people in Cambodia don't have access to safe water.

Over 9 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Cambodia.

Over 380 children under five years old die annually from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.

Despite a growing tourism industry, Cambodia remains one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia. More than half the population lacks adequate sanitation.

The crisis

Cambodia is one of the least urbanised countries in Southeast Asia with over 70% of people living in rural areas, many in extreme poverty. Cambodia has the lowest sanitation coverage and the second lowest water supply coverage in the region. As a result, over 380 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases.

Cambodia has had a tumultuous recent past. Because of the devastation wrought by the Khmer Rouge regime, an entire generation of professionals was lost, creating major shortages of skilled engineers, technicians and health professionals. The first generation of post-conflict graduates is now emerging and there is an excellent opportunity to support these young people to build skills and drive their country's development.

Addressing this crisis is essential to Cambodia escaping its reliance on outside aid and to develop economically. Without access to safe water and toilets close to home, Cambodian children can not grow up to healthy and smart and maximise the new opportunities from increasing economic integration in the region.

Our approach

In Cambodia, we work with the Government to achieve its objective of reaching universal access by 2025.

We identify the poorest and most vulnerable groups in the country, such as persons with a disability, older people, people living in challenging communities or in informal urban settlements, and support these people to find solutions to overcome the barriers that prevent them from accessing safe water and sanitation and practicing hygiene.

We focus on improving access to water supply, sanitation and a hygienic environment within healthcare facilities in order to reduce deaths and illness amongst mothers and newborn children.

We work with local organisations delivering sanitation and water services to improve the effectiveness of their approaches through documentation and learning.

We will develop innovative programs to build up a cadre of professionals in Cambodia with the skills needed to reach universal access to sanitation and safe water in this generation.

Our impact

Our programme in Cambodia was established in 2014.

For the first time a national action plan exists for providing safe water and sanitation for everyone in Cambodia. Over the last two years the Government and civil society have increased focus on reaching persons with a disability and older people through their programs. Greater emphasis is being placed on providing water supply and sanitation and preventing infections within healthcare facilities. WaterAid and partners contribute to making these, and other changes, happen.