Water is Luxury: Perspectives on Socially Inclusive Water and Sanitation Services and Enterprises

Why is clean water still a luxury for communities in Asia? And how is this issue being addressed today by non-profits, social enterprises, and the private sector? Last month, UBS staff in Singapore gathered to hear diverse perspectives on socially inclusive water and sanitation services and enterprises, in an event organised by Lien AID. Featuring a line-up of esteemed panellists from the social enterprise, impact investing, and international water sector, the panel discussion was held in conjunction with Lien AID’s Windows of Hope exhibition. The 2-day exhibition enabled UBS staff to travel virtually to a rural village and experience the impact of Lien AID’s clean water project in the community through immersive video.

The head of corporate communications at UBS, Ms Julie Yeo, made the opening remarks to a full audience, and welcomed them to the panel discussion. Mr Ian Chen, programme manager at Lien AID and the panel moderator, subsequently touched upon the discussion format which involved presentations by the panellists followed by an interactive question and answer session, covering sub-topics such as socio-economic impacts of inclusive water and sanitation services in developing economies, as well as the challenges and future opportunities within the space.

Ms. Rebecca Paranjothy, co-founder of Freedom Cups.

The first speaker, Ms Rebecca Paranjothy, cofounder of Freedom Cups, shared the positive social impact Freedom Cups has made through its socially inclusive enterprise approach towards menstrual hygiene and sanitation. Freedom cups is a social enterprise operating on a buy-1, give-1 model to distribute reusable silicone menstrual cups to women in rural communities.  Rebecca shared that almost a quarter of girls in rural countries drop out of school the moment their first period hits due to a lack of facilities or supplies. With the use of Freedom Cups, women will be able to get through a full month of school or work and not fall behind their male counter parts in terms of education or income.

Mr. Frodo Van Oostveen, Managing Director at The Water Agency.

Mr Frodo Van Oostveen, cofounder and managing director of The Water Agency, a network orchestrator for the international water sector, spoke next and explained the critical importance of collaborative partnerships in developing innovative approaches towards addressing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenges. Frodo emphasised the importance of finding the right flow of collaboration and highlighted the need for governments to implement regulatory frameworks to ensure standards are met; for private companies to step forward with innovative ideas to address water challenges; and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to share local insights and building strong relationships on the ground.

Mr. Robert Kraybill, Managing Director, Portfolio Management at Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) Asia.

Mr Robert Kraybill, managing director of Portfolio Management of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) Asia, rounded up the panel presentations with insights on the role of impact investing in supporting and accelerating the growth of social enterprises in developing economies. IIX is the home of the world’s first social stock exchange and the world’s largest private placement platform for impact investing. Drawing on his experiences, Robert said that a key challenge for social enterprises is making clean water devices accessible and affordable for rural families that often live on $3 – $6 a day. He shared that a social enterprise in Indonesia was able to resolve clean water challenges with support from IIX by selling water filters to households on credit through the local women entrepreneur network.

During the interactive question and answer session, a wide range of related topics were discussed, such as increasing education on WASH issues, the application of financial engineering to ensure the sustainability of WASH initiatives, and ways in which technology and innovation can enable safe WASH access in developing nations. Insights from the panel forum pointed to the importance of collective effort to overcome complex WASH challenges and dialogue between governments, NGOs, foundations, and the private sector.

More about Lien AID:

Founded in 2006, Lien AID is a Singapore-based international non-profit organisation with the mission to improve the health and well-being of last-mile communities in Asia by enabling sustainable access to clean water and sanitation. Leveraging our ties with local governments, international foundations, and partners, we have successfully mobilised funds, knowledge, and technical skills to deliver water and sanitation interventions across 6 countries in Asia – Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – in more than 3,000 villages, 80 schools, and 50 health centres. In the process, we have impacted the lives of nearly 1,000,000 people.

