In a significant stride towards advancing public health and sustainable development, a Sanitation Data Command Centre is to be launched in Bangladesh. This initiative aims to establish an information and data-driven ecosystem that seamlessly integrates and automates sanitation-related data, paving the way for a healthier and more sustainable sanitation system across the country.
The Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) and Aspire to Innovate (a2i) have joined hands to drive this visionary initiative. The latest progress was marked by a day-long workshop, on Aug 27, 2023, titled ‘Finalization of Indicators for the Establishment of Sanitation Data Command Centre,’ where a diverse array of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors came together to collaborate on the initiative.
The current progress of this project underscores the significance of collaborative efforts. DPHE and a2i have entered a working partnership that is singularly focused on sanitation data, signifying a groundbreaking approach to this issue. This partnership is a multi-actor collaboration involving various stakeholders, including government bodies such as DPHE and a2i, developmental partner UNICEF, SNV, academia represented by ITN-BUET, and the private sector/consultants including Athena, Innovative Solution, StreamsTech, and Tiller. This harmonious coordination of efforts has led to the identification and consolidation of objectives, focal areas, responsible agencies, and key indicators for the Sanitation Data Command Centre (SDCC).
A notable aspect of this initiative is the engagement of stakeholders from different ministries and agencies, highlighting the cross-sectoral importance of sanitation. The Global Water & Sanitation Center (GWSC) has taken the lead in facilitating partnerships among various agencies directly responsible for sanitation data, including entities like the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), Bangladesh Railway, RAJUK, BANBEIS, and PKSF. The collaboration’s success hinges on establishing effective working modalities among these partners, ensuring data harmonization, accuracy, and validation.
To ensure the successful structuring and functioning of the Data Command Centre, GWSC is set to play a crucial role in several immediate actions:
- Supporting DPHE as the Manager of the Data Initiative: DPHE will assume the role of managing the entire data initiative, underscoring its importance in shaping the country’s sanitation data landscape.
- Identifying and Disseminating Roles and Responsibilities: Each data partner’s role and responsibilities will be clearly defined and communicated to ensure seamless integration and cooperation among stakeholders.
- Engaging New and Critical Partners. As the initiative progresses, the engagement of new and critical partners will be essential to diversify perspectives and expertise, contributing to a more comprehensive approach to sanitation data.
- Regular Coordination Among Partners: Maintaining consistent communication and coordination among all partners will be vital to address any challenges and to ensure the smooth functioning of the SDCC.
- Connecting National and Sub-national Data Requirements: Establishing a strong connection between the national data requirements and the mechanisms for generating sub-national data will enhance the overall effectiveness and relevance of the SDCC.
By harnessing the power of data and collaborative partnerships, the Sanitation Data Command Center is poised to revolutionize the sanitation landscape, paving the way for a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable nation.