Singapore and Cambodia Collaborate to Bring Clean Water To Over 70,000 Cambodians

Four-year project in Siem Reap builds on success of previous Water for Life projects, augments Cambodian government’s goals and global efforts to provide universal access to safe drinking water.

Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) from Institute of Technical Education striking a pose with the local Cambodian school children after putting up a joint performance on hygiene training at the launch of the Water for Life (Siem Reap) Phase 2 Project. Over the next four years, over 240 volunteers from Singapore are expected to travel to Siem Reap to volunteer for the Water for Life project.

“Water is essential for the survival of our crops, animals, and more importantly, us – humans. Life would be impossible without water. At present, most of our households are using unclean water and this project to bring safe water to us would reduce typhoid and diarrhoea amongst our communities significantly.” – Mr Nhol Kheng, Director, Provincial Department of Rural Development, Siem Reap, Cambodia

On 27 September 2017, the Singapore International Foundation launched another of its signature Water for Life projects in Siem Reap, the third instalment in Cambodia and fifth in Asia. The four-year project aims to provide 9,000 Cambodian villagers in the districts of Chi Kraeng and Svay Leu in Siem Reap with access to clean water and equip them with basic hygiene knowledge to reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases.

Water for Life was first launched in 2010 in Siem Reap, followed by the second installment in 2012 in Kampung Speu –  cumulatively benefitting over 61,000 villagers. The latest project in Siem Reap would bring up the total number of Cambodian villagers benefiting from Water for Life to 70,000 at its close.

Why do Cambodians need initiatives such as Water for Life? Nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s 15.6 million populace does not have access to clean water. The country also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Asia, and most of these premature deaths could be attributed to water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, hepatitis A and typhoid. Studies have shown that bio-sand water filters – the water solution system employed for Water for Life – effectively removes more than 90 percent of harmful bacteria, and 100 percent of parasites.

The installation of the water filters in households is just the first step. There is a need for continuous education amongst the villagers on hygiene training and proper water storage methods and usage to ensure that the filtered water does not again get contaminated. Over the next four years, over 240 volunteers from Singapore will install 900 bio-sand filters and conduct basic hygiene education classes for villagers, school teachers and children.

“Being here helping bring water to these families is an extension of what we learn in school about water and its applications – I am very delighted to be here”, shared Ms Natalie Goh, 17, who helped to install bio-sand water filters in households in Chi Kraeng District, Siem Reap. She was part of the 19-strong youth delegation comprising students from Institute of Technical Education (Singapore) and Kerschensteinerschule School (Stuttgart, Germany) which had travelled to Siem Reap to volunteer.

The Water for Life (Siem Reap) Phase 2 Project augments the Cambodian government’s national strategy for rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) which aims to provide every person in a rural community with sustained access to safe water supply and sanitation services, and a hygienic living environment by 2025. On a global scale, the Water for Life programme contributes towards global efforts such as UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, one of which aims for universal access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

Applications for volunteers are now open. Find out more here!

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