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A First for Sanitation Scale-up – Concern Worldwide and WaterSHED join forces in Cambodia

Concern Worldwide and WaterSHED-Cambodia launched a partnership this week in Pursat Province to address the country’s lack of rural sanitation. The joint effort – the first of its kind – combines the strengths of two different approaches and is expected to rapidly increase access to, and appropriate use of, improved latrines.

With rural sanitation coverage across Pursat at less than 19 percent, the provincial government has made sanitation improvement a key objective of its development efforts, in line with the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals. The new collaboration aims to vastly scale up toilet adoption through WaterSHED’s innovative Hands-Off sanitation marketing program, while making lasting changes to sanitation behavior and latrine use though Concern’s successful Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. Working closely with local government, the approaches engage sanitation enterprises and communities to promote a self-sustaining solution.

Concern Worldwide was the first NGO to introduce CLTS to Cambodia in 2002. Now, with support from the US-based organization Charity: Water, Concern Worldwide is implementing CLTS through six local partners in Pursat Province. Using innovative triggering mechanisms, the CLTS approach sparks “gut” reactions by householders to instigate rapid change and reject open defecation around the village. Mr. Bunleng Tan, Concern’s WASH Program Manager, is enthusiastic about this new partnership with WaterSHED. “Combining our CLTS approach with WaterSHED’s sanitation marketing model is definitively the next step towards ensuring sustainable village-wide demand for, and access to, latrines within Cambodia”.

The Hands-Off sanitation marketing model developed by WaterSHED and funded by USAID and the Stone Family Foundation, will increase household toilet ownership by providing the missing link between consumer aspiration and affordability. Exclusively pioneered in Cambodia, the Hands-Off approach brokers linkages between the private sector, local government, and communities, resulting in dramatically increased toilet adoption. “Thanks to strong government leadership and the CLTS/sanitation marketing synergy, access to desirable toilets for all families in Pursat is now a reality”, says Mr. Aun Hengly, Executive Director, WaterSHED-Cambodia.

By partnering to improve sanitation in Pursat, Concern Worldwide and WaterSHED will accelerate the sustained adoption and use of improved latrines, address barriers to consumption, and increase community knowledge of sanitation products and services. “Over 17,000 new, paying customers through the “Hands-Off” approach in 2011 cannot be wrong”, says Mr. Aun Hengly.

The joint program will run until December 2012.

For further inquiries about this work please contact:

Concern Worldwide: Mr Janardhan Rao,[at]
#36, Street 352, Boeung Keng Kang I, Chamkamon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

WaterSHED-Cambodia: Mr AUN Hengly, hengly[at]
#13B, Street 500, Sangkat Psar Duem Thkow, Khan Chamkamoun, Phnom Penh, Cambodia