- Cambodia faces extreme challenges in terms of health and sanitation, 82% of the population are without access to a piped water supply and 8.2 million people practice open defecation.
- Community education is a key driver in order to implement change.
Two Arup staff Hazel King, Galway and Jake Cherniayeff, London were selected to attend EWB Australia’s water professionals study tour to Cambodia in January 2016. The team of 14 water professionals, comprising both native Khmer professional participants and international engineering professionals travelled to Phnom Penh to learn about and experience the challenges that Cambodia faces from a water and sanitation perspective.
The varied learning methods included lectures, visits to NGO activities, factories, treatment works, visits to communities and floating village homestays, cultural visits and both formal lectures and informal group discussions. At the end of the tour we had tracked the water cycle in Cambodia from high in the forests of the Kulen Hills, through the rivers and streams right down to the floodplains of the Mekong and Tonle Sap which serve the nutritional, drinking and sanitation needs for so many of the population of Cambodia.
Working alongside Cambodian engineers offered a real insight into the water and sanitation crisis Cambodia faces. The team were able to see firsthand the poverty and hardship experienced by the floating village communities they visited, whilst also seeing the pride of smaller village communities as they shared what they had achieved.
In addition, the mixed professional backgrounds of the group allowed for wide-ranging discussion and knowledge-sharing.