When Water Becomes Poison

Kouk Thlork Commune, Takeo Province

Kim was one of the friendliest villagers we encountered. When he heard where we were from, he waved us over to share the space on his wooden platform bed.

Kim is a rice farmer. His father and his grandfather were farmers, as were the generations above them.

Unwilling to let his children be bound by the fate of a rice farmer, Kim worked hard all year planting and harvesting rice. He saved his income to send his children to school. Decades of working barefoot in the rice fields have left his feet gnarly and calloused.

Kim’s hard work paid off. His rice farms grew and he hired men to help him during rice harvest season.

The men he hired worked long and hard hours under the scorching sun. They did not carry water with them as it would hinder their work. When they got thirsty, they scooped water from the river with their hands to drink.

One day, one man started having uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting. With no hospital in the vicinity, Kim placed the sick man on his rickety wooden boat, and rowed across the border to Vietnam, where he sent him to the nearest hospital.

“I was worried that he was going to die. What was I going to say to his parents?” – Kim

The doctor told them that the vomiting and diarrhea was caused by drinking contaminated water. The man recovered but he could not work for the next four days. Kim and his wife took care of him, cooked for him, and paid his hospital bills.

A boy swims in the heavily polluted river.

“This water is poison! You cannot even bathe in it.” He said as he gestured to the Mekong River.

The river is heavily polluted because farmers use so much pesticide, he told us. At low tide, the exposed riverbed is littered with garbage.

With no clean water source, Kim resorted to buying water from Vietnam, which cost $0.63USD for a 20-litre bottle.

When Community Water Enterprise was set up, he was overjoyed. The bottled water from CWE costs just $0.25USD, less than half the price of the imported bottled water.

Bottles of treated drinking water at the CWE treatment plant in Toul Putrea village.

Life improved after he gained access to affordable clean water. He used the money he saved for his children’s education. He could even afford to buy more cows.

Kim tells me proudly, “I have four cows now. And I have more rice.”

Kim’s wife now lives with one of their children in Phnom Penh. Kim lives and works alone on his farm, sending most of his income to his children whom are still in school.

Kim Ly, with bags of rice inside his home.

“If I could change one thing about the past, I wished that we knew about the water. Our lives would have been better and our children healthier.” – Kim Ly

This project in Kouk Thlork Commune was supported with co-funding from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

Our youngest supporters ever

Last year, 41,251 babies were born to couples in Singapore. Most of these babies will go on to attend nursery and kindergarten; a well-trodden trajectory expected in Singapore. Sure, they drive us crazy sometimes, but we give them our best.

In far-flung rural villages not yet fully on google maps, parents are much the same as parents in Singapore. They give their children the best of what they have, in hopes they grow up strong, happy and healthy. But that may not be enough for of the approximately 290,000 newborns in rural Cambodia. For every 1000 babies born, 29 do not make it over age 5 in Cambodia.* The comparative figure in Singapore is 2.4 in Singapore. Statistically, Cambodian babies are 12 times more vulnerable.

For sure, there are many ingredients needed to bring up strong healthy children, some of them a mystery. But there are a few things that we do know, and one of them, is that children need clean water and safe environments.

Mr Kai Sarim and his family, Beung Khirk village, Prey Veng province.


Under the 2015 Sustainable Development Goal framework, one of the standards the global community is aiming for is universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all. This means that children will be able to drink clean water at schools at least.

Easy as it is to say water is a basic right, delivering reliable clean water to rural families is a real challenge. Rural communities face a gap in income, access to information and technical expertise, and government support which is stretched thin. At the base of it, they also have their hands tied by the myriad of geographical challenges.

Today, waterborne diseases still contribute to child mortality significantly in rural communities across Asia. It isn’t that we do not have the technical prowess to solve the clean water challenge. However, for the science to come to play, it also takes the human systems and financial support across boundaries to rally support.

Ashaekwin village, Bogale Township, Myanmar. Saw Kyaw (Lien AID Myanmar staff) discusses progress on the village water infrastructure project with community leaders.

