Modernising urban sanitation in Southern Bangladesh


With funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), SNV Bangladesh and the Khulna City Corporation (KCC) proudly launched the “Demonstration of pro-poor market- based solutions for faecal sludge management in urban centres of Southern Bangladesh” project on 31 March 2014.

The need for this project arises from the recent challenges posed by other sanitation and hygiene milestones, namely the fact that fixed-place defecation has created the need for faecal sludge management in the country. Of Bangladesh’s 30 million urban inhabitants, about 42% have improved sanitation, but this largely pertains to latrines or septic tanks only. 

In Bangladesh most human waste is dumped untreated into waterways or onto marginal land, harming the livelihoods and health of the country’s poorest. Sludge gets dumped into open drains, marginal land and water bodies like rivers that then suffer losses in fishing resources. Currently Khulna has no designated dumping sites or treatment facilities for faecal sludge. 

In Khulna city the challenges facing sanitation are acute owing to a high population density, rapid and unplanned growth and inadequate services such as waste treatment facilities. The city has an estimated population of 1.6 million and 1.2 million in 36 smaller towns (2011 census) of whom 36% live below the upper poverty line. This compared to the national average of 21% who live below the upper poverty limit. 

By developing faecal sludge management services in KCC, and the two small towns of Khustia and Jhenaidah in the Khulna division, this 4-year project aims to reform human waste management in Bangladesh. One million people will gain an improved living environment and access to safe faecal sludge management. The project will also give 250,000 people access to improved sanitation facilities and use market-based solutions to make sludge reusable for generating biogas. 

Through this project, SNV will be engaging with a wide spectrum of partners to bring in specialised technical expertise on specific treatment options and reuse of faecal sludge as a renewable energy source. Ongoing innovation in technical solutions will be an important part of the solution. This will be coupled with an emphasis on behaviour change of different consumers (i.e. households and businesses) and the development of the private sector, including current informal service providers.

The Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Mr. Narayan Chandra Chanda  inaugurated the project at a ceremony at Hotel City Inn, while the programme was chaired by Mohammad Moniruzzaman, Honourable Mayor, Khulna City Corporation (KCC). 




Eligibility criteria

  • The solution must be economically viable either in the form of a social or for-profit business
  • The solution must have a positive impact on the climate, environment and community
  • SMEs must be located in the Ashanti or Western Regions or have operations in the regions (for instance as a source of input or with an operational office). SMEs must have been operating in the Ashanti or Western regions for at least a year
  • The solution must be in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and/or Agriculture sectors
  • The solution must have been developed and ready to go to market (at least a working prototype or demo) or already on the market with existing customers
  • The lead entrepreneur must be between 18-35 years. Women entrepreneurs can be older than 35 but no older than 40 years
  • Priority will be given to businesses led by women-led and/or returning migrants


Financial requirements

  • The GrEEn Challenge Fund will contribute up to €25,000 of the funds needed for the proposed initiative for eight (8) SMEs
  • The SMEs will co-invest on a 20:80 basis with cash and in-kind contributions
  • The SMEs are required to have at least 10% equity as their co-investment. Any in-kind contribution must be specific and directly related to the project
  • The cash contribution can be recently procured direct capital expenditure (equipment, physical assets etc) or project operational expenses


Targeted regions

  • Ashanti and
  • Western regions


Application process

The application process is as follows:

  1. Apply for the GrEEn Innovation Challenge through its online application portal here.
  2. Complete the online application by sharing a link to a 30 seconds (max) video/demo of the business/solutions to before submitting your online application. Video can be uploaded to an accessible cloud drive or on YouTube



Sunday, 25 July 2021 at 23:59 GMT.