Community lead total sanitation (CLTS) in Khasha Leav
Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) and its partners have worked tirelessly to improve the health and well-being of rural Cambodian people through many educational programs and developmental projects. In doing so, Plan International Cambodia has implemented the Cambodian Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Program (CRSHIP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development and CRDT. CRSHIP aims to encourage and motivate village members to improve their hygiene practices by leading workshops in target areas and implementing improved sanitation facilities to improve the livelihoods of those living in poor rural and rural communities. In Khasha Leav, CRDT staff put a project into action by focusing on motivational strategies to educate those living in the area about the dangers of unsanitary water usage and the importance of sanitary practices such a using a toilet rather than open defecation.
The project techniques consisted of approaching the children separately from the adults as a way to engage and appeal to the two groups based on their mannerisms. Focusing primarily on behavioral changes, the group of children were asked to replicate their village and homes with paper and other materials, and to identify which homes had toilets and where in the village open defecation took place. This helped the staff to gain an idea of the severity of the issue at hand. Clean, unopened bottles of water were then taken out and given to the children, but the children were instructed to only drink half of the water in their bottle and no more. The children agreed that this water was good to drink. A few children from the group are asked to volunteer and were then asked to find a sample of feces nearby in the village where people do not use a toilet. Those children are then asked to place the feces into their now opened bottles of water and to drink it. The children refuse as they can clearly see that this “new” water is contaminated and will not be good to drink.
By doing this very simple experiment with the children, CRDT staff are able to explain how and why open defecation near the rivers and streams is the same as placing the feces in the bottle of water. When they defecate in the rivers and later drink the water from the river it is contaminated and unsafe to use. Finally, the CRDT staff asks the families if they want to have toilets built for their homes and provides information about the financing and development. A basic understanding of sanitation and hygiene is crucial for the health and well-being of both adults and children, therefore, it is essential that we take projects such as this to help motivate and incline the village residents to improve their practices.