Remarks by Mr Reginald Wee, SIF Division Director (Programmes), at the Closing of Water for Life Project in Kampong Speu, Cambodia
H.E. Vei Samnang, Provincial Governor, Kampong Speu Province,
Mr Sim Ratanak, Governor of Samrong Tong District, Kampong Speu Province,
Mr Pheng Sea, Chief of Ktum Kraing Commune,
Mr Vichetr Uon, Founding Director, Sao Sary Foundation,
Distinguished guests and friends,
Thank you for being with us today as we celebrate the successful completion of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Water for Life project here in Kampong Speu. Since 2002, our Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) have been collaborating with our friends from Cambodia on 17 capacity-building projects, in the areas of environment, healthcare, arts and culture, and education. This Water for Life project in Kampong Speu is our second clean water project in Cambodia, after Siem Reap. It is part of our efforts to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number six, which aims to make safe and affordable drinking water accessible to all by 2030.
One of the hallmarks of any SIF project is partnership – and we have enjoyed a longstanding partnership built on trust and cooperation with our partner for this project – the Sao Sary Foundation. They have worked tirelessly with us to effect positive change in the areas of water and sanitation, hygiene, health, environment and livelihood for the 12 communes in Kampong Speu province. Over the last five years, through the combined efforts of Sao Sary Foundation, the local communities, and more than 400 SIVs, we have installed over 1,700 bio-sand filters and given out more than 6,600 hygiene kits.
The results and impact outcomes have surpassed our initial expectations. Over 44,000 Cambodian friends and families now have access to clean drinking water in their homes. That’s about 33% more than the original target. They have also adopted basic hygiene practices on hand washing and tooth brushing, enjoy access to improved healthcare facilities and services with the two upgraded health centres. We have also built a safe place for communities to come together for training and social interactions in this new Singapore-Cambodia Friendship Hall and we are pleased to be here today to officially welcome the community to this new facility. It is our hope that the community will continue the good work even as this project comes to a close.
Our SIVs, besides contributing their time and resources to the project, have on their own initiative, purchased and sourced for items to improve the quality of lives for the communities in Kampong Speu. Items such as, bicycles, sports items, books and food. This is testament to how passionate and dedicated our volunteers are – and how much they cherish the friendships forged with their Cambodian friends.
Our Water for Life project in Kampong Speu may have ended but the impact of our work does not end here – and I am sure the many friendships forged between the all those involved in this project will endure for a long time. I am also fully confident that our Cambodian friends will continue to work towards ongoing and long-term improvements in their communities, being equipped with valuable life skills and access to better water, health and communal facilities.
In closing, I would like to once again thank our host partner, the Sao Sary Foundation, for enabling our work and contributing to the success of this Water for Life project in Kampong Speu. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Kampong Speu Provincial Government for its strong support which has been crucial to the success of the project.
I would like to also recognise the generosity of Ngee Ann Development in funding this project in Kampong Speu since 2012. Ngee Ann was among the first to support SIF’s foray into direct-service work with its sponsorship of our inaugural Water for Life project in Siem Reap which benefited over 17,000 Cambodian friends and families with 2,600 bio-sand filters installed in their homes. Today’s ceremony affirms our belief that together with like-minded partners, we can build a better world. I look forward to our continued partnership. Thank you.
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