Tag Archives: Cambodia

Safe toilets help flush out disease in Cambodia’s floating communities

Safe toilets help flush out disease in Cambodia’s floating communities. The Guardian, February 15, 2017.

Open defecation in villages on Tonlé Sap lake contributes to sickness, pollution and drownings. Now, a pathogen-filtering toilet looks set to change lives

An excerpt: Taber Hand, founder and director of Wetlands Work, says the concentration of pathogens like E coli can fluctuate from about 200-400 units per 100ml of water to as much as 4,000 units per 100ml in the dry season. When the levels of pathogens are that concentrated, he says, “it’s septic”.

handypod

The HandyPod system behind Hakley Ke’s floating house in Phat Sanday commune, on the Tonlé Sap lake. Photograph: Lauren Crothers for the Guardian

In 2009, he began designing the HandyPod; a simple, two-container system that filters pathogens out of wastewater. He says the version in use by nine households and a school today, priced at $125 (£100), is the most cost-effective.

The system is gravitational. With each flush – achieved by pouring a ladle of water into the toilet bowl – waste is collected in the first of two containers, where it settles and is broken down using anaerobic processes over a three-day period, and the pathogen reduction begins.

The second barrel is packed with small pieces of polystyrene, which triggers a process that reduces the levels of the remaining bacteria. Each flush also forces the newly treated water back into the river, where it will pass the test for safe levels of pathogens for recreational water just one metre beyond the discharge point.

Read the complete article.

Cambodian street pickers turn waste into survival profits

Cambodian street pickers turn waste into survival profits. Channel News Asia, October 26, 2016.

street-pickers-2-data

Sophana works through the night sorting through garbage in one of Phnom Penh’s busiest bar districts.

PHNOM PENH: On any typical night around the heaving bars full of tourists and female workers, street pickers lurk in the shadows.

They are children, their parents and the elderly. They are grimy, hungry and desperate.

Phon Sophana is one of them. He and his family, including his wife and two young children, live on the street, foraging a living by searching through discarded waste for items of value, normally plastic bottles and cans.

They work through the night, mostly in the darkness, but all around the clock if they have the stamina.

“There are a lot of competitors,” the 31-year-old said. “If I can go early enough, it would be lucky. If the others go before me, they would collect everything first.

“Life is tough here.”

Read the complete article.

Using microfinance to facilitate household investment in sanitation in rural Cambodia

Using microfinance to facilitate household investment in sanitation in rural Cambodia. Health Policy and Planning, November 2016.

Authors: Kimberley H Geissler-1, Jeffrey Goldberg-2 and Sheila Leatherman-3. Author affiliations: 1 – University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Amherst, MA 01003, USA. 2 – Office of Water, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, US Agency for International Development, Washington, DC, USA. 3 – Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Improved sanitation access is extremely low in rural Cambodia. Non-governmental organizations have helped build local supply side latrine markets to promote household latrine purchase and use, but households cite inability to pay as a key barrier to purchase.

To examine the extent to which microfinance can be used to facilitate household investment in sanitation, we applied a two-pronged assessment: (1) to address the gap between interest in and use of microfinance, we conducted a pilot study to assess microfinance demand and feasibility of integration with a sanitation marketing program and (2) using a household survey (n = 935) at latrine sales events in two rural provinces, we assessed attitudes about microfinance and financing for sanitation.

We found substantial stated intent to use a microfinance institution (MFI) loan to purchase a latrine (27%). Five percent of current owners used an MFI loan for latrine purchase.

Credit officers attended 159 events, with 4761 individuals attending. Actual loan applications were low, with 4% of sales events attendees applying for a loan immediately following the event (mean = 1.7 loans per event).

Ongoing coordination was challenging, requiring management commitment from the sanitation marketing program and commitment to social responsibility from the MFI.

Given the importance of improving sanitation coverage and concomitant health impacts, linking functional sanitation markets to already operational finance markets has the potential to give individuals and households more financial flexibility.

Further product research and better integration of private vendors and financing modalities are necessary to create a scalable microfinance option for sanitation markets.

Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop Stunting, Study Says

Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop Stunting, Study Says | Source: The Cambodia Daily, Sept 27 2016 |

Despite steady gains over the past two decades, about a third of Cambodia’s children are still stunted—leaving them smaller, prone to illness and cognitively impaired—according to new research that suggests a more flexible approach is needed to continue progress.

