With the aim to learn from successful water and sanitation projects and further improve program implementation, Habitat for Humanity for Humanity Cambodia Siem Reap program team organized an exposure visit along with two partners Maltesser International and Cambodian Health and Human Rights Alliance (CHHRA). The exposure visit was held in Odor Mean Chey Province on January 14 to 16 this year.
Maltesser International and CHHRA are working to improve the health status and the living conditions of low-income rural families through water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Oddor Meanchey and Bantey Meanchey Provinces.
Six project staff from the HFH Cambodia WatSan program joined the exposure trip together with three Sanitation Action Group members and two School Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Group members. On the first day, the group met with Maltesser International and visited successful school WASH groups at Cheung Tein Primary School and observed their hand washing areas, their nutrition garden, rain water tank, the school toilet maintenance, and the interaction between school and the community people in regards to WASH promotion. The group also met with the Village WASH Sommittee at Cheung Tein Village and visited some of their community ponds and upgraded mix wells.
On the second day the participants were hosted by CHHRA, an organization successful in applying Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Approach. The team visited O-Preal, Char Thmey and Pong Ro Taley Villages. They learned that even the poorest families contribute their resources in the maintenance of sanitation facilities.
After each visit, the group reflected on their observations and learning.
The participants shared key learning from their experience, which included the importance of promoting contributions (financial, labor and other useful resources) from the community for the maintenance of the facilities and straightening school and community committee capacity by holding weekly and monthly meetings. “We learned that we need to make sure there is a continuous effort to engage the community people through simple but meaningful demonstrations to promote lasting changes in their behaviors,” said Seom Thoeurn, S-WASH Team Leader.
The exposure visit participants are stakeholders of the three-year Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion project of HFH Cambodia, which aims to improve the hygiene and sanitation practices, as well as increases the accessibility to safe drinking water and sanitary latrines to 15 villages and eight schools in the Angkor Chum District, Siem Reap.
“It is important for program staff to practically learn and exchange experience with other organizations and partners to continue to strengthen our capacity,” said Oep Oann, HFH Cambodia Siem Reap Program Manager.
The exposure visit also provided the participants the opportunity to meet with the Provincial Department of Rural Development in Uddor Mean Chey to discuss water and
sanitation projects and the current needs in the five districts of Banteay Ampil, Anlong Veng, Trapang Prasat, Samrong and Chong Karl.