The Global Water & Sanitation Center (GWSC) at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand and the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), Bangladesh, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday, July 24, 2023, at DPHE office in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The MOU strengthens the cooperation between the two institutions for water and sanitation development interventions in Bangladesh.
The MOU was signed by Mr. Md. Sarwar Hossain, DPHE Chief Engineer, and Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto, President of AIT. It was witnessed by GWSC Co-Directors, Prof. Sangam Shrestha and Prof. Thammarat Koottatep, and DPHE Additional Chief Engineer Director (Planning), Mr. Tushar Mohon Shadhu Khan.
Under the MOU, GWSC and DPHE will work together to provide:
- Technical assistance support to water and sanitation improvement projects,
- Support Government of Bangladesh’s target of transforming Digital to Smart Bangladesh 2041 thorugh public data systems,
- Capacity building supports and research,
- Technical assistance for the adoption of the transformative sanitation technologies,
- Support of establishment of water and sanitation laboratory and other strategic supports.
In Bangladesh, decentralized wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) are a viable option for treating wastewater in urban areas where land is not always available. DEWATS can be used to treat wastewater from small communities, businesses, and individual houses.
To ensure that wastewater discharged meets the national effluent standard, the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) will operate a laboratory that can test the physical and chemical quality of wastewater, as well as fecal sludge. This laboratory also monitors effluents from DEWATS to ensure that they meet standards. DPHE is developing public data governance for sanitation, in which wastewater quality could be a crucial part for decision making and planning.
To develop capacity, AIT and DPHE consider initiating practical courses that bring in professionals to coach their personnel on real-world cases. By working on local cases, they can apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations. This practical experience, guided by experts with hands-on experience, helps them to develop a deep understanding of the material.
The MOU is a significant step in the cooperation between GWSC and DPHE. It will help to improve water and sanitation services in Bangladesh and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.