by Mom Chantara Soleil
One fifth of Cambodia’s child mortality is caused by diarrheal infections mainly driven by poor sanitation and the practice of open defecation.
As a leading sanitation promoter, Plan International Cambodia in cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Development is bringing together around 50 government and NGO officials working directly in the field to reflect the progress of CRSHIP2.
CRSHIP2, or Cambodia Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Programme phase 2, is an intervention to join hands with the government and like-minded development agencies to reach the goal of ensuring 60% of Cambodians with access to improved sanitation across the country by 2018.
“The workshop will allow us to see the progress of our work as well as the challenges, so that we together can address and step ahead on the right track to further ensure improved sanitation in our target provinces,” said Rural Development Secretary of State H.E. Try Meng who chaired the opening of the workshop this morning at Himawari Hotel here in Phnom Penh.
Sanitation contributes positively to child nutrition as well as their physical growth and cognitive development. According to the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2014, in Cambodia more than 32% of children under five years old are stunted, 24% underweight, and 10% wasted.
Executed by Plan International Cambodia and partners through the support from Ministry and Departments of Rural Development, both the first and second phase of CRSHIP’s have been financed by the Global Sanitation Fund and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council since 2011.
According to the Country Director of Plan International Cambodia Mr. Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, during the first phrase of CRSHIP implementation from 2011-2015, over 600,000 people (about 50% of them are children) especially those poverty stricken and live remote communities, have successfully adopted the use of latrines.
CRSHIP1 freed 734 villages in Takeo, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham and Svay Rieng from open defecation and villagers habituated better personal hygiene.
In its second phase, running until December 2018, the programme is on the threshold of phasing in five other provinces, namely Kampot, Prey Veng, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom, and Kratie, which are most deprived of sanitation access.
“In one of my recent field visits, I am so inspired by the smiles of community children and their impression. Several of them told me how happy they are to have latrine at home so that they don’t need to go to the bush to answer the call of nature, especially in the rains. Like some of you here, being a parent I cannot imagine risking my kids’ security with something as simple as answering the call of nature, let alone other implications of the absence of sanitation facilities,” added Mr. Jan Jaap Kleinrensink.
H.E. Try Meng expressed his appreciation with the result of the CRSHIP1 and repeated his support for the implementation of CRSHIP2.
Cambodia has made remarkable progress in promoting rural sanitation lately. As a result, nearly half of rural Cambodians are now having access to improved sanitation, compared to only 11% in 1990.