This year, Lien AID has been cheered on by the good spirit and efforts of our youngest ever supporters. Meet James, and the Rainbow 3 (Kindergarten 1) kids from St James’ Church Kindergarten’s (SJCK) Gilstead campus.

Left: James Gifford celebrated his 9th birthday, and raised funds to contribute to clean water projects for rural poor communities. Right: Kindergarten 1 children at St James’ Kindergarten learning about Water through their Start Small Dream Big module.

To celebrate his 9th birthday, James and his family sent information about clean water issues to his friends, and asked for his birthday presents to be given in the form of donations to support clean water projects. To the 9 year old, it is horrifying that easy access to clean water and good sanitation is still a luxury to many communities.

Similarly, the 5 year olds at St James’ Church Kindergarten, together with their teacher Eudora, have donated funds they raised from their Start Small Dream Big module to Lien AID. In 6 months, the kindergarteners learnt about water, water treatment, and water conservation, amongst other things.

What do kids say about having no clean water? “Ewwww, I can’t brush my teeth.”

I am not sure how much they will remember of the technicalities, as after all, they are but five (check out their lovely illustrations below). However, I am sure they will remember the value of water and know to cherish this plain and simple luxury we enjoy in Singapore.  Kudos to Teacher Eudora Tan at SJCK!

Copyright @SJCK

Together the all the children raised $1,347 towards the clean water needs of families and children who are being supported by Lien AID’s clean water projects in Cambodia. Thank you for sharing some of what you have to make days better for other children. Happy Children’s Day kids!

Special thanks to James, the Gifford family, St James’ Church Kindergarten, Eudora and all the kids at Rainbow 3. 100% of the funds were channeled to project implementation for the Community Water Enterprise in Cambodia. Please contact ruiyan.yong@lienaid.org if you have any queries.


*Source: UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (Sep 2015)

The Village Poet

Bothingone Village, Myanmar

At 69, deputy village chief and Water Management Committee (WMC) chairman U San Yee is remarkably agile and energetic for someone his age. Dressed in a traditional Burmese longyi, he cheerfully led the way from the wooden jetty to the village, unbothered by the blazing sun and blistering heat. Beneath our feet, the soil was parched and cracked, and I could feel the heat radiating through the soles of my sandals.

Like many other villages in the south of the Ayeyarwaddy region, Bothingone village experiences an annual dry season of sparse rainfall that lasts for about 5 months. During this time, the only rudimentary rainwater harvesting pond in the village often dries up, leaving villagers with just a handful of hand-dug tube wells and pumps to obtain clean water for consumption. Sometimes, they have to travel to neighbouring village of Sarchet to collect water with jerry cans. It is common for villagers to ration water use during the dry summer months.

The existing pond in Bothingone village, which is the villagers’ main source of clean water. During the dry summer months, this pond sometimes dries up.

Jerry cans used to collect water

One of U San Yee’s grandchildren playing near the jerry cans.

As the chairman of the Water Management Committee, U San Yee was determined to tackle the water challenges and improve the villagers’ access to clean water. Under his leadership, the village made a unified decision to increase the catchment capacity of the existing pond to help tide them through the dry summer months.

Besides being a village leader and water champion, it turns out that U San Yee is also an aspiring writer and poet. Having experienced and survived the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, he decided to use poetry as a means to educate fellow villagers about the importance of protecting water resources and to encourage them to respect nature. As we sat down inside his home, he took out a notebook, and proudly showed us the poem he had penned.

U San Yee’s poem in Burmese.

This is the English version of the poem*:

Climate changes due to the unbalanced ecosystem,

followed by various natural disasters.

Do not regret only when you suffer such disasters.

Preparation with careful consideration,

will lead to peaceful deliverance of such disasters.

A united effort would breed resilience and sustainability.

Practise continuously,

to create a beautiful environment.

