Water and sanitation
Cambodia in brief
While Cambodia has made significant improvements across all sectors in recent years, access to safe water and toilets remains one of many major challenges. With more than 70% of Cambodians living in rural areas, many do not have access to a toilet and open-defecation is a common practice. Even for many who do have a toilet, their access is unstable, as many live in vulnerable areas subject to seasonal flood conditions, rendering toilets unfit for use.
A further complication is that infrastructure improvements are often cost-prohibitive due to logistical constraints. Poor roads and spreading of communities, as well as inflated cost of supplies all result in more difficulties to procure essential supplies and equipment. The consequences of this for children are severe, as high occurrences of diarrhea, skin disease, respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, intestinal and other waterborne diseases are overwhelmingly common, often resulting in death.
According to UNICEF, “Cambodia has high incidences of diarrheal diseases accounting for one fifth of all deaths of children age five and under, and an estimated 10,000 overall deaths annually, largely owing to lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices.”
By engaging directly with the Ministry of Rural Development and other partners, our WASH programming also aims to identify solutions for challenging, flood-prone environments. Conducting geographic and household surveys, PIN works to identify the most effective and sustainable approaches to achieving increase of knowledge in sanitation and awareness of hygienic practices. Local partners and suppliers are engaged to address the gap of limited access in remote areas. PIN assists them to identify ways to improve cost-effectiveness by using local equipment and supplies, a valuable economic opportunity for investment in the target communities.
People in Need’s WASH programming aims to tackle these challenges in both rural and urban-poor areas by distributing water jars and working with local suppliers to construct subsidized latrines. Since the beginning of 2016, PIN has distributed more than 150 WASH facilities (water jars or easy-latrines) across target communities in Koh Kong province and will provide an additional 340 units by the end of 2017. Distribution activities are followed-up with community led total sanitation (CLTS) sessions to increase knowledge of sanitation practices in target communities.
PIN’s programming is market-focused and promotes transfer of skills to local partners to achieve sustainable outcomes, contributing to the Sustainable development Goals
related to poverty, gender equality, health and education. Local suppliers are trained in technical construction of WASH equipment and also receive training on marketing techniques to increase community awareness resulting in increased supply and demand. Suppliers also receive follow-up coaching and mentoring to promote expansion of their services within the community.
PIN achieves these aims by actively engaging in strong partnership with the Cambodian Ministry of Health & Ministry of Rural Development to identify ways for continued improvements countrywide.