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A Short Step from Improved WASH to Healthier Communities

Background and Objectives


In Dry Zone, only 58 percent of households have year round access to protected water (including rainwater), about a fifth of households in Magwe are not using improved water sources, whereas in Mandalay it is 18 percent. In both regions, majority of households use strain through a cloth as water treatment, a practice which will not make water safe to drink. Only 3 percent of communities in rural areas have access to safe piped water. The most common cause of bacteriological contamination of water is exposure to fecal matter of human origin. Safe drinking water and sanitation are basic necessities for good health, yet twenty-nine percent do not have latrines in these two regio

Additionally, in the Dry Zone area, nearly two in six children under age five are underweight, and percent present severe acute malnutrition. Approximately a third of children (31.2 percent) are stunted or too short for their age, and 36.6 percent low-birth weight. In Mandalay, 21 percent of children are underweight; 27 percent of total children population lives under the poverty line. The prevalence of stunting (or low height-for-age) is alarming high with over 30 percent of children being stunt. In Magwe, 27 percent of children living under the poverty line, 36 percent of children are low-height for their age. It is known that short-term consequences of under nutrition are mortality, morbidity and disability (under-five mortality is 46.1 per thousand in Dry Zone), and long-term consequences are adult size, intellectual ability, economic productivity, reproductive performance among others.


“A short step from improved WASH to healthier communities” aims at providing communities with safe drinking water, improved sanitation and high-quality hygiene education to give them basic for healthy and productive life. The project will follow an integrated approach with Behavior Change Communication (BCC) focusing on zero open defecation (ZOD), and provision of safe drinking water and sanitation systems through continuous community mobilization and engagement.


Behavior Change Communication (BCC) through PHAST

The project will implement Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), a systematic participatory approach consisting of sequential steps that will culminate in the development of an action plan for addressing the prevailing WASH problems in targeted communities.

Improving Sanitation

The project – through PHAST – will campaign to mobilize and encourage households for zero open defecation (ZOD) and to acquire and use hygiene latrines to improve their quality of life and their communities. The project will support demonstration of construction household latrines for most vulnerable households; where beneficiaries will be identified by the community themselves. The project aims at providing small subsidy to the poorest of the poor and expects contribution from household in terms of materials and labor. The project will put lot of emphasis on behavior change to create demand for hygiene latrines, as well it will support with various hygienic latrine designs and technical support so household build their own latrines.

Community water supply and water safety planning

The project will work to improve access to safe drinking water aiming at decreasing the incidence and intensity of diarrhea and water-borne diseases in order to improve nutrition. By developing Water Safety Plans (WSPs) communities will be able to strength their capacities and capabilities for cost-effective management of their water supply resources; this will also help them sustain WASH services after the project phase out. The targeted 212 villages are to apply Water Safety Plans the plans through demonstration projects. This demonstration project is to be used as “knowledge base” for community learning and replication; this will also help verify the effectiveness of the WSP.

Geographical Locations:

Pakokku, Yesagyo, Myingyan, Natogyi, Taungtha, Malaing townships in Magway and Mandalay regions


Expected Outcomes

  • 1. Water supply systems are improved and sustainably operating and providing safe drinking water
  • 2. Community households practice improved positive hygienic behavior
  • 3. Community households are building and using their own latrines (more latrines in the village)

Development Partners / Partners

Development Partner: LIFT (Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund)

Project Partners: Community Development Committee (CDC), Township Authorities, Department of Rural Development (DRD)

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