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Impact Accelerator - Cambodia

Cambodia

Project Update

WaterAid/Laura Summerton

WaterAid/Laura Summerton

WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

WaterAid/Mom Vat

WaterAid/Mom Vat

The Context

Sanitation workers are some of the most marginalised and at-risk people in Cambodia. Their work is not regular or in a consistent location - they provide their services when and where other people ask them to. Within their communities, there is judgement over the type of work they do, with many labelling and viewing the work as ‘disgusting’.

They work in confined spaces and within a dirty and smelly environment. They are forced to work in conditions that endanger their health and lives and often don’t have the knowledge regarding the risks of their work, and aren’t equipped to protect themselves from the hazardous substances that can harm their health.

The Problem We Will Solve

Despite providing an essential public service, these workers are often the most marginalised, poor and discriminated against members of society who carry out their jobs with no equipment, protection or legal rights, often violating their dignity and human rights. We want to solve these four challenges:

 

1.     How can we support sanitation workers to get their voices and demands heard?

2. How can we get local authorities to recognise and respect sanitation workers in the city?

3. How can we support sanitation workers to secure a fair and predictable income?

4. How can we support sanitation workers to establish professional and profit-making businesses?

The Proposed Solution

Within this context, WaterAid Cambodia has used the Impact Accelerator to identify two key areas of focus:

The need to upskill sanitation workers to learn new communications skills that give them the confidence to start a dialogue with government authorities about their working conditions and safety needs.

The need to give sanitation workers their own voice. This means enabling them to demonstrate their capacity to tell their own stories and to raise their issues and challenges not only with government authorities but with the public in meaningful and effective ways.

WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

WaterAid Cambodia will work with the sanitation workers of Battambang to tell their stories through photos and film, to raise awareness to the public and government bodies who have the means and power to change these circumstances.

The solution will involve:

1. Socialising and networking with sanitation workers to gather a deeper understanding of their work and prioritise the key challenges they want to showcase and change.

2. Train and support the sanitation workers on how to effectively tell their own stories, including building confidence and storytelling skills and teaching skills in film and photography.

3. A series of photos and films will be collected by the sanitation workers themselves and showcased at a multi-media exhibition to share their stories and raise awareness of the issues they face.

4. WaterAid Cambodia will work to get the relevant authorities to visit the exhibition to enabled them to recognise the essential service these workers provide and to advocate for them to be a part of the solution in creating a more positive perception of the workers.

5. The project will work to enable sanitation workers to exercise their rights and demand better social services support, with their needs recognised by the local authority and community members.

What we aim to achieve

For us, success would look like:

Sanitation workers have learnt new skills on their rights to safety, wellbeing and their water, sanitation and hygiene rights in their work and grow in confidence to share the challenges around sanitation work with city officials.

Sanitation workers will have improved capacity to tell their own story and raise issues around sanitation work with the public.

Local government representatives will visit the exhibition, engage with stories and sanitation workers and recognise the essential services they provide. 

Sanitation workers will exercise their rights to demand for better social services support and recognition by authority and community members.     

WaterAid/Remissa Mak

WaterAid/Remissa Mak

WaterAid/Sokmeng You

WaterAid/Sokmeng You

What We Have Learnt

Check back in soon to find out the projects and solutions that evolve during Cambodia’s Impact Accelerator. To stay up to date, sign up to the newsletter and hear more about how the pilot solutions are progressing and other WaterAid projects.

"Defecating has been the main difficulty facing our family since we do not have a toilet. In rainy season, we just dump it straight into the water below. But in the dry season, we have to find a spot behind bushes or row the boat up to 150 meters from the house in order to defecate privately. We have to be patient and wait until dusk in order to avoid being noticed. In the past, we didn't have to take a long trip to do it because there was still plenty of forest nearby. Now we have to go a bit far in order to find a quieter place, especially in dry season” says Ms Siek Prak.    

Siek, 48, on her way to open defecate near the pond, Koh Keo Village, Svay Chrum Commune, Rolea B'ier District, Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia.

Siek, 48, on her way to open defecate near the pond, Koh Keo Village, Svay Chrum Commune, Rolea B'ier District, Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia.

Hear from a sanitation expert in India

Hear from a sanitation expert in India

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