World Water Day: Improved health and sanitation conditions through self-help initiatives in Cambodia
On 22nd March World Water Day – instituted in 1993 by the United Nations – is celebrated. Today, one in six people living in poor areas of the world do not have access to drinking water. In Cambodia, where 90 per cent of the poor live in rural areas, the lack of sanitation and clean water leads to serious health problems and is a major contributing factor to poverty. To improve the living conditions of the population, the worldwide relief agency of the Order of Malta, Malteser International, together with its national partner organisation CHHRA (Cambodian Health and Human Rights Alliance), has managed the project WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) since February 2011.
Working together with the local population in the provinces of Oddar Meanchey and Bantey Meanchey, Malteser International and CHHRA are rehabilitating rainwater ponds and wells, as well as building new rainwater collection tanks for homes and schools in the area. This provides the population with safe drinking water during the dry season.
Key to the project is the active engagement of communities and local councils, which receive assistance and technical advice from Order of Malta staff to build their own latrines in homes and in schools.
In addition, Malteser International is running hygiene and dengue fever prevention campaigns in cooperation with local councils. The main focus is the prevention of disease through simple and cost-efficient measures.
To learn more watch Malteser International’s video “A better future for children in Cambodia”: