Water and Sanitation Bring Better Health to a Cambodian Community

Mrs. Ben Soda was unsure how to make ends meet. Her husband’s health had declined, and he could no longer work. 

Besides having to earn a living, she had to care for her husband and for their children, who frequently missed school because they were sick. In fact, most of their money was being used to pay for health care, leaving very little left over to cover other basic expenses.

The illness that Mrs. Soda and her family were experiencing was not unique to their home in a remote Cambodian community. Chronic diarrhea, coughing, and fever were common in her village—and this was true in other communities as well.

Villagers are often unaware that practices such as open defecation can contaminate their water supply and that drinking unclean water can cause illness.

Without adequate access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) the community’s health problems would persist. 

To help the community address their health concerns, World Renew and its local partner Light New Unity (LNU) established a WASH program. Mrs. Soda participated in several training sessions to learn about preventative health care, handwashing, and clean drinking water.

Excited about what she had learned, she started to make changes, putting the family’s water in glass jars to keep it clean. She also taught her family how to boil their water and use a water filter to sterilize the water before they drank it.

World Renew and LNU staff visit the community regularly to check on the progress Mrs. Soda and her neighbors are making.

“My family seems to have better health right now, no more sickness for my children and my husband,” Mrs. Soda said. “My kids can regularly attend their school. My husband is now able to help me.”

About the Author

Taylor Smith, World Renew

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