by Mom Chantara Soleil
Standing out among its peers, one indigenous village, Nay in the northeastern Ratanak Kiri province lately declared open defecation free, officially recognized by joint technical teams of local authority and Plan International Cambodia.
Faster awareness of poor sanitation’s consequences, project ownership, good cooperation and adoption of low-cost facilities acceptable by all are keys behind the success.
Sanitation contributes remarkably 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.
Remote indigenous population especially in the northeast of Cambodia are more vulnerable and constitute significantly to the said health incidence figure.
Situated over 65 kilometers from provincial town Banlung, Nay – home to Ka Chok indigenous group, Nay was among more than 70 other targeted villages funded by Plan International offices in Sweden and United States of America, and UNICEF.
According to official in charge of the project Mr. Yin Samay, the first phase of promoting latrine use and personal hygiene among indigenous population in Ratanak Kiri will run until 2017 in three remote districts, namely Andong Meas, Veun Sai and O Chum.
Given less access to sanitation supplies, different norms and cultures, and its isolation – added the official – it takes as long as eight months to achieve complete open defection free in one village.