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Article by: Md. Jafar Iqbal 18 November, 2014

Situation Analysis and Recommendations for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene of Mohammadpur Geneva Camp

Water Supply, Sanitation and hygiene are the most common and important basic needs for people living in any society. As urban areas grow; more pressure has been put on local water supplies, for as quality of water available to a community greatly impacts all aspects of health. Worldwide, 40 percent of the population do not have ready access to clean and safe drinking water. Approximately 60 percent does not have satisfactory facilities for safe disposal of human waste. Geneva Camp in Mohammadpur is one of the dense and poor habitat area of Dhaka City. The water Supply, Sanitation and hygiene situation in this area is very poor and not properly managed. This research is a study of the situation of water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the area and recommends a improvement of the

Research Objectives:
The broad objective is to analyze the present situation and recommend possible solutions in the total system of water supply, sanitation and hygiene in Geneva Camp of Mohammadpur.
The following activities have been done together to achieve the objective.
1. Collect information about water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the study area.
2. Identify the sanitation and hygiene situation in the study area.
3. Find out some possible steps that should be taken for the welfare of the people of the area.

Location and Area
Geneva camp is located in Mohammadpur, Dhaka. It is the largest of the 116 Bihari Camps in Bangladesh.

Map 1 : Location of the Geneva Camp; Source: LGED Database

Geneva Camp is spread over 235,000 square feet of land and has nine residential sectors, as well as a large market running parallel to the interior side of Blocks A and B. Geographically Geneva Camp lies between 23046´02´´ and 23046´03.76´´ north latitude and 90021´56´´ and 90022´16´´ longitude (GOB-1985).

The study area map is shown in the context of Dhaka district (map 1) and in Google earth Image (map 2)

Google Earth Image Map 2: Geneva camp Mohammadpur; source: Google Earth image 2011
Data Sources and Methodology
Both primary and secondary data are used in analysis of the research. Primary data was collected by participatory questionnaire survey (75 No.) through interviews and FGD(5 No.) in December 2011.
The secondary information was collected from different government and non government organizations such as- RAJUK office and Mohammadpur Municipal office. Different journal and article also analyzed for the research.
Qualitative and quantitative methods are used for the situation analysis of Geneva camp. Qualitative data, i.e. answers to open-ended questions and additional volunteered comments, was collected from the questionnaire and, where relevant, coded. Questionnaires were processed using MS Excel software.
For qualitative data, recorded interviews were transcribed shortly after they had taken place. After transcription, the material was categorized and coded. The resulting material was printed, sorted and stored manually.

Situation Analysis of water sanitation and hygiene:
The Supply Water:
DWASA has one water pump in each sector of Geneva Camp with some of the larger sectors having two. The supply of water is adequate. But residents informed that the water is full of dirt and bad odor. As for the public water pumps, there is at least one in each sector of

Geneva Camp with some of the larger sectors having two. Drinking water is carried from the pumps to individual homes in metal or plastic buckets and then stored in large drums near the stove or under the bed. The water gathered from the public taps in each sector is free of charge. But from the field survey it is clear that the sources do not provide safe water.
Safe drinking Water
People boil or filter the water for drinking. Table 1 shows the survey findings of drinking water.

Table 1: Access of safe water
Type No. of respondents Percentage
Supply  water 7 9
Boiled water 54 72
Filtered water 14 19

From the table it is seen that most of the families (72%) boil water for drinking

Distant to collecting drinking water
Though most respondents use supply water for drinking purposes. They have to collect the water from a distance and table to shows the findings.

Table 2 : Distant of collecting drinking water
Distance(m) No. of respondents Percentage
0-100 12 16
100-200 30 40
201-500 7 9
501-1000 10 13
1 km+ 3 4
Others 13 17

Time to collect water
Women have to spend a lot of time every day to collect and process water for their family especially for drinking purposes

Table 3 :Time utilized for water collection
Time (hr) No. of respondents Percentage
<1hr 35 47
1-2 hr 25 33
2-5 hr 15 20

Preferable time for water collection

People choose different times for water due to mainly two reasons- scarcity of the water supply by Dhaka WASA and the very long line in the camp tube well or local road side water taps. Also as the water is not available all the time, they have to collect water at definite timings.

Table 4 : Preferable time for water collection
Time No. of respondents Percentage
   Before sunrise 30 40
Morning 12 16
Mid-day 8 10
 Before sunset 10 13
No specific time 15 20

Water for other purposes
The public pumps are not only used for water collection but also for bathing and clothe washing, this adds to the areas’ congestion factor in the area. For this reason the surrounding area becomes unhygienic and the people have difficulty in accessing the water point.
Sanitation system
Almost 60% people have their own bathroom in their house and 40% people do not have bathrooms. They have to share the common bathrooms within their colony which are sometimes quite far away from their living quarters. And most of the common bathrooms are very unhygienic in the area. In addition, the entire camp people share a few common bathrooms and toilets, which are very few compared to the number of people. Most of the time they need to queue to get their turn. Furthermore, both male and female alike share the same facility, which creates problems for the females. There is no privacy for the females either in toilet or shower facilities. Most of the toilets are without shade, and people need to stand in line for their turn. In the shower rooms ladies sometimes have to wait for hours to take bath in groups of three or four.
Location of cooking area
There is no gas connection in . So they use kerosene and wood for cooking. They cook both inside and in front of the living room. Almost 55% houses have separated and well built up cooking places in their houses. About 25% women have to manage their cooking places inside their rooms. Other 21% women have their cooking places outside their living rooms. The cooking is very difficult and unhygienic for whom the cook inside room and outside the room in shared cooking places. As they used Kerosene and wood it create smoke and odor which also unhygienic.
Garbage disposal
Garbage disposal in Geneva Camp takes many forms. Waste water created while cooking is typically dumped directly into the alleyways or into the infrequent above-ground drains, while solid-food waste is disposed of in intermittently available trash bins or in informal piles. The City Corporation removes garbage from Geneva Camp on a weekly basis from two large trash bins located on the periphery of the Camp.
Hygienic methods
Many people had a few ideas about “stay clean” before. But now- a- days they are getting knowledge about hygiene with the great help of the govt. organizations, NGOs, and media broadcastings. The concepts of remain hygiene now accepted by the community of Geneva camp.