With optimism for the future,

by handing down these good practices to our children.


Dear fellow citizens,

be prepared and observant of

climate changes due to the unbalanced ecosystem.

With the effects of severe heat

and drought that resembles

A child without a mother, a fish out of water –

troubled and deprived,

Be prepared and observant.

If only to be awaken by a deep regret,

as helplessness leads to further errors and degradation

with lives at stake.

*This is an unofficial translation and provided for reference only.

U San Yee’s support and influence proved to be paramount to the successful implementation of the clean water project in Bothingone village. Earlier this year, rehabilitation works to expand the capacity of the existing village pond began. When completed, this project is expected to enable over 1,000 villagers from 220 households to gain better access to clean water.

Construction to expand the capacity of the existing water catchment pond began earlier this year.

Close to the end of our visit, I asked U San Yee about his hopes and dreams for his grandchildren, as well as his advice for the younger generation. He left us with the following words of wisdom:

“My wishes are very simple. I hope for my grandchildren and great grandchildren to be healthy and educated. I hope they travel out of the village to explore the world outside. For the younger generation, my advice would be to stay healthy, build family unity and practise lifelong learning.”

U San Yee with a few of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Some of U San Yee’s grandchildren and great grandchildren.

This project in Bothingone village, Labutta township, Myanmar is implemented as one of Lien AID’s pilot clean water projects in the Ayeyarwaddy region.

A Lookback at 2016: Highlights and Learning Outcomes

2016 flew by in the blink of an eye as it was one of our most exciting and biggest ones yet as we celebrate 10 years of enabling sustainable access to clean water for Asia’s rural poor. Before we get too excited about our plans for the new year, let us look back at the key highlights and learning outcomes of our year.

The Highlights

  1. We enabled more than 100,000 beneficiaries in Cambodia, China and Myanmar to gain better access to clean water.
Wang Bangxian, a villager in Tiantaishan village, China, gains access to clean piped water through the Village Water Management (VWM programme).

Wang Bangxian, a villager in Tiantaishan village, China, gains access to clean piped water through the Village Water Management (VWM) programme.

  1. We launched the #waterisluxury campaign that garnered positive feedback from our partners, fans and strangers.
Guests taste the “luxury” water at our event launch.

Guests taste the “luxury” water at our event launch.

  1. We handed over our pilot project in Tetma village, Myanmar, organised two Community Water Enterprise (CWE) handover ceremonies in Banteay Meanchey province and Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, and a Village Water Management (VWM) programme commendation event in Beijing, China.
A villager carrying a new bottle of clean water purchased at the CWE handover event in Kdul Village, Cambodia.

A villager carrying a new bottle of clean water purchased at the CWE handover event in Kdul Village, Cambodia.

  1. Let’s not forget the hard work our country teams put in. In Cambodia, we expanded the reach of our CWE programme by the appointment of reseller networks so more villagers in neighbouring villages can gain access to clean water. In China, we conducted market research on remote metering to overcome our data collection challenges. We also obtained government endorsement for our new pilot clean water projects that would be implemented in Myanmar in 2017.
Bothingone Village, Labutta Township is one of the new pilot locations that we are looking at in Myanmar.

Bothingone Village, Labutta Township is one of the new pilot locations that we are looking at in Myanmar.

  1. Of course, that would not have been possible without our amazing stakeholders, staff, partners, volunteers, beneficiaries and all of our supporters.
Lien AID staff conducting a field visit in China

Lien AID staff conducting a field visit in China.

The Lessons Learned

In the past year, we also met with many challenges and identified the areas for improvement. These are some of our key learning outcomes for 2016:

  • We need to do more in addressing lifecycle costs, resources and capacities required to sustain our clean water programmes.
  • We hope to address interconnected issues that affect the delivery of WASH services and desired impact.
  • There is always room for improvement on the reliability and sufficiency of data which affects the learning and improvement of our programmes and projects.
  • We have to place more emphasis on programme outcomes and our desired impact rather than on the delivery process.

