by Mom Chantara Soleil
Another five villages in the northeastern Ratanak Kiri province recently declared open defecation free – thanks to the on-going hard work of the Department of Rural Development in partnership with Plan International Cambodia.
This increases the total number of the villages in the far-flung province – said Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist Mr. Hang Hybunna – to ten and contributes significantly to addressing sanitation-bound diseases unnecessarily wasting household income and silently claiming lives, especially among children.
“A village is not open defecation free if one villager still defecates openly, like in the field or bushes. Because the excrement of that person will harm the whole village’s sanitation through vectors as well as animals that eat the waste,” added Mr. Hang Hybunna.
The five villages declaring open defecation free are Phlueu Toch, Ta Veaeng, Kaoh Pong, Sieng Say and Pha Yang of Ta Veaeng district.
The previous five villages liberated themselves from open defecation last year with the facilitation from the department and Unicef.
With an end to open defecation, a village does not only enjoy clean and healthy environment, but it also allow room for privacy and dignity, especially among girls and women.
Sharing border with Vietnam to the east and Lao to the north, dispersedly populated Ratanak Kiri has 243 villages, 49 communes and nine districts.
At least eight indigenous ethnic minority groups live in the province wherein access to sanitation, according to commune database 2014, humbly increase to around 22%.
Looking ahead to 2018, the province is expecting that 60% of its population will achieve basic sanitation.
Development agencies active in improving sanitation in the province include Plan International Cambodia, Unicef, Save Vulnerable Cambodia, and International Cooperation Cambodia.