Increased education among parents, better maternal care, improved sanitation and higher incomes were credited as the key drivers in reducing stunting from 51 percent of children in 2000 to 34 percent in 2014, according to a study released last week.

The researchers from the U.K. said that there seemed to be divergent causes for the drop in rural and urban areas.

The study, titled “What Explains Cambodia’s Success in Reducing Child Stunting: 2000-2014?,” also finds that programs focused exclusively on improving child nutrition had not shown sure signs of success.

Read the complete article.

Handy Pod floating toilet innovation by Wetlands Work

Published on May 17, 2016

Wetlands Work! Cambodia’s submission to the Civil Society Innovation Award sponsored by the Australian Aid program, May 2016. The Handy Pod is a floating toilet design suitable to the communities of the Tonle Sap lake area and uses wetlands treatment technology.

 

Survey on sanitation in flood-prone areas – George Washington University

Dear WASH colleagues,

I am a masters student at the George Washington University (in the U.S.). As part of my thesis, I am collaborating on research that aims to better understand the options for sanitation in flood-prone areas. The aims of the study are to identify best practices, barriers, and technical methods for the implementation of sanitation in flood-prone areas. If you have had experience working on sanitation in flood-prone areas, I would greatly appreciate you sharing your experiences.  If you are willing, I invite you to participate in the following brief online survey: Survey on Sanitation in Flood Prone Areas

In addition to the online surveys, I will be conducting in-depth qualitative interviews with individuals who work on sanitation in flood-prone areas in Cambodia.  If you have implemented a sanitation project in a flood-prone area in Cambodia, and you’re interested in being part of the study, please let me know and I will forward you the informed consent form to enroll you in the study. The interview should take less than 30 minutes and can be conducted over skype, Google hangout, or over the phone, at your convenience.

Finally, if you believe that you know of someone who would be suited for this study, please feel free to forward me his or her contact information.  I appreciate your time and assistance, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,
Jason Lopez, MPH Candidate – Global Environmental Health
The George Washington University
+1 (202) 999-8226
Jasonlopez@gwu.edu
Skype: jas.lop l LinkedIn

 

WaterAid/Cambodia – The HandyPod: sanitation for floating communities in Cambodia

The HandyPod: sanitation for floating communities in Cambodia | Source: WaterAid, July 2015 |

Building safe and sustainable sanitation systems is a huge challenge for many poor communities, but when homes are built over water a new dimension is added. James Wicken, WaterAid Country Representative for Cambodia, looks at a new solution to the problem faced by Cambodia’s floating villages.

A challenging environment for sanitation

For Cambodia to reach the Government’s target of universal access to sanitation by 2025, people living in these types of areas need sustainable solutions. In Cambodia, an estimated 25-45% of the population lives in ‘challenging environments’ such as floating villages. It is often the poorest people who can’t afford to own land who live in such places, and these populations are expected to grow, especially in cities as poor people continue to migrate. Cambodia is not alone – these informal settlements are found in many countries, such as Myanmar, Malaysia, Nigeria and Indonesia. floatinghouse

Because of WaterAid’s focus on equity and inclusion, these populations came on to our radar in our first year of work in Cambodia. WaterAid is partnering with a social enterprise calledWetlands Work! to test one potential solution – called the HandyPod – on the Tonlé Sap lake.

When people living in the lake’s floating villages – who number well over 100,000 – need to go to the toilet, they take a boat to a secluded spot on the lake, go into the surrounding forest, or at night may squat off the side of their floating house. This same water around the houses is used to wash dishes and clothes. Young children swim in it.

Introducing: the HandyPod

The HandyPod took Wetlands Work! years to design, test and redesign. Resembling a floating garden, or a child’s paddling pool with a garden in it, it contains a man-made wetland filled with water hyacinths.

In the system, a normal porcelain squat toilet on the back of a floating house connects to a drum where the anaerobic (oxygen-less) processes take place. From here, the waste passes through to the HandyPod floating nearby, where the roots of water hyacinths further break down the waste before it passes into the lake. Wetlands Work! regularly collects water samples in the area around the pods, to ensure the quality conforms to Cambodian standards.

Read the complete article.