Our Plans for 2017

In 2017, we hope to address the challenges we faced in 2016 through new initiatives and enhancements to our current programme structures. Our major initiatives for 2017 include exploring the extension of local partnership frameworks to improve programme delivery and cost-efficiency in China and Cambodia, expanding our reach and impact through a new programme framework and projects in Myanmar, as well as some potential pilot CSR projects in Vietnam and/or Indonesia.

It will be an exciting and busy year ahead for us, so stay tuned to our blog, Facebook and LinkedIn pages for the latest updates on our work. Interested in finding more about our initiatives in 2016 and our plans for 2017 and beyond? Get the full scoop in our Annual Report, which will be released in the second quarter of this year!

Updates from the field: Village Water Management projects in China

Better access to clean water a reality for more than 5,000 villagers in Shandong

Back in June, we shared updates on some ongoing Village Water Management projects in China. Last month, we completed inspection for three project sites in Shandong province and more than 5,000 villagers in Zhujiazhuang, Huangshanzi and Beishiqiao villages gained access to clean piped water.

A villager in Zhujiazhuang village, Shandong province now has access to clean piped water right outside her home

A villager in Zhujiazhuang village, Shandong province now has access to clean piped water right outside her home

Post project monitoring and inspection

We are also continuing our efforts on post project monitoring for VWM projects completed last year. In the beginning of August, we visited the four villages of Qianjin, Jinggang, Sanyuan and Zhongying in Guizhou province, where clean piped water was brought to more than 7,000 villagers under the VWM programme.

Volunteers and staff en route to the villages

Volunteers and staff en route to the villages

With the help of volunteers, we recorded water utilisation rates and examined operational documents and the conditions of water facilities. We also conducted house-to-house visits as well as interviews with members of the local water management committee. The information collected will be used for the post project sustainability assessments (PPSAs), which will aim to improve the effectiveness  and outcomes of our VWM projects.

Learn more about the VWM programme in China here. To stay in touch with our latest updates, join our mailing list.

World Water Day and Lien AID in 2016

Observing World Water Day 2016

22 March marks the annual international observance of World Water Day where we learn more about water related issues, be inspired to share and take action to make a difference.

As we look forward to learning from the United Nations World Water Development Report that is launching on 22 March, we are taking this opportunity to share our recent Community Water Enterprise (CWE) project handover to the communities in Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia, last Wednesday, 16 March 2016.

Handover of CWE project to communities in Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia

This CWE project was implemented in partnership with Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and Asian Development Bank (ADB). MRD and ADB had improved access to clean water with the development of community ponds, wells and rainwater jars previously. Lien AID joined the partnership and worked with Provincial Department of Rural Development, local authorities and commune councils to set up water treatment plants to enhance the quality of drinking water, as well as to train new Water Management Committees and water entrepreneurs, in both Phnom Dei and Bos Sbov Communes.

New water entrepreneur, Mr Bo Saroum, 25 years old, shared, “This business teaches me about the production of treated water and water distribution system. Villagers can now have clean bottled water at affordable prices and I can also look forward to earning more income to support my family.”

Under this CWE project, these water entrepreneurs will be serving and selling clean affordable bottled water to 15,000 villagers.

Ms Tark Sanith purchased clean bottled water at the handover event in Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia, on 16 March 2016.

Ms Tark Sanith purchased clean bottled water at the handover event in Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia, on 16 March 2016.

One of the villagers, Ms Tark Sanith, 41 years old, who attended the handover event said, “This treated water will prevent my children from getting water-related illnesses and I would no longer need to boil water before drinking.”

Lien AID in 2016

2016 marks Lien AID’s 10th year in enabling sustainable access to clean water and sanitation for rural poor in Asia. This year, we are focusing our efforts on:

  • Expanding our programmes for 120,000 new beneficiaries in 47 communities across four countries – Cambodia, China, Myanmar and Vietnam.
  • Enhancing programme and technical support for Monitoring & Evaluation of our projects.
  • Increasing public awareness on the issue of clean water and sanitation in Asia, as well as Lien AID’s mission.

