Identification and Analysis of Primary Socio-economic Issues: The Cases of Dhaka’s Korail and Sattola Slums

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It is widely reported (and believed) that the educational, living conditions, health, and sanitation levels of Dhaka’s slums are devastatingly low. However, recent studies and comparative analyses of slum conditions have shown that Dhaka slum residents are living better lives than what non-slum dwellers believe or the slum dwellers claim. Coupled with the rationale to validate this gap between literature and current observations, the aim of the research was to identify and then assess the current scenario of the three primary socioeconomic issues faced by the two most famous slums of the capital, Sattola and Korail, namely education, health, and water availability/price. Several visits and structured interviews have yielded that, contrary to popular belief, the educational level of the slum children is moderate (and not low), with around 30% of the households interviewed having children with primary education and 80% of the households in the sample with teenage children being sent to secondary schools supported mostly by the government or NGOs. Additionally, several local/international NGOs have helped establish brick-and-mortar latrines, and volunteer organizations have disseminated necessary sanitation awareness. Furthermore, in both slums, water is available to all, although for a couple of hours every day. Moreover, the slum dwellers are economically strong enough to afford through our finding that 20%-33% of slum dwellers have a family income level of 10,000-15,000 BDT so they can have safe water and sanitation. A comparative analysis with national-level statistics of these indicators has also yielded that the conditions are truly much better than previously nondweller thought. It was found that in both slums, most of the children had primary education, followed by a few who had secondary education. Furthermore, several local and international NGOs have contributed significantly to sanitation improvements. It was found that slum dwellers get medical services from NGOs and the rest from government facilities. Recommendations include government intervention to lower water prices and improve primary educational status, as well as further data collection from these areas to identify important social dynamics for a resultant improvement in the dwellers’ financial/economic conditions.
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Environmental Science and Management
North South University
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