Singapore Minister For Communciations And Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim Visits SIF Water For Life Project In Siem Reap, Cambodia And Sees First Hand Its Impact In Uplifting Lives And Fostering Friendships
Siem Reap, Cambodia, 29 November 2017 – Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim’s visit to Prasat Bakong district, Siem Reap, comes just two months after the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) launched the second phase of its signature Water for Life project in Siem Reap. First launched in 2010 in Siem Reap, and in Kampong Speu in 2012, the Water for Life programme would have provided over 70,000 Cambodian villagers with access to clean drinking water when the second phase project closes in 2021.
The SIF’s Water for Life programme 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.
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 SIF’s Water for Life programme was first launched in 2010 in the Sout Nikum and Prasat Bakong districts in Siem Reap. At its close in 2014, more than 460 Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) had installed 2,600 bio-sand filters which benefited 17,000 villagers. This led to an 85% drop in the incidence of water-borne diseases. Between 2012 to 2017, over 400 SIVs also volunteered in 12 communes in Kampong Speu to install 1,700 bio-sand filters, providing safe and accessible drinking water to 44,000 villagers.
In September 2017, the SIF launched the second phase of the Water for Life project in Siem Reap. 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.
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. This project is done in partnership with Water for Cambodia and sponsored by Ngee Ann Development Pte Ltd.
The Water for Life programme is another milestone in the 15-year friendship between Singaporeans and Cambodians fostered through SIF’s international cooperation projects. Over the years, the SIF has deployed thousands of Singapore volunteers including specialist educators and medical professionals to work alongside agencies and communities in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kandal and Kampong Speu to help raise standards of healthcare and education in developing communities. We have also learnt from Cambodian professionals, government officials and young social entrepreneurs who have visited Singapore, as part of the SIF’s effort to harness the power of friendships to enrich lives and effect positive change.
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