Mud to Mortar


Savar and Dhamrai Upazila, Bangladesh




2014 - Present

Health Concern

Diarrheal Diseases, Upper Respiratory Infections

Project Hypothesis

Flooring upgrades will reduce diarrheal disease in peri-urban and rural homes near Savar, Bangladesh

Project Strategy

Construction of cost-effective, low-tech, easily cleaned concrete flooring intervention and education campaigns educating beneficiaries and the community on best sanitation and hygiene practices

Project Outcomes

The project reduced diarrheal disease but also proved that the flooring intervention has a number of health and social co-benefits, making the return on investment high. Through multiple iterations, the flooring intervention for Phase III costs $1.21 per square foot.  

Number of Structures Improved

295 households


  • 1248 direct participants
  • 2396 indirect participants through community workshops
  • 4,851,300 individuals were reached through media campaigns

Research Outcomes

Pilot Phase:
  • 23% decrease in the overall incidence of diarrheal disease.
  • On average, women are spending 20 hours less each week maintaining their floors.
Phase I:
  • 72% decrease in diarrheal episodes.
  • 83% decrease in breathing problems.
  • 53% decrease in coughing.
  • 92% decrease in short and rapid breathing.
Phase II:
  • 52% decrease in diarrheal disease.
  • 79% of respondents reported a decrease in intestinal worm infestations.
  • 68% increase in respondents who wash their hands regularly at critical times such as before eating, before feeding their child, and after using the toilet.
Phase III:
  • 33% reduction of self-reported incidence of severe diarrheal episodes.
  • 20% reduction of self-reported incidence of mild symptoms of diarrheal episodes. 
  • 22% reduction of self-reported incidence of respiratory illnesses. 
  • 24% reduction of self-reported incidence of skin infections.
  • 32% reduction of self-reported incidence of worm infections.
  • The families collectively saved ~$4,500 USD in medical treatment and from increased home security.
  • 60% increase in knowledge retention about handwashing and disease prevention. 
  • 69% of respondents not only retained what they learned but also practiced washing their hands at critical moments.
  • 76 families collectively saved 1,567 hours per week from cleaning dirt floors.
  • 76 families collectively saved 1,676 hours per month from maintaining dirt floors. 

Project Partners

  • Local Implementing Partner - Association of Development for Economic and Social Help (ADESH) 
  • Phase I Design Partner - Grimshaw Architects 
  • Phase I & II Research Partner - BRAC University
  • Phase III Technical Design Advisor - Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI)


  • International Foundation
  • Thornton Tomasetti Foundation
  • UBS Optimus Foundation (UBSOF)
  • ARCHIVE Global Board of Directors
  • Individual donors through CaringCrowd by Johnson & Johnson
  • CaringCrowd by Johnson & Johnson
  • HighFives Campaign
  • Individual Supporters
For more information please contact ARCHIVE here

Mud to Mortar: Improving Health in Bangladesh form the Ground Up

A PSA Video from a media campaign in Bangladesh aimed at increasing community awareness of the link between floor quality and family health and the work ARCHIVE Global and ADESH are doing to improve the health and quality of life of the community. Created by Vicky Zahed, V Creations, 2018.

Transitioning from Mud to Mortar with ARCHIVE Global // Savar, Bangladesh

ARCHIVE teamed up with TracingThought, an independent photojournalist and filmmaker, to document Phase III of Mud to Mortar, 2020.

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