Cambodia is home to 15 million people; more than 2.5 million of these live below the poverty line. The country is emerging from decades of conflict and inequalities still persist. An estimated 6.6 million people in the country don’t have access to a proper toilet, while 3.4 million don’t have clean water. Since 2003, Habitat for Humanity has been working to develop sustainable communities, serving more than 90,000 people. We work across the country to develop sustainable communities with decent housing, and water and sanitation facilities.
We began working in the Siem Reap province in 2007 through a 3-year housing and community development project, which paved the way for the expansion of our programme to improve families’ access to clean water and safe sanitation.
As well as providing new sanitation facilities, we take a community-led total sanitation approach by training local leaders to provide education (and hopefully change bad habits) around water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
We have been promoting hygiene through demonstrations and practice to children at schools by encouraging them to change their hygiene and sanitation behaviour for the better. The campaigns also helped students through interactive activities to identify 4 root courses of transmission of bacteria and viruses, understand the steps of proper hand washing, and commit together to achieve behaviour change.
A holistic approach to housing, including safe and reliable access to Water and Sanitation, is critical to addressing the many challenges faced by the families and communities we serve. Now more than ever, access to clean Water and Sanitation reduces instances of illness and also protects households from coronavirus and other infectious diseases.
The result is healthier and stronger communities and brighter futures. We all have a role to play to protect vulnerable people and communities.
“Children living in urban or rural areas are easily affected with illnesses that are caused by bacteria and virus around them. It is very important to educate them about the issues on water, hygiene and sanitation and try to encourage the kids to practice simple and effective ways to prevent transmission of bacteria and viruses. The primary schools are key touch points for Water and Sanitation campaigns. So far, we have been conducting many hand washing and hygiene training to the students and gained good results because of their eagerness to learn, their ability to talk about what they learned with their parents when they go back home. This simple mechanism reaches many families in need of proper Water and Sanitation education,”
–Sok Nith, WatSan Project Officer of HFH Cambodia in Siem Reap.