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In 2011, we were granted support from the Japan Government through their Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects to establish a community clinic in our working area. The aim will be to strengthen the medical health side of our programme and provide health care services, especially to women and children in the project area. It will be established in Shologhar Village, P.S. Srinagar (Bikrampur) District – Munshiganj, Bangladesh.
Published in New Matilda, by J. Arvanitakis: For an Australian, it is difficult to describe the sense of spending a few days in a Bangladeshi village. You simply give up avoiding clichés: the colours and the smells, the friendliness of the people, the poverty, the amazing food, the call to prayers… Please read full article here.
From 9-19 October 2012, two international workshops were hosted by the Arsenic Mitigation and Research Foundation (AMRF) in Dhaka and Munshiganj district. These were funded by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) International Research Collaboration Scheme and organised by the UNSW Institute of Environmental Studies (IES), the UNSW School of Humanities in collaboration with: Burdwan University, University of Hyderabad, University of Western Sydney, University of Kerala, Mumbai Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas. For more information see our workshop plan, photos and the IES Newsletter. The arsenic mitigation workshop was a follow up of a previous research visit to arsenic affected communities in India.
We are happy to announce that the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) will be providing capacity development support to AMRF (2012-2013). MJF is an initiative designed to promote ‘human rights’ and ‘good governance’ in Bangladesh. MJF will provide training on different issues to develop our organisational strength. We hope that this will lead to a longer term partnership.
From a Daily Sun news report: “Japan has decided to provide grant assistance of US$ 628,390 (approximately Tk 5 crore) to Bangladesh for seven projects under Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects (GGHSP). A contract-signing ceremony was held in this regard on Wednesday in the Japan Embassy where representatives of three projects out of seven namely Trust for Rehabilitation of Paralysed (TRP), Arsenic Mitigation and Research Foundation (AMRF) and Unitarian Service for Development and Peace (USDP) were present, says a press release.”
Millions of drinking water supplies in Bangladesh are contaminated with potentially lethal levels of arsenic. This discovery in the late 1990s sparked widespread international concerns and generated a substantial amount of funds. Yet, after more than a decade, the provision of safe water supplies and accessible arsenicosis treatment schemes remains inadequate. A lack of understanding of the origin and health impacts of arsenic is one of the many obstacles at the community level. There is evidence that arsenic poisoning affects particularly the poor due to their malnutrition and low health status. Moreover, technologies and medicines for treatment are often unaffordable or unavailable to them. Interventions in the water and health sectors must not only address these inequalities, they must also be integrated. It has long been established that treatment is of no use unless people first have access to safe water. The reverse is also true; shifting to safe water is often not sufficient to detoxify the blood and organs affected by years of gradual poisoning. A safe water supply must go hand in hand with long-term medical support for existing patients. This raises serious doubts about the sustainability of many of today’s efforts. Our paper describes the challenges by drawing from our experiences working with some of the poorer arsenic affected villages in rural Bangladesh.
In collaboration with the University of New South Wales and Burdwan University, we recently visited West Bengal (Bangladesh’s neighbouring region in India). It revealed very similar problems with the resolution of the arsenic crisis. The small-scale arsenic removal plant in the photo has been abandoned because no local arrangements were made to take care of maintenance.
This PhD research project was carried out under the Environmental Policy and Management Program, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales in close collaboration with AMRF (2006-2009). The poor in most developing countries are persistently marginalised in their living conditions, including their access to safe drinking water. The research objectives have been (1) to better understand why this state of affairs has endured despite decades of efforts and interventions, and (2) to propose more adequate alternatives. The central case study was concerned with drinking water in rural Bangladesh. For the full abstract and the option to download the dissertation, please click on the image or the link below.