WaterAid and The VF Foundation Launch Program to Improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Cambodia

3 min read
Factory workers at Sunbow factory, who are going to get their COVID-19 vaccines, wash their hands with Labobo, Kandal Stueng District in Kandal province, Cambodia, June, 2021
Image: WaterAid

WaterAid and The VF Foundation announce the launch of a year-long program to reach more than 85,000 people with access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Cambodia.

In Cambodia, one in four people don't have access to clean drinking water and half don't have access to a toilet, disproportionately affecting women, girls, and people living with disabilities. With the support of The VF Foundation’s $250,000 grant, WaterAid will improve access to clean water in Cambodia’s Kandal Province by working directly with local governments and community members.

 “When women and girls have access to safe water, they are better positioned to improve their futures and overcome overall inequalities,” said Gloria Schoch, Director of Global Impact and Executive Director of The VF Foundation. “WaterAid’s work to empower women to advocate for clean water and to be part of the solution is a vital unlock to creating systemic change and lasting impact in the communities where VF operates.”

In Kandal Province, reliable clean water access is especially difficult for people living along rivers, in floating communities, and in rural areas where flooding is common. In factories, women face a lack of professional development opportunities in addition to recent challenges like COVID-19. This program addresses these issues head-on, prioritising women's participation and leadership in design, decision-making and implementation ensuring that access to clean water, hygiene, and sanitation at work and home are sustainable for everyone for years to come.

Key activities include:

Organising local governments, women and youth groups to lead sanitation awareness campaigns about healthy hygiene practices and COVID-19 prevention

Implementing a women's leadership program, empowering women to advocate for clean water, sanitation and hygiene at home, work and in the community

Working with local water operators to ensure improved water quality, community buy-in, and accountable business practices

“The VF Foundation’s values are very aligned with our own so we are very excited to be partnering with them on this project,” said Rosie Wheen, CEO of WaterAid Australia. “Together with our dedicated team at WaterAid Cambodia we’re ready to get to work building sustainable access for everyone in Kandal’s communities.”

The Kandal Province program builds on VF’s forward-looking Worker and Community Development (WCD) program, which also works with WaterAid. On a mission to improve the lives of one million people by 2025, VF’s WCD program brings clean water and sanitation to rural communities near VF manufacturing hubs in communities across the globe, including in Cambodia.

Last year, in response to the COVID-19 surge in Cambodia, VF Corporation worked with WaterAid to keep its employees, their families, and communities healthy and safe by supporting the government’s COVID-19 response plan. More than 20,000 VF Corporation factory employees and 300,000 people in surrounding communities were vaccinated and more than 100,000 people across five provinces received vital hygiene supplies including masks, hand sanitizer and public handwashing stations.