The Khmer Akphiwat Khmer Organization (KAKO) is a small community-based non-government organisation in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It runs preschools, libraries, scholarship programmes and builds toilets in Siem Reap.
In 2011 KAKO approached us with a proposal to build toilets and improve sanitation conditions in poor, remote villages around Siem Reap. We agreed to help finance this ongoing project.
In Cambodia only 30% of the population in rural areas has access to toilets and sanitary facilities (World Factbook 2015) . In 2014 KAKO conducted a survey of 21 villages surrounding Siem Reap, revealing that 68% of the villagers lacked proper sanitation. For many the only option is to use bushes, rice fields or the land around their houses for sanitary purposes, which becomes increasing problematic during the rainy season.
This unsanitary environment puts villagers at risk of contracting life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea, hepatitis A and typhoid fever. For instance, one in 10 children die under the age of five mainly from preventable and treatable diseases (UNICEF 2012) . When adults get sick they cannot go to work, causing additional financial hardship. When children frequently are too sick to go to school they may not be able to finish their education.
1. World Factbook (2015) Cambodia: People and Society, Sanitation Facility Access. Available https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cb.html (13 March 2016)
2. UNICEF (2012) In Cambodia, a push to bring healthcare to remote areas. Available http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/cambodia_66038.html (13 March 2016)