A Fresh Start with Clean Water

Improving the health of rural communities with clean water

Cambodia
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According to the WHO, more than 2 billion people–that's one in three people– globally, do not have access to safe drinking water. In underserved areas of rural Cambodia, many people have little choice but to drink contaminated water from rivers, ponds and swamps or purchase or if they have the resources, collect firewood to boil and purify it first. The latter is a significant expense for the poorest households in Cambodia, meaning many instead must risk their health. In such cases, decentralised water treatment stations can be a solution.

Location
Cambodia
Type
Safe Water
Standards
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Sustainable Development Goals

3. Good Health and Well-Being

800,000 people

provided with access to affordable, clean water, lowering the risk of disease

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

300,000 school children

have access to safe water

8. Decent work and economic growth

890 jobs

created in rural communities, boosting local economies

13. Climate Action

15,000 tonnes of CO2e

avoided on average annually by removing the need to boil water to purify it

The Solution

This project provided microfinance to small enterprises and entrepreneurs to set up local, environmentally-focused water treatment stations. Currently, more than 260 enterprises are providing clean, affordable water to over 800,000 Cambodians. So as well as increases access to clean water, the project also fosters economic opportunities by creating jobs and enabling people to earn a living by purifying and distributing sourced water to neighbouring communities.

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"I remember many years ago when I was young, in the mountain near by village there were lots of trees, these days though there are few left, it's very hard to find firewood."

Community member, Cambodia Clean Water Project

Children fill up bottles of clean water, ensuring safety and sanitation for their health.

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Teaching children about the importance of clean water and hygiene from an early age.

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Money changes hands as locals become entrepreneurs, boosting the economy.

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Clean water directly relates to reducing deforestation and mitigating GHG emissions.

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A sustainable approach to this project means children will enjoy clean water for generations to come.

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"I produce drinking water together with my wife. Thanks to this work I am able to support my family and earn enough to send my older son to college."

Prin Da, Along Tamey village

The Impact

This project addresses the critical lack of clean water by offering a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and decentralised means to purify water. This greatly improves the health and lifestyle of rural Cambodians, especially children who suffer early on from water-borne diseases, whilst also reducing the need to buy fuel for boiling water. For the planet, the project is cutting emissions by removing the need to boil water and easing pressure on Cambodia’s vibrant forests where firewood was previously sourced.

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"I used to collect water from the pond, and my kids often had stomach aches and diarrhea."

Community member, Cambodia Clean Water Project

Project Progress

2011
2016
2018
2020
2022
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Project Progress

The project launches

With no prospect, in the foreseeable future, of a piped water system being installed, nor sanitation facilities, the project was set up by a team of local and international NGOs to provide small, isolated villages in the Cambodian countryside with access to clean drinking water. The aim is to install 210 low-carbon water-purifying devices throughout the country.

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Project Progress

Clean water for all

The project has taken clever choices to ensure the lowest possible production cost for clean water so villagers can afford it, for example using UV disinfection that can be supplied by solar energy. However, above all, the project's success has been to locally produce the devices as this cuts distribution costs to almost nothing. On top of this, the project is offering microfinance so families can set up small income-generating businesses from selling bottled, clean water. This empowers them to escape extreme poverty as well as being able to afford small maintenance costs for the devices.

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Project Progress

5th successful verification

The project achieves its 5th successful verification by one of the world's leading carbon standards, the Gold Standard. The project impacts are monitored and audited, confirming the project successfully installed 179 water purifying devices, each supplying over 1,600+ people with clean water every month!

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Project Progress

Adapting to life after COVID-19

The pandemic put public health at the top of the agenda and made the need for clean, safe water more pressing than ever before. The project took swift action by ordering large quantities of spare parts so even in lockdown or a supply chain disruption, the kiosks can be fixed when needed, distributed soap for free and is raising awareness about the importance of good hygiene for disease prevention.

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Project Progress

Creating country-wide change

By 2022, the project aims to be supplying clean water to rural, underserved families in 19 of Cambodia's 24 provinces!

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