On March 22, to mark World Water Day, and under the theme "Valuing Water", Rohingya water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) volunteers supported by Community Partners International (CPI) led activities in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, to raise community awareness of water security and safety.
Access to safe drinking water, and adequate safe water supplies for cooking, bathing, handwashing and latrines is often challenging for Rohingya refugees in the world's largest refugee camp, particularly during dry periods of the year. Overcrowding means households typically share access to tube wells, latrines and washing facilities with many others, placing significant pressure on limited water supplies. WASH facilities often fall into disrepair due to a lack of maintenance, putting further strain on water access.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the critical importance of WASH services for Rohingya refugee communities.
Monday's activities began with a World Water Day event in Camp 17 attended by refugee camp authorities, and staff from Community Partners International and local partner Green Hill, and Rohingya WASH volunteers. The event included an open discussion about water safety and security in the camp community.
After the event, Rohingya WASH volunteers conducted COVID-19 secure water safety awareness activities in their respective catchment areas.
The WASH volunteers distributed water purification tablets and water safety information leaflets, put up posters showing good handwashing practices and shared key water safety messages with communities through megaphone announcements.
The network of Rohingya WASH volunteers supported by Community Partners International plays a crucial role in helping fellow refugees access adequate supplies of clean, safe water. As well as educating communities about water safety, the volunteers regularly install, repair and maintain WASH facilities including tube wells, latrines, bathing and handwashing stations.