Global Sanitation Fund: Cambodian Government, Plan International Cambodia target 1 million people with $5 million from WSSCC


Photos from the event

Enabling basic sanitation access among 200,000 Cambodian households (approximately one million people), especially the disadvantaged, is the target of a new Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) progamme executed by Plan International Cambodia in the country through a $5 million commitment from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). Today, the programme was officially launched at an event hosted by the Ministry of Rural Development, which as a lead partner has been heavily involved in the development of the programme of work in the country.

The first of its kind in Cambodia, the Global Sanitation Fund – known in the country as the Cambodia Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Programme (CR-SHIP) –  brought together some 100 public dignitaries, national and international sanitation experts and journalists for the programme launch at the Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The sanitation and hygiene programme 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 over 60 percent of the Cambodian population. 

According to Barry Jackson, WSSCC’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.” Such programmes include “Community-Led Total Sanitation” and school and community WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programmes, he said. 

“The Global Sanitation Fund programme is a fundamental force to bring about the realisation of the very basic children’s as well as human rights. Community capacity transformation and meaningful participation from state and non-state actors at different levels toward positive behaviour change related to sanitation is the strength of programme,” said Plan International Cambodia’s Country Director Supriyanto, adding that the programme will be implemented in five provinces across Cambodia where basic sanitation is most challenging.

Key facts on sanitation and hygiene in Cambodia

  • Cambodian population having access to improved sanitation in 2008 rose to 33.7% from 14.4% in 1998.
  • Lack of access to safe water, combined with poor sanitation and hygiene conditions increases the risk of illnesses causing diarrhoea, one of the leading causes of child deaths in Cambodia. 
  • The disparities of access to improved sanitation are clearly evident between urban and rural areas and different socio-economic groups: Only 23.2% of the population has access to improved sanitation in rural areas compared to 81.5% in urban areas. 
  • Among the poorest 20 percent of the population, only 3.1% has access to improved sanitation facilities compared to 35.3% of the richest 20 %.  
  • School Health Policy is being disseminated to the Provincial Offices of Education nationwide in order to improve water and sanitation in schools. However, about one in five to six primary and secondary schools are not equipped with latrines. 
  • The lack of water and sanitation facilities in schools is a contributing factor in the high dropout rate of students, especially for girls. 

A global fund with national ownership and guidance
The Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) supports the Royal Government of Cambodia’s policies and efforts to improve sustainable access to basic sanitation and practice good hygiene. The GSF focuses on promotion, social marketing and awareness building, particularly for women, girls and the poor in rural and informal settlements. In Cambodia, Plan International Cambodia (Executing Agency) manages the country programme implementation through grants to community groups, NGOs and others. 

Cambodia joins Madagascar,  Malawi, Nepal and Senegal, all of whom launched last year with multi-million dollar commitments from WSSCC and are working to initiate on-the-ground work through sub-grantees to do core GSF work such as sanitation marketing and awareness raising.

The Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed to WSSCC's Global Sanitation Fund.  

Read more about the work in Cambodia here.