Connecting You(th) on Water Issues!

Water Youth Leader of the Month



I am founder of a youth led development organization called CHANGE. This organization focuses on water and sanitation issues, renewable energy, and social business development particularly for the slums and off-grid areas. I am also working on Research Framework as a part of Emerging Academic Program (EAP) scholarship from the World Water Council. I am also member of Asia Pacific Water Youth Parliament, and team member to prepare the Young Professional’s Water Action Plan with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

What is your motivation in water sector?

I was brought up in a tea garden where I got the opportunity to interact with different people. In my life, I have not faced critical water problems but I have seen pure drinking water as a dream to many families. My friends at the slums and villages collect water from miles away and suffer from various water borne diseases. I have seen how industrial pollution kills a beautiful river and its ecosystem. These observations made me determined to work in water sectors to implement innovative local solutions for underprivileged communities.

What project/campaign/work related to water sector you are leading (or you have lead)?

I have been leading following initiatives:

  • Implementing “Micro Rain Water Harvesting” project in Baonea Badth slum of Dhaka, Bangladesh from July 2013
  • Conducting the research to find out simple way of disinfecting drinking water for the slum people
  • Developing various social business framework related with water services
  • Invented the technique of efficient use of water for agriculture in the drought prone area of Bangladesh through bottle irrigation system
  • “Committee Member” preparing the Young Professional’s Water Action Plan for the World Water Week of SIWI known as “SIWI 2050: From Vision to Action” from April 2013
  • Presented the research framework to engage most vulnerable youths of water and sanitation with the policy making process through “Water Youth Clubs” at the 6th World Water Forum, Marseille, France in 2012

What are your success, failures and learning?

I have learned that community adaptable simple ideas are the best way to address water related challenges. Water issues should be solved in an economical feasible framework rather than only depending on charity fund. Social business could be a very effective and sustainable economic model to address water crisis.

I believe ‘Failure is the pillar of Success’ because when people fail they look more into the depth on the issue to overcome it. For an example, we had introduced the micro-rainwater harvesting system in the slums after a very informative research and expected to be a great success. But the project hardly had an impact in the community. So we tried to identify our gaps, and we found that providing the rainwater harvesting system for free of cost was our wrong decision. People do not value or undervalue the service if they get it for free.

We have also learned that utility related development especially in the water and energy sector cannot sustain on charity and donations. The service has to be valued considering the demand and the affordability of the community. Social business which is a cause driven business model could be a key model to solve water related problems.

What do you think is greatest water related challenge in your region and how can it be addressed?

South Asian region is one of the most vulnerable areas in terms of Climate Change impact on water availability. Climate change impacts are devastating the region in a multidimensional path: sea level rising, salt water intrusion, frequent flash flood, drought, landslides, etc. have become a regular phenomena which already threatens the water safety.

Beside these, direct discharge of effluents from industries and sewage from homes make the water management very challenging. Industrialization is booming like mushroom in this region discharging chemical wastes and effluents directly to the water bodies.

Also, accelerating and irregular natural calamities are increasing the migration from rural area to the urban areas which is causing serious slum congestions. Slum population has also become a significant problem for the urban management. Water and sanitation issues are alarming affecting mostly women and children.

What message you want to share with other water youth leaders? (Max 100 words)

I believe with our united efforts we can prevent future water crisis. I strongly believe that unity, dedication and most importantly the spirit to make a positive change will lead the future to a peaceful world where no one will have to dream about clean water or die with thirst. We should never forget that water is life and water is limited; hence, each and every drop should be counted. Most importantly, we have to be honest, sincere and dedicated to our work.