Phnom Penh, March 23, 2011 AKP – When the world community was celebrating the World Water Day, the Ministry of Rural Development and Plan International Cambodia on Mar. 22 launched the Cambodia Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Program funded by the Global Sanitation Fund at Cambodiana Hotel, Phnom Penh, under the chairmanship of H.E. Try Meng, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Rural Development.
The 5-year sanitation and hygiene improvement programme of US$5 million will expand the collaboration between Plan International Cambodia and the Ministry of Rural Development in a manner that will significantly contribute to addressing deprived basic sanitation among 200,000 rural Cambodian households.
“The living standard of our people has been remarkably improving with the decline of poverty rate from 35 percent in 2004 to 27.2 percent in 2010; however, the number of households who invests in their latrine remains low,” addressed H.E. Try Meng to approximately 100 participants in the launch, adding that to overcome this, there is a need to bring about positive behavior change among the rural Cambodian households. The change of people’s behavior to stop open defecation demands their personal commitment that will walk hand-in-hand with the collective effort by the Ministry of Rural Development, local authorities and partner organizations. In so doing, we will be able to achieve the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and the National Policy for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation by 2025.
“The lack and/or poor sanitation facilities and personal hygiene practices are major causes of diarrhoea death. Diarrhoea contributes to about 17 percent death for the Children U5 Mortality Rate. As a child centred organization, we are therefore concerned that children die before reaching their fifth birthday and even the first birthday. I am sure this is also a concern of many organizations and institutions as well as individuals in Cambodia. The Global Sanitation Fund programme is a fundamental force to bring about the realisation of the very basic children, especially the right to survival,” said Plan International Cambodia’s Country Director Supriyanto, continuing that the programme will be implemented in five provinces across Cambodia where basic sanitation is most challenging.
According to Barry Jackson, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council’s Programme Manager for the Global Sanitation Fund, Cambodia is a prime place for the GSF to add value. Recent work by the government and national and international non-governmental organizations, for example, have helped encourage some Cambodians to move from open defecation to consistent use of latrines. The GSF will build upon these successes by providing additional funding that supports efforts to raise awareness of sanitation and hygiene practices and to change individual behaviours. –AKP
By MOM Chan Dara Soleil