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Promoting integrity in Bangladesh's water sector

At the backdrop of widespread corruption and mal-governance across the sector, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), with the support of Water Integrity Network (WIN) of Berlin, formed Bangladesh Water Integrity Network (BAWIN) in 2011 to promote integrity as an essential part of the solution for more sustainability in the water sector. BAWIN is a multi-stakeholder network that includes civil society water sector institutions at national and sub-national level as well as committed individuals. BAWIN activities include but not limited to research, campaigns and advocacy to promote the engagement of various stakeholders. A key stakeholder of BAWIN, Khulna Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (KWASA) has been successfully applying the Integrity Management (IM) Toolbox in their organization since 2015. IM is a systematic, bottom-up approach to improve performance and efficiency through increased integrity. 


“In terms of water sector integrity, we have made good progress, but there is still a long way to go - Iftekharuzzaman”

During a recent interview with WIN, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of TIB highlighted the ongoing activities of BAWIN in promoting water integrity and good governance in the water sector of Bangladesh. BAWIN's support to KWASA in building capacity related to integrity and in institutionalizing water integrity is the first example of GO-NGO partnership in promoting integrity in the water sector of Bangladesh.

BAWIN is also playing a significant role in advocating integrity in the water sector of Bangladesh. A National Water Rights event was organized to celebrate World Water Day 2016 with eleven other organizations and the outcomes and recommendations related to water integrity forwarded to the Water Resource Minister. Moreover, school activities on the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and water integrity practices were organized for students and other stakeholders.

BAWIN's ongoing research on the use and effectiveness of Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) in the garments industry of Bangladesh from a water integrity perspective is expected to generate more interest among policy makers in  the institutionalization process of water integrity. Emphasizing on the need for evidence-based research, Dr. Zaman suggested undertaking a national survey to assess the nature and extent of integrity gaps, the opportunity and cost of corruption, and to identify potential entry points of integrity interventions in future. He also underscored the need for scaling up outreach activities to raise awarness of community, youth, and media, especially through building their capacity and skills on water integrity issues; and by exploring opportunities to work with national and international NGOs working on WASH issues.

The details of interview of Dr. Zaman with WIN is available on this link.
Meanwhile, Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of KWASA recently attended the World Water Week 2016, hosted and organized by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) from 28 August to 2 September 2016 and shared their experiences in applying the Integrity Management Toolbox. KWASA made major progress toward implementation and developed the integrity roadmap to guide the organization’s change process. During an interview with SIWI, KWASA Managing Director Mr. Abdullah mentioned some of the KWASA’s achievements after IM toolbox implementation in their organization. Earlier it used to take some 30 days to give water connection to a new customer, this has now been reduced to 20 days. KWASA also digitalized the billing system and introduced e-procurement system to scrap unethical practices and bring better financial sustainability for KWASA.

This interview is available on this link.