Back in January, we shared some of the groundwork completed for upcoming projects in China, Vietnam and Myanmar. In Northeast Vietnam, we have since completed our Phase II research in four villages in Bac Quang and Vi Xuyen Districts and we are starting our pilot projects in two of these villages this month.

Stay tune as we share significant learnings and milestones from these pilot projects in Northeast Vietnam, as well as our 8th batch of Village Water Management (VWM) programme in China, pilot project in Tetma village, Magwe division, Myanmar and CWE projects in Cambodia in the coming months!

2015 in retrospect

Before the novelty of the New Year wears off, we decided to pause and reflect on the past twelve months.

In 2015, we brought clean water to an estimated 147,000 people in 39 villages across rural Asia thanks to alliances with some amazing partners – the Coutts Foundation, CITIC Envirotech, UNICEF Cambodia, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Sabana REIT, Sir Stamford Raffles Lodge and the participation of committed local communities.

As we navigate a water landscape marked by increasingly complex challenges, we have found a much greater need for deeper collaboration across sectors and stronger grassroots participation in the communities we work in. Although provisioning of infrastructure has been relatively easy, ensuring that service delivery continues and people benefit in the long term, has continued to be difficult. In sustaining positive outcomes, collective effort is vital but in itself has also proven challenging.

Investment in human capital valuable

In both our Community Water Enterprise and Village Water Management programmes, we work closely with, and help to develop the capacities of, local communities, giving them greater ownership and enabling them to manage the facilities and water service delivery on their own. Although technical workshops are conducted to transfer knowledge and skills, through our monitoring and evaluation activities we have found that local capacities remain weak and continued support and guidance is needed after handover. This is because developing capacity cannot be achieved overnight and takes time. It therefore needs to be to be addressed well after projects are handed over.

To that end, we have implemented water quality testing training sessions and periodic meetings with the water management committees for each location, post-project handover. We are also reviewing our training curriculum on a more regular basis, taking into account feedback from participants and stakeholders as well as the outcomes of previous sessions.

The additional investments we have put into building local capacities extend to internal human capital within our organisation as well. On top of our regular yearly retreats, we also organised intensive 3-days workshops this year bringing teams from the various countries together to share knowledge and experiences, and brainstorm ideas. Despite language and cultural differences, the workshops were valuable in providing a space for colleagues to learn from one another and will be something we continue to experiment with in the coming year.

VWM China Batch 5 Training Workshop

VWM China Batch 5 Training Workshop

We were also fortunate to have one of our major partners, CITIC Envirotech, a key player in the water and wastewater treatment business in China, conduct an intensive 1 day technical training session for our staff in China, who in turn also shared their on-the-ground experiences and challenges working in remote, rural areas. Expanding on our partnerships with other stakeholders can hopefully enable more of such inter-organisational learning and lead to greater innovation within and strengthening of, the rural water supply sector in Asia.

Acting on meaningful monitoring data can make a difference

Efforts put in to achieve sustainable outcomes can be undone by a variety of unanticipated factors. It is therefore important that organizations invest resources into monitoring activities, and continue to use meaningful data collected to inform future activities.

Through our monitoring activities, we have collected sufficient data over the past few years that have exposed gaps in our programme delivery and enhanced our understanding of project outcomes. This year we rolled out improved initiatives that addressed these gaps by enhancing previous activities and piloting new approaches.

We found that some villages where Community Water Enterprises had been transferred to the local community sometime ago continue to have a low demand for clean water. Our recent pilot aims to increase the convenience of obtaining clean water for more of our intended beneficiaries through the hire of door-to-door water promoters and the encouragement of entrepreneurs to set up retail distribution points. The results are promising with the reach of the water service delivery increasing by 12 percentage points at the end of the 3-months pilot. We will likely extend the pilot to other projects and will continue to monitor the results.

