An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide still lack access to proper sanitation, most of whom live in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Since 2006, Lien AID has partnered with governments, international development agencies, non-governmental organisations as well as the local community to improve access to proper sanitation for poor rural communities in 6 countries across Asia : Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia. From 2010 to 2012 in one of its larger initiatives in Cambodia, we partnered with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) and the United States Alliance for International Development (USAID) through WaterSHED, to facilitate the formation of a rural sanitation industry in 3 provinces, bringing affordable toilet options by local suppliers, to low-income rural communities. The initiative saw an estimated 98, 160 beneficiaries equipped with latrines in their homes.
The improved access to proper sanitation is intrinsically linked to an improved access to clean water, and an increased awareness of proper personal hygiene habits. Without an improved access to clean water, it is difficult to practice proper personal hygiene, also an important indicator in the improvement of access to proper sanitation.
On 19 November, the global community marked the first World Toilet Day, as designated by the United Nations, urging changes in both behavior and policy on issues ranging from enhancing water management to ending open-air defecation.
Lien AID joined in the global dialogue, presenting its experiences on sanitation and hygiene at the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Conference organised by the Restroom Association of Singapore with the support of the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore.
As the global community rallies, we shine a spotlight on the real stories of our beneficiaries who remind us how many still lack access to clean water and proper sanitation, and how improved access changes their world.
To find out more about our work, take a look at What We Do.
I’m a doctor, but I can’t cure the problem
If there is anything that matters to a doctor, it will be ensuring his patients are healthy and well.
While technology has been developing around the world, untreated water and unimproved latrines remain common in Cambodia, even in referral hospitals located in the provinces across the country. The lack of funds and technical know-how make it almost impossible for the hospital administration to make necessary improvements. Patients have barely any facilities that meet required health standards, and conditions get worse when the only water pump breaks down once every four months.
” We don’t have any solutions to these problems. I know that a hospital environment needs to be clean, and I’m a doctor but I can’t cure the problem,” said a helpless Dr Yi Heng of the Gynecology and Maternity department. His ambition to be a doctor was fueled by the thought of helping the villagers in his hometown. He has been working in the Kong Pisey Referral Hospital for more than a decade.”
“It pains me to see my patients deprived of better facilities. If we can renovate and improve the toilet blocks and water system, at least there is hope for the patients to be clean and hygienic in a sterile hospital environment, ” he continued.