Table 5 : Preferable time for water collection
Answers No of respondent Percentage
Improved 50 67
Somewhat improved 18 24
Not improved


7 9

So most of the people believe that the hygienic practice improve their lives. But lacks of proper opportunity the environment remain unhygienic. Specially the open drain and open garbage dumping makes the environment more unhygienic.
Overall Situation of Water supply, Sanitation, Hygiene:
Though there is a water supply pump in each block but the water is not hygiene and available all the time. For this reason families prefer to have their own water pumps due to the long lines and overuse of public ones, yet because of the same space constraints few have had the ability to do so. On the other hand the disturbed water pump or line are have to repair by their own cost.
The number of public toilets in Geneva Camp is 265. They are located in 6 of the 9 sectors. On average each toilet is used by 100 people, but nearly 50% are out of order, so the average number of people using each toilet is closer to 200. A growing trend in Geneva Camp is for families to build their own private toilets, but due to the cramped living conditions few have the space to do this inside their homes.
As the population density is very high the living environment of the camps is very deplorable. It is unhealthy, dirty, damp and un-hygienic. The camp authorities are neither able nor serious to maintain a healthy sanitation facility. The drainage system is extremely poor, which causes water logging very easily. Therefore, contagious diseases especially diarrhea and dengue are very common. The municipalities/City Corporation cleaners never enter the camps to clear the garbage. It is only when the camp-dwellers drop their garbage in the dustbins outside the camp that the City Corporation cleaners will take them out. So this can be stated than the insufficient, unhealthy water supply, poor sanitation structure and low hygiene facilities make worse situation of life in the Geneva camp.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Sustainable management of water resources and sanitation provides great benefits to a society and the economy as a whole. Thus, it is crucial, first to involve all peoples in water resource management and sanitation policies and to ensure that the specific needs and concerns of women and men from all social groups are taken into account. Second, it is vitally important to determine what people (consumers of water, sanitation and Hygiene) want, what they can and will contribute and how they will participate in making decisions on the types and levels of service, location of facilities and operation and maintenance. As the Geneva camp area is densely populated, the whole water sanitation and hygiene should be improved and well planned structurally as well as the public awareness should developed about remain hygiene both personally along with overall environmental hygiene.
The following are some of the major factors that need to be addressed to implement a approach to water resources and sanitation management in the Geneva camp.
Management priority
The authority should take immediate steps to protect and manage the existing water supply and sanitation condition. The proper management of these can make the situation better as about 505 water supply and sanitary toilet is now out of date or unhygienic.

Access to sanitation
Lack of sanitation facilities and poor hygiene causes water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and several parasitic infections. Moreover, the incidence of these diseases and others linked to poor sanitation – e.g., round worm, whip worm, guinea worm, and schistosomiasis – is highest among the poor, especially school-aged children. So the access to sanitation should be more easier and available in this area.
Capacity development
Building capacity means bringing together more resources, more people (both women and men) and more skills. Yet, when looking closely at capacity building in water supply and sanitation in developing countries, but the Geneva camp is far behind this approaches. Till now they have to depends on old sanitation system and poor drainage management. The structural development of sanitation and drainage should be in scientific and planned way by the proper authority.
Public Awareness
The people of an area can contribute mostly to the hygiene. Along with the structural development and management public should be aware about the water use, sanitation and hygiene.
 “Forgotten People: The Biharis,” Refugees International, 12 December 2003 URL: http://www.refintl.org(accessed 10 March 2007).
 “Geneva Camp: The Desperate Story,” Dhaka Courier, 1-7 December 1979.
 Ennals, L. (1987) “Biharis in Bangladesh: The Third Great Migration?” Journal of Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, London, 8(2).
 Haider, Z. (2003) “Repatriation of the Biharis Stranded in Bangladesh: Diplomacy and Development,” Asian Profile, Vol. 31, No.6, December.
 The state of The World’s Refugees 2000: Fifty Years of Humanitarian Action – Chapter 3: Rupture in South Asia, p. 14, Oxford University Press (OUP), January 2000
URL:http://www.unhcr.org/publ/PUBL/3ebf9bab0.pdf (accessed 10 June 2007).
 Abrar, C. and Redclift, V. (2007). Accessing Rights as Citizens: The Camp-based Urdu Speaking Community in Bangladesh. Dhaka: RAMMRU.
 Bangladesh Observer, 11 August 1992. “Ehi Mera Desh Hei” (This is my country), The Daily Manabjomin, 17 January 2000.
 “Geneva Camp,” the Daily Janakantha, 21 August 2000.Moonis Ahmar, “The Forgotten Citizens,” the Daily Star, Dhaka, Friday 30 August, 2002.

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About Author: Md. Jafar Iqbal

Research Assistant at Asiatic Society of Bangladesh and Research Assistant (Part Time) at Centre for Urban Studies, Dhaka

+8801915177117 jafar867@gmail.com
+01776093787 [ Download CV ]