Leading by example in Cambodia: sanitary latrines

CWS Cambodia | September 1, 2016

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Hor Thet is on a mission. After he joined a CWS-hosted workshop about the importance of sanitary latrines, he began to encourage his family and neighbors to build and use latrines. Photo: CWS

Hor Thet is the Village Chief of Anlong Vaeng village in central Cambodia. By his estimate, about 90 percent of the families in the community, including his own, defecated in the fields around their homes until recently. Thet participated in a CWS-hosted workshop on Community Health Promotion, where he learned more about sanitation and latrines.

After joining the workshop, Thet said, “I felt sure that we needed sanitary latrines and better behavior to stop some illnesses in our village. So, when we learned how to build a simple latrine, I decided to build one for my family. I shared my knowledge with others and encouraged them to do the same”.

Thet has assumed a leadership role in regards to sanitation in the village, showing community members how they can improve the environmental sanitation through village walks, group discussions and reflection. He asked them to estimate the amount of human wastes people discharge daily and multiply by the number of people in the village. Then the community members realized how their water sources could be contaminated.

Thet has seen great progress in his community, and he expects it to continue. In his words, “I am so proud to see that within three months, 25 more families have built and used their own latrines. When the people see the importance of latrines and their neighbors use latrines, they want to have one of their own. I am hoping that within one year all families in my village will have and use sanitary latrines.”

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