Recently, CWS Cambodia staff worked with administrators, teachers and parents of students at Rumdoah Srae Primary School in north central Cambodia to improve water access and build hand-washing stations in support of better hygiene at the school. As always, CWS included teaching-learning opportunities for the students and staff while the material improvements were being made. Students joined awareness-raising activities about basic sanitation and hygiene. So, once they had their hand washing stations, they could change their habits and started proper, regular hand-washing after going to the toilet and before eating.
After the improvements were done, Principle In Len told CWS colleagues how it was difficult to get students to practice good hygiene – because it’s just impossible without water! So, he added, “since CWS supported the material improvements and help us organize sanitation and hygiene education, the students now wash their hands properly and regularly. Now students have better hygiene and sanitation in the school compound is much better”. Besides the latrines, since the school had improved water access, CWS partnered with teachers to support students to make a vegetable garden at the school. This, the Principle said, bring the students together in their free time and builds a kind of “solidarity among them. Their parents and teachers are grateful and thank CWS for supporting – and inspiring – them. He continued, “Seeing the results from CWS help, they have raised money to add to the school’s maintenance budget to pay for four more hand-washing stands for the children”.
In another successful water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiative, CWS partner Association for Development and Our Villager’s Rights (ADOVIR) teamed up with Boeng Popul Primary school, which is in western Cambodia. Based on assessed needs, ADOVIR colleagues work with the school director to supporting building a two-room sanitary latrine with two hand-washing stands so 66 school girls and 72 school boys could have better sanitation. The improved latrines benefit their six teachers too.
Once the latrines were finished, and the students had joined the basic sanitation and hygiene lesson, school director Slonh Oeun was happy to tell ADOVIR staff how his students now understand the importance of using a sanitary latrine and washing their hand properly afterwards. Oeun added, “I am especially happy for the girl students because the new latrines give them privacy. Before, when everyone used the open space around the school, it was especially difficult for the girls”. Oeun also noted the environmental sanitation disaster the school used to have. And, of course, he is grateful that such a serious and embarrassing situation is now change. Echoing the director’s comments, village leader Vorn Thouk, said simply, “The parents and I are happy and grateful for the support and for our children’s better school conditions.”
(For more information please contact MSophal@cwsglobal.org )