Chhaem Chhoeng, 11, lives with his parents, who are farmers, and his older brother Chhaem Poh, who is 14) in a small village in central Cambodia. Chhoeng attends primary school with around 200 other children and he recently joined his school’s WASH awareness raising activities where he was happy to lean about different water safety, personal hygiene and public sanitation topics – like the harm from open defecation and the different ways diseases are passed around. After learning about the importance of sanitary latrines and good hygiene, Chhoeng became his own agent of change and asked his parents if they could build a latrine.
“I understood a latrine’s importance and I felt that my family needed to have one so I decided to tell my parents about the benefits of latrine use, and to ask them to build and use a latrine at our house. They agreed, and now we all have better hygiene, which can help our health be better,” said Chhoeng, who has now gone on to spread the good news of the benefits of latrine use with his friends, saying proudly, “I not only encouraged my family but also my friends to share their knowledge and encourage their families to use a latrine and practice good hygienic behavior for our health benefit”.