Brighter Dawns RENEW Project

Brighter Dawns RENEW Project

Khulna, BangladeshBridgeview, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our project will Repair broken wells and latrines and provide hygiene Education, creating New resources that will Endure and provide Water (RENEW) to people in a slum area known as Ward 12 of Khalishpur in Khulna, Bangladesh, which will reduce the risk of waterborne disease.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Bangladesh, lack of access to clean water leads to rampant waterborne illnesses, which claim the lives of 300 children under the age of 5 every day. In the slums, this is worsened by limited access to sanitation and sparse health education, leading to many preventable deaths. Many organizations have built wells and latrines to alleviate this situation, but without a system for maintenance, many of these resources have fallen into disrepair.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

To address the water and sanitation crisis, our venture will take a maintenance-first approach, by working with a poor community where waterborne diseases are a major risk to repair or replace these broken utilities, improving access to clean water and basic sanitation while taking advantage of existing sites in the area. We promote community building by turning derelict spaces into a shared resource, and hire and train local people to maintain the wells and latrines and educate as community health workers (CHWs).. This creates a community-driven approach to water and sanitation, where we provide the initial funding for a project in which the community has expressed interest, and help them build the skills and knowledge to maintain it.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A key piece of our project are the hygiene education seminars, to be held on a monthly basis by the CHWs. We teach CHWs the importance of hygiene and proper use of sanitary facilities in preventing disease, and train them to effectively disseminate this information to their neighbors. In seminars for women, the CHWs explain how diseases travel and the importance of hygiene in preventing their spread, especially targeting mothers of young children, who are the most vulnerable to waterborne illnesses. They also hold programs for school-age children, helping them form healthy habits at an early age. Children bring what they learned in school home to their families, benefiting their more vulnerable younger siblings.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

While Bangladesh’s water and sanitation problems are being addressed by a range of different government and NGO initiatives, to our knowledge Brighter Dawns’ RENEW project is the first of its kind in targeting these issues through the repair of non-functional wells and latrines, thus making use of the limited viable space for such facilities in the slums and systematizing maintenance and monitoring after construction. Based on a recent assessment, other NGOs have worked in Ward 12 on water and sanitation, including Water Aid and JADE, but these projects have involved short-term construction.
About You
Brighter Dawns
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name

Brighter Dawns

Organization Country

, IL, Bridgeview, Cook County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, KHU, Khulna

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

In the summer of 2010 on a trip to Bangladesh, I was struck by the stark contrast between the rich and the poor, which motivated me to intern with an NGO in Ward 12. I saw there was more need than I could provide, a need for a trusted community resource. I decided to return to the US to raise awareness of the need and work to be done. I talked to my university peers and mentors, and with their support I created Brighter Dawns, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health conditions in the Ward 12 slum. Together with my core team, I have expanded our organization from a start-up to a successful, small organization with international impact.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Sanitation and Hygiene, Water.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

The direct beneficiaries of the RENEW project are individuals and families in Ward 12. Our primary goal is to reduce the incidence of waterborne illnesses associated with poor hygiene practices and lack of clean water and sanitation, especially in children, who are the most susceptible. Our secondary goals include reducing time spent collecting water, and fostering marketable skill-building in the community health workers, who are selected from among marginalized, unemployed women in the community.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Over the past three years, we successfully built 12 wells and 10 latrines in Ward 12, and held hygiene seminars, which received positive community feedback. Since the completion of our previous project, community members have demonstrated appreciation, willingness to use and maintain facilities and expressed need for further wells, latrines and seminars. Testimonials indicate it has reduced women’s daily water collection time, and increased sanitary practices such as handwashing.
Based on an initial survey, we have determined that there are 40 sanitary latrines and 15 deep tube wells in Ward 12 that need repair, which would serve approximately 5,000 people. Once the repairs are complete, we will conduct further assessments and build new facilities to fulfill any remaining need. Seminars on hygienic practices will continue to reduce the gap in hygiene knowledge and behavior.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

Given the necessary funding, we hope to be able to finish construction within approximately one year. Following this, we will conduct further needs assessments and focus on expanding water and sanitation access within Ward 12 until the entire slum population has these facilities available within a 10-minute walk and with safe user capacities. Depending on success of the model, we hope to expand beyond Ward 12 and apply our maintenance-first approach in other urban slums in Bangladesh.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

Although this project has a high initial investment, the costs will be offset by community user fees, which will support repair and the CHWs’ salaries. The local government is also willing to contribute to maintenance costs for the next 15 years. We will contact the organizations that built the broken facilities to explain our project and ask if they are willing to fund us. Finally, we will continue to seek funding from grants and private donors.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I established a network at my high school to bring alumni together to give back to the school through mentorships, career advice and scholarships. I also started a mentoring group in my local community where I meet with girls ages 7-18 to discuss troubles they face at home or school. I give talks on self-development through religious study by promoting citizenship and leadership. For my work, I received the Asian Women in Business Scholar Award.