Santey Village is located in the Soutr Nikum District of Siem Reap Province and has a total population of 960 people (Nov 2013) whose main sources of income are farming, fishing and livestock.
The village has had a major problem with waste on the street and in the homes, to the extent that charitable organisations have visited to litter pick. The vice village chief Mr SreyKy said that “I am ashamed…we do not know how to clean?”, and recognised that community people relied on outside help and never thought of existing resources and their own capacity to participate in community development.
TCO established the means for the community to identify a common vision in a meeting led by the two appointed community facilitators, Mr Chhan Ro and Ms Tok Tum. They prioritised two key issues and developed action plans to implement by themselves within three months based on existing resources and without outside intervention. The first concerned hygiene and environment and the second is effective water resource management.
The focus of the hygiene and environment plan was waste management. A committee of five people was elected within the community, who alongside the community facilitators invited all members to join them making trash bins for public use, however were face with limited interest and low participation. As such they proceeded on their own and placed some containers in public and others in their own homes to be used as an example. From this determination and efforts to visit homes and explain to individual families what their specific purposes where they managed to gain support and cooperation from local authorities and see an increase in community interest and participation. Furthermore the committee has promoted the benefits of waste management in a Kakthen ceremony, the school, and the pagoda to ensure a greater understanding within the population. Now the village has eight sanitation and environment related slogans displayed; 57 trash bins; and has established 1st November as ‘cleaning village day’.
This visible progress indicates that Santey community has developed from one of limited understanding which is highly reliant on outside help to a community that cares about hygiene and environment and believes in their own capacity to develop their community and are committed to regular meetings for further monitoring and improvement.