by Mom Chantara Soleil
Like time, effort to promote safe water and sanitation in high-land Ratanak Kiri province progresses, even more aggressively for 2016; and the optimism of the outlook is based on the latest investment to ensure the access at schools and communities in its suburban Oh Chum district.
The joint commitment among the Provincial Development of Rural Development, Plan International and Unicef, officially launched on January 18, will liberate over 2,000 families or some 10,880 people (about 51% are female), ten schools and around 1,000 students from safe water and sanitation deprivation.
According to Ms. Chhim Chan Sovanna from the Rural Health Care Department, Ministry of Rural Development, a large proportion of diseases in Ratanak Kiri are water-borne which is caused by a lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. About 16% of children living in Ratanak Kiri are susceptible to episodes of diarrhoea which is higher than children living in other provinces of Cambodia.
A study by World Bank suggests that one dollar spent on improving sanitation and hygiene can generate nine dollars of benefits to the national economy. In other words, investing in promoting water, sanitation and hygiene bring massive savings in health care costs and averting sickness and death. It improves school attendance and enables children, especially girls, to stay at school and finish their education.
Cambodia Inter-Censal Population Survey 2014 reports that about 46% of the rural population have access to improved sanitation and 51% of rural people have access to improved water supply.
In Ratanak Kiri around 22% of the population have access to improved latrines and 51% have access to improved water supply.
Approximately 78% of primary schools in rural areas, including those in Ratanak Kiri, have no access to improved water supply and 57% to improved sanitation facilities.
Lasting for 15 months, the project is funded by Plan International USA and Unicef.
“In addition to the construction of latrines and water points, our aim is that at the end of the day, targeted adults and children in our communities and at schools will adopt the use of latrine, wash their hands with soaps at critical times, and drink treated water and ensure safe storage of the water,” said Water Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist Mr. Hang Hybunna.