by Mom Chantara Soleil
Chemical and microbial contaminants of drinking-water worsened by household time, resources, like firewood or money, and bold belief of indifference between treated and untreated water consumption are key external competitors of Plan to promote rural safe drinking water in Cambodia.
Knowing the competitors means another step to success, thus the child-centred organisation partly through the financial execution of the Global Sanitation Fund has encouraging progress to mark the 20th World Water Day.
Paired with last year of about 41%, Plan has contributed to the national push of rural drinking water access to almost 50% – hat off for the good cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Development and local NGO partners.
For 2013 alone, Plan, villagers and local authorities constructed 187 protected both at school and communities, benefiting almost 15,000 individuals (more than half are women). The organisation also installed water purifier systems at schools, educated villagers including children, and lobbied at national and sub-national level, across a quarter of kingdom.
The mission is far from over. Limited resource and awareness remain a root cause depriving more than half of Cambodian population of clean water access – the fact that places Cambodia behind most of its fellow ASEAN members.
Water safety is indeed the topic for this year’s World Water Day jointly celebrated by the Ministry of Rural Development and ten development counterparts, including Plan International Cambodia, to increase more awareness among community people as well as to call for a collective effort to solve the problem.
In addressing “chemical and microbial contamination, especially for human consumption, we need to emphasize on the developing of sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, safe and acceptable water sources. At the same time we also require to address the environmental issues which would be seriously affecting the quality of water sources both of surface and ground water,” says the ministerial statement for the event.
While cheering the progress so far, Plan International Cambodia’s Country Director Mr. Supriyanto also warns: “Diarrhoea is a prime consequence of unsafe water consumption, particularly among children. It is a major factor for the country’s under-five deaths, which remains relatively high, despite significant decrease to 54 per 1000 live births in 2010”
Despite this, necessary behaviour change, accountability of the government and supportive interventions from development agencies will better speed up the access to the vital basic need in the rural areas as Cambodia is one of the water-rich countries, he added.