The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) has launched in Siem Reap, Cambodia, its first Direct Service Project1 - Water for Life, on Thursday, 29 July.
The key objective is to provide over 9,000 Cambodian villagers with convenient access to clean drinking water through the installation of some 2,000 bio-sand water filters in rural households. These are located in the communes2 of Dan Run and Dam Diek, about 50km away from Siem Reap city centre.
According to UNICEF’s “The State of the World’s Children 2009” report, it is estimated that more than 30 percent of Cambodians have no access to improved drinking water sources. The country also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Asia and the majority of these premature deaths could be attributed to water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, hepatitis A and typhoid.
Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, explains the impetus for the project: “We may take it for granted but not all are blessed with easy access to clean, safe drinking water. The SIF’s Water for Life project aims to help address the critical need to provide Cambodians, especially those living in rural areas, with access to clean water, thereby reducing the incidence of water-borne diseases. Together with our big-hearted sponsors and programme partners, we hope the project will make a small but meaningful difference to the lives of our Cambodian friends.”
Over the next three years, in addition to the installation of water filters, Water for Life will also look into improving the services at a rural health centre and providing basic literacy programmes for the villagers in both communes.
Water for Life is a project initiated and managed by the SIF, with sponsorship from Deutsche Bank and Ngee Ann Development Pte Ltd. The project is implemented in partnership with Middletown Rhode Island Rotary Club, U.S.A and Angkor Hospital for Children.
The SIF’s project partners share their comments:
Ms Annie Yeo, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Deutsche Bank, Asia, says, “Supporting this milestone project underscores Deutsche Bank’s broader commitment to enhance the quality of life of people and communities in Asia. Partnering the SIF to implement this project is a natural choice given that we are both focused on improving the lives of villagers in Cambodia. Ultimately, we hope to indirectly facilitate the development of other social components such as education and income-generation opportunities that may otherwise be impacted by water-borne diseases.”
Mr Teo Chiang Long, Executive Director of Ngee Ann Development Pte Ltd adds, “The Water for Life project by the SIF aims to provide clean consumable water to the disadvantaged households in the rural areas of Cambodia where there is no or little access. Clean drinking water is readily available and easily accessible in Singapore; a basic amenity which we all take for granted. We hope this worthy project will help improve the living conditions for some of the villagers in Cambodia, and Ngee Ann Development Pte Ltd is honoured to be able to participate as one of its sponsors.”
“The rotarians from Middletown are looking forward to the Water for Life partnership with the SIF, Ngee Ann Development Pte Ltd and Deutsche Bank, which will complement our Health, Pure Water and Literacy for Cambodia work. This relationship will permit clean disease-free water and basic education to be extended to thousands of additional villagers in Siem Reap, Cambodia,” says Mr Bob Aldrich, Treasurer and Project Director of HPLC, and member of the Middletown Rhode Island Rotary Club, U.S.A.
Dr William Housworth, Executive Director of Angkor Hospital for Children, concludes, "Angkor Hospital for Children's Capacity Building and Health Education Programme is proud to begin to work in partnership with SIF to strengthen rural communities’ access to healthcare. Linking our clinical activities with public health measures such as this one is a great way for our organisation to have a lasting positive impact on health outcomes here in Cambodia."
* To partner the SIF in overseas community development projects, or your organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 A direct-service project channels resources directly to a community to meet vital needs in a sustainable way.
2Communes are clusters of rural communities.