together, we can keep employing creative approaches and introduce more innovative solutions.”

The H2O project has additionally established another innovative water enterprise through community co-ownership model in the Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira. Whilst contributing to the SDG goals for clean water and sanitation, and good health and wellbeing, this project marks an exciting new chapter for the people of Satkhira. The H2O project is dedicated to making life better by ensuring that everyone can sustainably access safe drinking water.

This project is financed by Lokales Wasser 37 AG / Max Ditting AG. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 

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Even though water has been officially recognised as a human right by the Bangladeshi government, 60% of Bangladesh’s 160 million inhabitants have no access to clean drinking water. Many people live on polluted land or with polluted groundwater. Rural and rapidly growing (sub)urban areas are not usually connected to the public drinking water supply. People collect water of questionable quality from unofficial and informal providers at high prices.