In the next three years, AOC will be working in five communes in Pea Reang district in the southern Prey Veng province and expects to reach 10,725 individuals with clean water and sanitation, accounting for around 17% of the population. Meanwhile in the northern province of Stung Treng, we are looking to provide a clean water source for up to 2000 families over the next three years with hand pump wells and water tanks.
Preventable disease through unclean water and inadequate sanitation practices remains a major problem in Cambodia and is the main cause of mortality. This is something we feel strongly about and have prioritised providing needy communities in all
three project areas with BioSand or portable Sawyer filters, household latrines, water tanks and community wells, accordingly. Health and hygiene training are key components to the success of this project, as well as high levels of community involvement, particularly in the building and monitoring components. Beneficiaries also are required to pay a small sum towards the total costs or towards a repair fund for community wells. The recipients of the water filters and latrines are chosen by the existing Village Development Committee, or by community project leaders who support the project. Beneficiaries are chosen from the most vulnerable, often those with small children and who live below the poverty line.
In partnership with Samaritan’s Purse and Neverthirst, we have implemented wells, latrines and water filters for thousands of families across our project areas since we began our water and sanitation related projects. Various factors, including community needs, partner expectations and environmental suitability, effect the kind of clean water solutions we implement.
Alongside existing Village Development Committees and community leaders, we provide basic hygiene training. Topics include hand washing, water storage, household environment, and rubbish in the community. Empowering people with health knowledge means they can take better care of their families and help to prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea and food poisoning.
We work to ensure the community are invested in the success of the project and that they can maintain and troubleshoot after we leave. Volunteers are trained in all aspects of the project. All filters and latrines are constructed on-site by village members, under the oversight of experienced project staff for quality control.
We provide all the materials necessary for building the wells, water filters and latrines, however the community is expected to contribute in funds and construction. For the most part, these materials are purchased locally (cement, gravel, sand, etc). AOC also provides the molds for latrines and filters. We also provide beneficiary education about how to use the BSF and latrines, including ongoing maintenance.
Working with the community leaders and the Village Development Committee is paramount. We connect closely with the local church, who often will recommend beneficiaries, and who also can help monitor filter and latrine use. Networking with the local church also helps us to find and mobilize volunteers from both inside and outside the church.
Somour Village is located in Prey Pnov Commune, Pea Riang District, Prey Veng Province, about 20 kilometers from Snay Pol village. In 2012 the WatSan project provided the BSF to Somour villagers, so recently the nine monthly monitoring period came around. A staff member and one of our volunteers visited the house of Mr. Sot Meoun.
Meoun is 29 years old, his wife Preang Chreum is also 29 years old, and they have two small daughters. We interviewed Mrs. Preang Chreum about their use of the BSF, and she told us that her family is glad to use it because it makes life much easier. There is now no need to boil water, buy firewood for the kettle or to wait until the water boils. Continually boiling water was also dangerous around the children as they are very young.
Before owning the BSF, Chreum’s children regularly got diarrhoea from drinking raw water. Since receiving the BSF Chreum has shown her children how to get a glass of water from the filter when they want a drink. She admires how the water not only stays cool and tastes good but also how her family has not suffered from diarrhoea at all since installing the filter. She keeps it in good condition, cleaning it at least once per week.
Besides drinking, she uses it to cook rice and for stewing every day. Her neighbour who hasn’t registered to get the BSF often asks her for a barrel of water for drinking as well. Chreum would like to say many thanks to AOC and the WatSan project for providing BSF and latrines to her village, and for taking the time to monitor and answer questions.