The Water (A)nd Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Project is an ongoing effort by TCO to improve access to clean water and knowledge about hygiene in rural Cambodia. This initiative fills a crucial need as many rural communities in developing countries (such as Cambodia) do not fully understand the relationship between water and health. Aid groups have noted that reasons for a lack of demand for sanitation improvements stems from traditional beliefs that diarrhea, and other sanitation-related ailments, are not a symptom of disease or that they are caused by supernatural powers beyond the villagers’ control. However, studies show that the communities are more likely to treat water and improve sanitation if they understand the relationship between water and health and have some knowledge of safe water practices (Kraemer and Mosler, 2010; Brown et al., 2007).
As such, the project’s goals are to engage communities with knowledge of the methods and importance of proper sanitation and hygiene in addition to helping supply them with clean water, latrines, and sanitary supplies. Our expected outcome is for 80% of the targeted families to have access to the Bio-sand Filters (BSFs) and also to have 60% of the target villagers practicing proper hand washing. Eighty percent of the target villagers should have access to pump wells, latrines, and cement ring wells. According to a 2013 WASH Strategy released by Dr. Mao Saray, Head of Rural Water Supply Department, of the Cambodian Ministry of Rural Development, up to 100% of rural households will have access to clean water by year 2025, a goal we are striving to meet.
WASH Awareness Campaigns
In Collaboration with Eco Soap Bank, TCO conducts hand washing training sessions in villages and primary schools in order to spread hygiene and the WASH message. Participants are taught the dangers of waterborne illnesses, the communicability of diseases through dirty hands, and the health hazards of not properly disposing of human waste. Finally, they learn how to correctly wash their hands and when it is necessary to do so. Our partner in this effort, Eco Soap Bank, provides free soap to the participants and schools, which it produces locally.
Bio-sand Water Filters
A Bio-Sand Water Filter (BSF) is a cost-effective portable water filtration system that uses rocks and gravel to purify water from nearly any water source. It is made of concrete, using pressure and gravity to pump water out of the spout. It lasts 15 years and requires simple maintenance. It can provide 80 liters per day that serves between 3 and 5 families, averaging 6 people per family.
PVC Pull Pumps
A PVC pull pump is a hand drill pump that uses a typical drill bit produced by local contractors. It provides a source of water that can be used for the BSF as well as household irrigation. The mechanism operates via a hand lever that is pulled to suck groundwater out of the hole created by the drill bit. It requires simple maintenance and village beneficiaries can easily repair it. It can serve between 3 and 5 families, averaging 6 people per family.
Latrine construction materials are locally produced and the installation techniques are transferred to local contractors and groups of beneficiaries. It is used to change our village beneficiaries’ behavior so that they do not leave human waste in the open. It requires simple maintenance and village beneficiaries can easily repair it. It can serve between 3 and 5 families, averaging 6 people per family.