We also started conducting health and hygiene sessions in each village instead of on a commune level as we found that villagers who were interested in attending these sessions were turned away by the inconvenience of travelling to another village. Initial results have been encouraging but with improvements still insignificant – attendance rates have improved marginally, we will continue to monitor the results.

For both our programmes, a common issue that came up repeatedly was time and resources wasted on manual data entry for surveys. We piloted an e-survey tool designed to reduce the time our teams spend on recording and organizing data. The tool has been field tested and modified a few times, however there continues to be issues with usability.

Water quality monitoring is another challenge. Regular water quality monitoring can be prohibitive both in terms of laboratory testing costs as well as costs involved in sending the samples for testing (due to remoteness of the communities). As such, we developed a simple on-site water test kit, keeping in mind the need for it to be cheap and simple to use. It is a simple kit that tests multiple key water indicators, and while not very accurate is able to flag possible problems with water quality for further lab-testing if required.

Converting awareness into action requires a creative approach

Raising awareness and getting the public in Singapore and the region to partner us in the clean water cause is a challenge, with local rules and regulations hampering our efforts in public fundraising and with many companies in Singapore without a social investment focus in WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). This year, we decided to take a more creative approach, with three campaigns launched to target different audiences by experimenting with various mechanisms and platforms. We experimented with interactive games and recycled sculptures (The Water Machine and SOTA Partnership) for example, and a media-oriented communications project that tells the stories of the people on the Mekong (A River’s Tail). We have received positive responses so far, and generated significant interest through such campaigns.

#Water Machine at the Singapore World Water Day 2016

#The Water Machine at the Singapore World Water Day 2016




UN declares Nov 19 as World Toilet Day

Through a unanimous vote by its 193-member states, the UN has officially declared Nov 19 as World Toilet Day. “Sanitation for All” is the first resolution that Singapore has tabled in its 48 years as part of the UN.

UN-Deputy Secretary Jan Eliasson said annual observance of World Toilet Day will “go a long way towards raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation”.

“By the UN officially designating a day, it creates tremendous awareness of the global water and sanitation crisis. It will rally much needed investments to this area, and hopefully create sustainable and long-term change for communities in need, ” shared Lien AID CEO Koh Lian Hock.

Lien AID continues to work towards improving access to clean water and proper sanitation in poor rural communities in Asia, but more can be done. Support our cause and get involved with what we do!

Clean drinking water brings cheer to schoolchildren across three rural schools in Kandal Province

It is not difficult to spot a tube-well while walking around the rural school compound in Kandal Province, Cambodia. They used to be the main source of drinking water but these tube-wells are now used by students and staff for other purposes such as watering plants and cleaning. Instead, students and staff ration what water they are able lug from home daily, to last through school.

Echoed across three rural schools in Kandal Province (Bu Yong Kbal Chroy, Hun Sen Set Tbo and AreyKhsat), poisonous arsenic-contaminated groundwater that is tapped on has rendered such tube-wells obsolete for drinking water. With a lack of water infrastructure to rely on, schools are unable to provide their staff and students with adequate clean drinking water.

When the school terms begins in September, the story changes for an estimated 1,268 beneficiaries.

Through a partnership between Lien AID, the Ministry of Rural Development Cambodia, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports Cambodia, as well as the school authorities, these three schools are now equipped with rainwater harvesting and treatment systems of sufficient capacity to collect, store and treat rainwater enough for the school community.
Hand in hand, two arsenic awareness campaigns were carried out in March at each school to increase the awareness of arsenic poisoning amongst the school community.

This project is part of a pilot by Lien AID to improve access to clean water to rural schools with arsenic-contaminated water sources in Kandal Province, Cambodia.

To find out more about our current work in Cambodia, take a look at Where We Work – Cambodia.